QB Knight, No. 4 Oklahoma set for showdown at WVU
The sophomore quarterback will lead the fourth-ranked Sooners (3-0) into a hostile environment at West Virginia (2-1) on Saturday night in the Big 12 opener for both teams.
For the Sooners it will be the first of three consecutive games outside the state of Oklahoma. They don't play at home again until Oct. 18 against Kansas State.
This will be Oklahoma's second-ever trip to Morgantown.
''Their fans will be rocking,'' Knight said. ''But it's important to use some of their crowd's energy to get you going, to get that momentum going and really just use it. Going on the road is difficult, especially with a team like West Virginia who has been playing great. So we just have to find that energy within ourselves and play for one another and stay even-keeled through it.''
Knight is a big reason Oklahoma has won seven straight dating to last season that includes a Sugar Bowl win over Alabama. He's not the same quarterback the Mountaineers saw a year ago when he threw for 119 yards, had a pair of third-quarter interceptions and was pulled after two more scoreless drives in a 16-7 win.
''You can tell that he's making a ton of strides to get better,'' said West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen.
So have the Mountaineers, who have surpassed 600 yards of offense, mostly through the air, in two straight victories - their first winning streak since 2012.
Oklahoma cornerback Zack Sanchez, who has interceptions in every game this season, figures the Sooners will be going at a frenetic pace on defense.
''They do a lot of quick stuff, a lot of quick smoke screens and things of that sort,'' he said. ''The d-linemen have to get their hands up and deflect passes as much as they can. When they do complete them, we've got to rally to them. We've got to be quick to the ball.''
Here are some other things to ponder about the Sooners and Mountaineers:
OKLAHOMA RUNNERS: The Sooners will lean on sophomore Alex Ross and freshman Samaje Perine after leading rusher Keith Ford broke a non-weight bearing bone in his right leg against Tennessee. Ford, who leads the Big 12 with six touchdowns and has a team-high 194 rushing yards, will miss at least one game.
TRY TO KEEP UP: West Virginia is averaging 91 plays and 564 yards on offense per game. Northern Illinois and Western Kentucky are the only Bowl Subdivision teams to run more plays. When the Mountaineers faced Oklahoma in Morgantown in 2012, the teams combined for 1,400 yards of offense.
TRICKETT'S TEST: West Virginia quarterback Clint Trickett will be tested by an Oklahoma defense allowing 11 points per game and 209 passing yards per game. Trickett is completing 75 percent of his throws and is averaging 408 yards per game. Last week he torched Maryland for 511 and four TDs. Trickett, who didn't play against the Sooners last year, ''has really made a big difference in how they're playing,'' said Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops.
WHO CATCHES MORE?: The game features three of the top receivers in the Big 12. West Virginia's Kevin White is second in the nation with 32 receptions for 460 yards and teammate Mario Alford has 21 grabs for 206 yards. Oklahoma's Sterling Shepard has 17 catches for 335 yards and will go against a West Virginia secondary without cornerback Daryl Worley, who was suspended indefinitely after being charged with battery of a woman at a nightclub. The Mountaineers return Ishmael Banks, who served a three-game suspension imposed by the NCAA for an unspecified academic eligibility issue.
NEW UNIS: Oklahoma is debuting a version of its ''Rough Rider'' Nike uniforms. Players will wear crimson wood grain helmets, cream-colored jerseys and crimson pants. The jersey fronts have ''Oklahoma'' instead of the traditional ''Sooners.'' The helmet has ''Boomer'' above the facemask.