The Trevor Knight era in Norman started off slow, but the freshman got the most important stat of the night: the win. The Oklahoma Sooners (1-0), ranked 16th in the nation, defeated Louisiana-Monroe of the Sun Belt Conference 34-0 on Saturday night in Norman, Okla.
Knight and the offense didn’t get anything rolling after their first four drives, going a mere 39 yards in 15 plays, including three straight three-and-outs before the Sooners finally got on the board.
Knight, who beat out junior Blake Bell for the starting job, had one nice play in that span, a 24-yard scamper on third down, before the Sooners had to punt for the first time. Knight finished with a team-high 103 rushing yards on 13 carries. Seniors Damien Williams, Brennan Clay and Roy Finch finished with 66, 43 and 42 rush yards, respectively, as the Sooners totaled 305 on the night.
It was on the Sooners fifth drive of the night where the team finally started clicking. Knight found senior Jalen Saunders for the 12-yard score to put OU up 7-0 with 11:15 left in the second quarter. Saunders finished with a team-high three catches for 30 yards and scored his second touchdown from Knight with 3:07 left in the third to put OU up 27-0. Knight didn’t pass well all night, but finished with three touchdowns and an interception. His third score went to Trey Metoyer from 13 yards out just before the third quarter ended. It was the final score of the game.
After allowing 192 ypg on the ground in 2012, the Sooners held the Warhawks (0-1) to just 38, and 166 total yards, compared to their 429. ULM couldn’t get anything going against the Sooners’ front four, as their longest rush was six yards. Senior Jyruss Edwards rushed for a team-high nine yards, which shows the Warhawks struggled to run the football all night long.
ULM’s longest drive came early in the fourth, going eight plays for 41 yards before turning the ball over on downs. The Warhawks ended the night punting 10 times, and had three turnovers (one interception, two on downs).
The Warhawks were only able to cross midfield twice and had a total of nine first downs.
Senior Kolton Browning, the Sun Belt preseason offensive player of the year, finished 20-for-39 for 128 yards and the interception, and rushed the ball four times for three yards. Browning had 481 total yards and four scores in last year’s opener against Arkansas.
Knight became the first Sooners quarterback to rush for more than 100 yards in a game since Jason White had 117 in 2001.
Bell played the fourth quarter and threw for 38 yards and ran for another 10.
The win was head coach Bob Stoops’ 150th for his career, putting him seven back of Barry Switzer’s school record. Oklahoma moved to 5-0 in August under Stoops, and 14-1 in home openers in his 15 years in Norman. It was also the Sooners first shut out in an opener since 2002 when they defeated Tulsa 37-0.
Next up for the Sooners is West Virginia University at home on Sept. 7 to start Big 12 play before finishing their non-conference schedule against Tulsa and Notre Dame.