Oklahoma football: Trevor Knight, Dane Evans poised for sophomore success


Saturday’s ball game between the Oklahoma Sooners and Tulsa Golden Hurricane is not expected to be close. The Vegas oddsmakers have listed the fourth-ranked Sooners as a 25-point favorite over the Golden Hurricane.

However, these two programs have a history with offensive success. And if OU’s secondary isn’t up for the challenge, a track meet could break out on Skelly Field.

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It’s no secret, Oklahoma has been a scoring machine for years. It helps when you have NFL caliber quarterbacks like Sam Bradford and Landry Jones come through the program.

Tulsa is no pushover, though. The Golden Hurricane saw great production with former Hurricane quarterback Paul Smith in the mid-2000’s. Also, his successors David Johnson and G.J. Kinne weren’t half-bad either.

Now it’s Trevor Knight and Dane Evans’ turn. These two sophomores, who both left their home states of Texas to pursue football careers in Oklahoma, are shrugging off their freshman labels and looking to lead their teams in 2014.

Now let’s remember, neither quarterback has yet to play a full season. However, the two have seemingly taken control of their football teams.

Trevor Knight balled out in the 2014 Allstate Sugar Bowl against Alabama and seized the torch passed on by one of Oklahoma’s all-time leading passers, Landry Jones.

Dane Evans’ did not make the impact he may have hoped for in 2013, but his season-opening performance against Tulane last Thursday showed how work in the off-season can pay off from the start.

Knight and Evans now face each other, and a win would be meaningful for both.

Dane Evans, for one, could earn a monumental victory for the Tulsa football program. Knocking off the fourth-ranked Sooners on his home turf? That’d be something Tulsa Hurricane fans would talk about for years.

It may seem odd to think, but Oklahoma needs the win just as much. First, there is the obvious: if Oklahoma slips up and loses, then their chances at a College Football Playoff spot are no more.

However, this is the Sooners’ lone out-of-conference road game. And the Sooners need to make a good first impression on national television.

Last week’s pay-per-view was only seen by a handful of eyes. This week, OU will be on ABC for most of the country, while much of the northeast portion of the United States will have to watch the Oklahoma Sooners and Tulsa Golden Hurricane on ESPN2.

The 11 a.m. kickoff isn’t ideal. But Oklahoma could have a nice September rain shower to set the scene in Tulsa, Oklahoma on September 6.

The main point is this is Oklahoma’s first true game in front of a large audience. It’s Trevor Knight’s first nationally televised game since he slew the mighty Alabama Crimson Tide in January.

Anything but a blowout victory will be seen as a disappointment and cause reason for concern.

Quarterbacks are always a fun and sticky storyline. They are typically the face of the team, and with Trevor Knight, he’s definitely one of Oklahoma’s most well-known players.

Dane Evans obviously gets the luxury of playing on national television as well, and a win would be huge for Dane, Tulsa, and the American Athletic Conference.

Can Tulsa execute the upset? Well, let’s just say, weirder things have happened in college football.

However, Tulsa has to stop Trevor Knight.

Dane Evans may have looked more fine-tuned than he did a season ago, but the same could definitely be said for Knight.

Against the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs, Knight showed poise, made accurate throws, and he knew when to use his feet as well as when to slide.

The quarterback he was against Louisiana-Monroe in the 2013 opener is long gone. This Trevor Knight looks prepared to take the Sooners all the way to January.

Saturday’s game will tell a lot about these two teams. It may be closer than the oddsmakers anticipate, or it could be one-sided and over by halftime.

Overall, it’s a game for each quarterback to make a statement in front of a national audience. Expect some rain and points to pour in Saturday morning.

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