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OU football: Trevor Knight might be Oklahoma's best equalizer against Alabama

Blake Bell could see plenty of playing time, but Knight's particular skill set appears better suited for the Crimson Tide's defensive shortcomings.
by Jason Kersey Published: January 1, 2014

Oklahoma knows all about Manziel, who torched the Sooner defense in a 41-13 Cotton Bowl rout last January. The Sooners spent the offseason installing a new offense centered largely around a mobile quarterback, allowing Knight to win the starting job out of fall camp.

Coincidentally, Knight showcased his ability during Cotton Bowl preparations while playing Manziel on the scout-team offense and frequently embarrassing the Sooners' first-team defense.

On OU's third offensive play of this season, Knight scrambled for a 24 yard gain, and finished the 34-0 rout of Louisiana-Monroe with 103 rushing yards on 13 carries.

Knight was injured, though, the next week and lost his job to Bell, who ran a more familiar version of the Oklahoma offense during his eight games as starter. 

Bell left the Sooners' Nov. 16 win over Iowa State with a concussion, and when Knight returned to the field, Oklahoma went back to its option offense, with Knight picking up 123 yards on the ground, including a 56-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. 

Knight started the next week's win at Kansas State and rushed for 82 yards and a touchdown, and senior running back Brennan Clay recorded a career-high 200 yards.

“I think we got away from it a little bit during midseason,” Clay said of the option attack. “But once we got it back going, it's been a weapon for us.”

The Sooners enter the Sugar Bowl averaging 235.8 per game on the ground, making this — currently, at least — the best rushing season of the 15-year Bob Stoops era.

Alabama cornerback Deion Belue said he's excited to face another zone-read attack.

“We're looking forward to that,” Belue said. “In a way, it is great to play that kind of offense again, because we have seen it once already. So, we're just going to go out there and adjust to it as the game goes on.”