No one knew what to expect when Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops gave redshirt freshman quarterback Trevor Knight the starting nod against Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. The Sooners were more than two touchdown underdogs and Knight had lost his starting job after being injured early in the season.
What happened in the next three hours was hardly a surprise to anyone on the Oklahoma coaching staff, as Knight shredded the Crimson Tide, throwing for 348 yards and four touchdowns in a 45-31 victory.
Related: 2014 Preseason All-America Team | Top 25 | Oklahoma team preview
“Absolutely, if you get a big win like that, you get confidence,” Knight said. “But also, more snaps under center helped. As a [redshirt] freshman, getting into a new collegiate environment is difficult."
Knight is featured on one of five regional Sports Illustrated covers this week previewing the upcoming season, which will decide the national championship with a four-team playoff.
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Big things are expected from Oklahoma, which is ranked No. 3 in SI.com’s Top 25. The Sooners haven’t won the Big 12 since 2007 but return seven starters on offense and eight (leading tackler Frank Shannon's status is still up in the air) from the league’s top-ranked defense last season.
For more on the College Football Preview, including profiles on Louisville coach Bobby Petrino and Marshall quarterback Rakeem Cato, check out this week's issue of Sports Illustrated (subscribe here).
2014 Sports Illustrated Covers