Winners and losers from Oklahoma's win over ULM
SEP 02, 2013 8:51p ET
The Sooners dominated on defense, and no one saw that coming.
Here are some other winners and losers from Saturday's season-opening 34-0 win over ULM.
Winner: Mike Stoops.
The Sooners' defensive coordinator met the media with a giant smile after Saturday's game, wondering why there weren't more cameras and microphones in his face.
"If we had given up 70 points, this place would have been packed," Stoops said. He's right about that. He answered a lot of questions about his defense after the Sooners were undone against Oklahoma State, West Virginia and Texas A&M a season ago. He spent a lot of August practice looking for answers, himself. Saturday, he got a shutout and came out looking pretty good.
Loser: Trevor Knight's arm.
Yes, he's just a freshman and yes, coach Bob Stoops attributed Knight's passing issues on nerves, and yes, that's a believable argument, but man, he looked shaky, especially early.
Knight finished just 11-of-28 passing, including 4-of-11 in the first quarter where he couldn't find the touch on a number of short screen passes. Knight did throw three touchdown passes, but finished with just 86 yards through the air and didn't display the kind of accuracy Sooner fans are used to. Coaches say Knight will be better. Hard to believe he could struggle any more than he did Saturday.
Winner: Trevor Knight's legs
Knight was sensational running the ball, providing an element at quarterback the Sooners haven't seen in years – like more than six. Knight ran for a game-high 103 yards on just 13 carries. It's clear, Knight has the potential to be a great thrower, but it was obvious the reason he won the job was because of his ability to run.
Loser: Blake Bell
It sure seemed like the job was Bell's, but something happened in mid-August that allowed Knight to pass Bell, yet still, it looked like Bell could have easily played before the fourth quarter on Saturday. He's been a staple of the offense the past two seasons, playing extensively in short-yardage situations, but when OU was faced with a third-and-one in a tie game at the beginning of the second quarter, Bell never even reached for his helmet. The job is Knight's, now we'll see how Bell responds, or if he'll continue to be used.
Winner: The OU defensive line
A total question mark coming in, having lost five players from last year's team and down a starter against ULM. Well, the defensive line was really good, led by Charles Tapper. ULM had just 38 yards rushing and no player had more than nine yards.
Winner: Eric Striker
Striker played in all 13 games a season ago, but in the first game of this season, he looked a lot more effective. He was credited with two hurries and a tackle, but he looks really comfortable coming off the end as a rush linebacker.
Winner: Roy Finch.
Finch is really popular among OU fans, but can't seem to get himself on the field. Saturday against ULM, the running back showed why he's so fun to watch. He had just four carries, but he went for 42 yards, had a cross-country, 21-yarder, and a also caught a pair of passes. Remember, a season ago, Finch had just seven total carries.
Loser: West Virginia
The Sooners take on West Virginia Saturday in Norman, but this isn't the same WVU team from a year ago – the team that torched OU for more than 700 yards of offense. West Virginia needed a late score last Saturday for a win over William & Mary and doesn't have the same firepower on offense as it did in 2012.
You have to figure the Sooners are still stinging from last year's defensive implosion and will be encouraged by last week's 34-0 showing.
Follow Andrew Gilman on Twitter: @andrewgilmanOK
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