Sooners runningback Damien Williams done in Norman, OU still in Big 12 hunt despite rocky season
4:48 PM, Nov 25, 2013
4:49 PM, Nov 25, 2013
NORMAN, Okla. (AP) -- No. 20 Oklahoma didn't necessarily need additional motivation heading into its annual Bedlam showdown with No. 7 Oklahoma State.
But the Cowboys' big win over Baylor has set up an intriguing scenario for the Sooners.
Should Texas Tech win at Texas on Thanksgiving and Texas beat Baylor on Dec. 7, those results, combined with an Oklahoma win over the Cowboys on Dec. 7, would forge a four-way tie between Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas and Baylor for the Big 12 Conference title. The same could happen if Texas beats Texas Tech, then loses to Baylor, provided Baylor loses at TCU this Saturday and the Sooners beat Oklahoma State.
So despite lopsided losses to Texas and Baylor earlier this season, the Sooners' hopes of at least a share of what would be a ninth Big 12 title aren't dead yet - something that surprised offensive tackle Daryl Williams when he learned about the possibility Monday.
"That's pretty cool," Williams said. "I hope everything plays out right. We've just got to do our job and beat OSU."
Coach Bob Stoops, asked about the possibility of Oklahoma (9-2, 6-2 Big 12) earning a share of the conference title, didn't address the subject much - likely because he knows the Sooners still need some more help for that to happen.
"You know, you're fighting every week the same," Stoops said. "Win or lose, you're constantly trying to win the next one, and that's what we're trying to do this week. Does it make you want it more? You want it as much as you can win it. We want to win. There are still games to be played, so we'll see what happens."
Stoops seemed more content to talk about how the Sooners can build off a 41-31 win at Kansas State, one in which Stoops won his 158th game at Oklahoma to break the school mark formerly held by Barry Switzer.
For the fourth time this season, Oklahoma rolled up more than 300 yards rushing, finishing with 301 against the Wildcats. Senior tailback Brennan Clay led the way with 31 carries for a career-high 200 yards and two touchdowns.
Freshman quarterback Trevor Knight, filling in for Blake Bell (who sat out after suffering a concussion the previous week against Iowa State), played his best game of his career. Knight completed 14-of-20 passes for 171 yards and a touchdown, rushing 14 times for 82 yards and showing the dual-threat capability that Oklahoma coaches had touted when choosing him to be the Sooners' starter out of preseason camp.
"It's just one game," Stoops said. "Hopefully we can build on it. I think what's been obvious through the whole year has been the inconsistency offensively. We've put a few here together now."
Knight's erratic passing during the season's first two games - wins over Louisiana-Monroe and West Virginia - combined with an untimely injury against West Virginia, led the Sooners to switch to Bell, who started the next eight games. But Knight clearly appeared sharper throwing the ball and running the offense against Kansas State than he did early in the season.
"It's like anything," Stoops said. "The more you do it and the more comfortable you become at it and more confident at it. ... He's a great athlete. I think it's obvious as soon as you see him pull the ball down and run is how fast he is."
Will Knight start against Oklahoma State (10-1, 7-1) or will Bell start instead for the Sooners? Stoops wouldn't say Monday.
"We'll find out once he (Bell) is healthy," Stoops said. "I won't find out until after Thanksgiving."
Oklahoma definitely will be without senior tailback Damien Williams, who has been dismissed from the team. Williams, from San Diego, had been suspended for Saturday's win at Kansas State and earlier served another one-game suspension against Tulsa. He started one game this season and was the Sooners' second-leading rusher, with 114 carries for 553 yards and seven touchdowns. He also had caught nine passes for 90 yards.
Last season, Williams rushed for 946 yards and 11 touchdowns and caught 34 passes for 320 yards and another score while starting nine games for Oklahoma. Williams' dismissal could mean more playing time for another senior, Roy Finch. Clay starts at tailback for the Sooners.
Stoops said wide receiver Lacolton Bester, who also was suspended for the Kansas State game, will be available to play against Oklahoma State.