Oklahoma Beats West Virginia Behind Solid Running Attack


Sep 7, 2013; Norman, OK, USA; Oklahoma Sooners running back Brennan Clay (24) leaps over the pile while running with the ball in the second quarter against the West Virginia Mountaineers at Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

After a spectacular defensive performance in week one covered up for a rough offensive game, the Oklahoma Sooners hoped to turn things around against the West Virginia Mountaineers in week two. While the defense was not as great as last week, the only gave up one big play to the West Virginia offense to hold them to one touchdown.

Unfortunately, Trevor Knight still hasn’t proven he deserves to be the Oklahoma Sooners quarterback. Luckily, the offense didn’t need him because the Oklahoma Sooners rushed for over 300 yards in back-to-back games for the first time since 1997.

Brennan Clay was the star of the game, rushing 22 times for 170 yards (7.7 ypc). He was followed by Damien Williams, who ran the ball 21 times for 95 yards (4.5 ypc). As a team, the Sooners offense ran the ball 56 times and threw it 21 times. Trevor Knight finished the game 10-20, which is a better average than last week, but only gained 119 yards through the air, with one touchdowns and two picks.

Blake Bell replaced him in the offense in the fourth quarter, but only attempted one pass – an incompletion. While some wonder if Bell will replace Knight next week for the Tulsa game, Bell wasn’t trusted enough this week to really earn that starting gig.

Things this week started out pretty similar to how they did last week, with Trevor Knight struggling to get the ball to receivers and trying to keep the ball alive with his feet. However, the West Virginia defense was much stronger than Louisiana-Monroe last week and shut down the OU running game.

The same can’t be said for the OU defense, who gave up their biggest play of the year when Dreamius Smith broke up the middle, untouched, and ran 75 yards to give the Mountaineers the first points of the game. It was a scary moment that brought up a lot of memories of the troubles that OU had in 2012.

Luckily for the Sooners, their defense took a bend but don’t break attitude after that and just got stronger and stronger as the game wore on.

However, Trevor Knight still struggled. He did go three-for-three on the Sooners’ next drive but OU was forced to kick a field goal for their first points of the game. The teams then exchanged punts before OU decided to just run the ball.

On their first drive of the second quarter, Damien Williams ran the ball four times in a row and then Knight threw a screen to Trey Millard for a touchdown to put OU up 10-7. It was Millard’s first touchdown of the season and Knight’s fourth touchdown pass.

The rest of the second quarter saw both teams fail to move the ball and just turn it over on downs or on turnovers until OU put up another field goal before the first half came to a close, making the score 13-7, Oklahoma.

The third quarter than became very annoying for OU fans.

Both teams exchanged punts to start out the second half before OU started moving the ball very well. Then on OU’s second drive, Damien Williams ran the ball twice for 17 yards and Brennan Clay carried it twice for 61 yards to get OU to the 12-yard-line. With the Sooners running the ball so well, Trevor Knight threw an interception on the fifth play to Darwin Cook to turn the ball over.

Paul Millard gave the ball back to the Sooners on the next drive when Gabe Lynn picked off the Mountaineers quarterback.

The next drive was a carbon copy, with Oklahoma running the ball extremely well, with Brennan Clay passing the 100-yard mark with a 32 yard run. Despite the big run, Trevor Knight dropped back to pass again and threw his second interception, and fourth turnover, of the game to Karl Joseph.

On that drive, OU lost one of their key players when Aaron Colvin was hit hard and had to leave the game. Word is that it might have been a concussion, but the Sooners caught a break when Quintin Hayes hit Kevin White to force the fumble and Gabe Lynn recovered it to give OU the ball back. The next OU drive was all runs, ending in a punt, as it looked like Trevor Knight might have lost his coach’s confidence.

After the teams traded punts and the third quarter came to an end, Bob Stoops sent in Blake Bell, which even saw Trevor Knight cheering for when it happened. The first play after that was the Belldozer run that fans have grown accustomed to. Bell was incomplete on his only pass attempt as the Sooners put up their third field goal of the game to go ahead 16-7.

Things went bad on the next West Virginia drive for the Mountaineers. Oklahoma shut down the drive, and the Mountaineers had to go for it on fourth down with seven minutes left, down nine points. However, Millard tried to call a time out with the play clock running down, despite West Virginia having none remaining. That was followed by an incomplete pass, giving OU the ball back on the 49.

Bell never tried to throw the ball again, and after Michael Hunnicutt’s first missed field goal of the season, the Sooners finished the game with an ugly 16-7 win.

Despite the lackluster offensive play by OU, they still gained 440 total offensive yards, with 321 coming on the ground. They play the Tulsa Golden Hurricane next week before heading to Notre Dame, so it is time to figure out how their offense is going to look. Right now, it looks like the Sooners in 2013 will have to win on the ground.