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September 2, 2013

First-game jitters aside, Knight feeling relaxed and poised to improve

NORMAN — When Trevor Knight committed to Oklahoma back in 2011, even he didn’t envision what transpired Saturday night in the Sooners’ 34-0 victory over Louisiana-Monroe.

Sure, he anticipated having the job. But winning, and winning handily, in a game where OU’s starting quarterback only throws for 86 yards wasn’t part of it.

“Oh no, not at all,” he said.

In terms of throwing the ball like predecessors Landry Jones, Sam Bradford or Jason White, Knight left something to be desired. But his ability to run — something OU’s coaching staff and Knight teammates have raved about for a year — resonated as planned, rushing for 103 yards.

The only part that didn’t go as planned was some wild throws, especially early in the game.

OU offensive coordinator Josh Heupel called several short throws early in the game that were designed to help settle in. Knight threw some high, some low, but a few on the mark.

But he wasn’t rattled after throwing for just seven yards in the first quarter.

“The great thing about that was he continued to play,” Heupel said.

The Sooners weren’t expecting the season-opener to be a showcase event for Knight’s wide assortment of talent. Their first-game jitters eased away long ago. Knight had to deal with his Saturday.

“It’s his first ever college football game, so it’s expected. I felt like he did a great job, better than I expected,” said wide receiver Jalen Saunders, who caught two of Knight’s three touchdown passes. “But, overall, he did a great job tonight and he’s going to move forward from this.”

If Knight’s passing accuracy improves there was a lot of positives to bring out of the season opener. OU was able to let Knight settle down by simply running the ball. The offseason work the offensive line and running backs did in the hopes of transforming into a physical running team was displayed early and often.

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