Buzzing on Yahoo Sports:

Oklahoma gets past West Virginia

The SportsXchange

NORMAN, Okla. -- A week ago, Oklahoma quarterback Trevor Knight started slowly but finished with a flourish.

On Saturday night against West Virginia, Knight didn't just start slowly, he played the whole game the same way and Oklahoma needed a boost from the Belldozer to get past the Mountaineers.

Knight threw two second-half interceptions in the red zone and was replaced at the beginning of the fourth quarter by second-team quarterback Blake Bell as the No. 16-ranked Sooners survived for a 16-7 win at Memorial Stadium.

Knight was just 11-of-28 passing a week ago for 86 yards but rushed for more than 100 and Oklahoma's defense bailed out the Sooners' offense in a 34-0 win. Against West Virginia, the Sooners were bailed out by a struggling Mountaineers offense and enough timely running.

"It ought to be easier than it's been," Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said. "And even some of our some of our execution needs to be better. I believe we'll make that improvement. We'll be able to throw the football, it hasn't come to that yet."

Knight started just 3-of-9 passing in the first quarter and had as many interceptions in the second half (two) as completions. That forced Oklahoma to go back to Bell at quarterback.

"We did some positive things early," Sooners offensive coordinator Josh Heupel said. "Some things happened in the third quarter that you just can't do."

Knight threw an interception in the end zone and, after the Sooners got the ball back, threw another interception in the red zone.

Bell, a junior who lost the starting job in mid-August to Knight, had 24 touchdowns the past two seasons playing in primarily short-yardage and goal-line situations.

In Bell's first series against West Virginia, he led Oklahoma to a field goal and a 16-7 lead with 10:47 to play. He also led the Sooners to what looked to be another field goal, but Michael Hunnicutt's attempt hit the crossbar.

And now the Sooners have some questions about who is going to be the quarterback. Stoops wouldn't say who might start next week against Tulsa.

"I'm not going to say," Stoops said, insisting he was going to talk things through with his coaches before coming up with a decision.

Stoops said the competition was close throughout August and yet Bell didn't play at all last week in the opener when it counted. He entered the game in the fourth quarter with the game out of reach.

Oklahoma and West Virginia traded turnovers -- eight through three quarters -- and neither team's quarterback was having a good game. WVU's Paul Millard was 15-of-33 passing through three quarters and finished 21 of 41 for 218 yards.

"They came out and played the defense we saw on film," Millard said. "We just didn't make the plays. The throws I missed, the things we missed out there. This loss is hard because I feel like we left a lot of stuff out there."

The game wasn't quite like the one in Morgantown, W.Va., a year ago when the Sooners out-passed and outlasted West Virginia 50-49. The Sooners struggled to pass and the coaches clearly weren't interested in letting Knight loose in the passing game, despite a West Virginia defense that lined up 10 players in the box regularly in the second half.

Oklahoma turned instead to running back Brennan Clay, who ran for a career-high 170 yards, and got a lift from Bell.

"At that point, we needed something to give us a little bit of spark," Heupel said.

Meanwhile, West Virginia had almost no success offensively aside from a first-quarter, 75-yard touchdown run from Dreamius Smith.

"I felt it slipped away," West Virginia defensive back Darwin Cook said.

And while the Oklahoma offense has been scattered throughout the first two games, the defense has played better -- giving up seven points in two weeks.

"We have a lot of football to play," Sooners fullback Trey Millard said. "We're disappointed. But there were a lot of positives and a win is better than a loss."

NOTES: Oklahoma's 16 points were the fewest in a home victory since a 14-10 win over Kansas in 1967 and the lowest overall since 12-0 victory over Texas in 2004. ... After combining for 99 points last season in a 50-49 Oklahoma win, the Sooners and Mountaineers combined for 23 points. The 76-point differential is the second highest in back-to-back seasons against the same opponent since going for a combined 90 points against Nebraska in 2008 followed by a 13-point combined output in 2009. ... Clay's 22 rushes for 170 yards are the most by a Sooner since DeMarco Murray went for 208 yards in the season opener against Utah State in 2010 ... Oklahoma defensive tackle Chuka Ndulue played after missing last week because of a suspension for violating team rules. ... West Virginia running back Charles Sims, a transfer from Houston, had just two carries for 26 yards. ... Smith had the 75-yard touchdown run but only two other carries for 2 yards.
Sign up for Yahoo Fantasy Football
View Comments (10)