NORMAN, Okla. (AP) – The shine from Trevor Knight’s Sugar Bowl performance has worn off.
More than nine months ago, he threw four touchdown passes to help upend Alabama. Now Knight, who has completed just 55 percent of his passes this season, is feeling the heat.
Sooners fans are frustrated with his inconsistency in the past two games. Against Texas, Knight completed 12 of 20 passes for 129 yards as the Sooners held on for a 31-26 victory last Saturday. And a week earlier, he completed just 14 of 35 passes and threw two interceptions in the 37-33 loss to TCU.
The redshirt sophomore has a chance to quiet the critics Saturday when No. 11 Oklahoma hosts No. 14 Kansas State.
“As long as things aren’t going perfectly, there’s going to be criticism, there’s going to be doubts,” Knight said Monday. “You just have to stay internal with that. You have to stay confident with who you are as a player, who you are as a team, who you are as an offense and continue to press forward.
“Dwelling on things like that isn’t going to get you anywhere.”
Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said Monday that he wouldn’t call out Knight specifically, because there’s plenty of blame to go around.
“I’m not gonna sit here and detail Trevor,” Stoops said. “There are some parts of our passing game that need to be better. Sometimes, the receivers are putting him in the bind. At different times, the protection has put him in bind. The other day, there was a time or two where the read and where he’s going with the football isn’t correct. A little bit of everything at different times has allowed us to be inconsistent.”
Opportunities are there for Knight because opponents are so focused on stopping running back Samaje Perine. The 5-foot-11, 243-pound freshman has rushed for 577 yards and nine touchdowns this season.
Yet, the Sooners haven’t taken advantage, one reason Stoops and receivers coach Jay Norvell said there could be some new faces in the mix at wide receiver. Aside from Sterling Shepard, who averages 119 yards per game receiving, the Sooners have gotten little production from that position. Durron Neal is the team’s No. 2 receiver with 23 catches for 306 yards, and K.J. Young has added 13 catches for 144 yards. The only other wideout with a catch, Jordan Smallwood, has two for 10 yards.
One of Knight’s most trusted receiving targets, running back Keith Ford, is still out with a fractured right fibula that is taking longer to heal than originally expected. Blake Bell, a converted quarterback who now plays tight end, has just eight catches this season.
Knight said the Sooners need to get things going.
“Any time you put points on the board and get the offense rolling, regardless of who you are playing, it gives you confidence,” he said. “We’re expecting that this week. We need to have a great week of practice going into it, and hopefully, play to the best of our abilities to give us confidence going down the stretch.”
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