If you don’t know the name of Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Trevor Knight by now, it’s about time you got acquainted.
That’s because come next December, the San Antonio, Texas, native could be in New York City sitting front row for the 2014 Heisman Trophy presentation. And if Knight plays his cards right, the name enshrined on college football’s most prestigious award could very well be his.
No, that’s not a joke.
Knight made his introduction to the college football world on Jan. 2, leading Oklahoma to an improbable upset of the Alabama Crimson Tide, 45-31, in the 2014 Sugar Bowl. In the process, he threw for 348 yards, four touchdowns and one interception on 32-of-44 passing, including going 14-of-17 for 169 yards on first down.
In comparison, the redshirt freshman had thrown for just 471 yards, five touchdowns and four interceptions on 52.2 percent passing in seven previous appearances.
But if his sudden prowess in the passing game wasn’t impressive enough, consider the opponent. Since head coach Nick Saban arrived in Tuscaloosa in 2007, only a few quarterbacks have had any kind of success against Alabama.
In fact, Knight’s performance put him in some pretty good company.
|Great QB Performances Against Alabama Since 2007|
|1. Brian Johnson (Utah)||27-41||336||3-0||85.5||W 31-17 ('09)|
|2. Trevor Knight (Oklahoma)||32-44||348||4-1||84.2||W 45-31 ('14)|
|3. Zach Mettenberger (LSU)||24-35||298||1-0||83.0||L 21-17 ('12)|
|4. Johnny Manziel (Texas A&M)||24-31||253||2-0||82.4||W 29-24 ('12)|
|5. Johnny Manziel (Texas A&M)||28-39||464||5-2||74.0||L 49-42 ('13)|
*QB must have thrown at least 25 passes to qualify
The 32 completions are the most a Saban-coached Tide defense has conceded. Furthermore, Knight became just the second quarterback to throw four touchdowns against the unit and the third to top 70 percent passing.
But does one stellar showing erase the bouts of inconsistency and ineptitude Knight has displayed under center at times during the 2013 season?
If you recall, this is the same quarterback who completed less than 60 percent of his passes in three of his four starts prior to the Sugar Bowl. Not to mention, Knight’s previous career high in passing yards was just 171 yards.
Doesn’t really scream out Heisman Trophy, does it?
Then again, one can argue that an exceptional performance in a BCS bowl game—against the two-time defending BCS national champions no less—certainly trumps two or three lousy starts.
Or the fact that Knight’s last full game of the regular season for the Sooners was actually quite impressive.
Back on Nov. 23, he led the team to a much-needed road victory over Kansas State, 41-31. Knight shined during the game, throwing for 171 yards, a touchdown and an interception on 14-of-20 passing, while adding another 82 yards and a score on 14 carries.
But what stood out the most from that performance was how he relied on his legs in critical situations.
While he may have struggled through the air at times, Knight never had any difficulty getting it done on the ground. On the season, he accounted for 445 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 67 carries—the most by an Oklahoma quarterback since Jamelle Holieway rushed for 860 in 1987.
Knight has a good chance to surpass Holieway’s mark next season. In just five starts, he topped the century mark twice, while rushing for 82 and 47 yards respectively in two other games.
For the first time in his 15-year coaching career, Sooners head coach Bob Stoops has himself a quarterback that threatens to be just as formidable with his arm as he is with his legs.
But don’t count Stoops as one of the many surprised by Knight’s breakout performance.
“[Knight] took care of the football, made great throws and was competitive,” he said following the victory over Alabama, via Yahoo! Sports’ Nick Bromberg. “He showed everybody what we’ve been seeing for a couple of years. He has a chance to be really special.”
And if Knight can keep this up, “really special” will become an understatement.
A household name is more like it.
All stats and rankings used in this article are courtesy of CFBstats.com.