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Monday, January 6, 2014
Knight, forced turnovers spark Sooners

By Brandon Chatmon

Oklahoma shocked the nation with its 45-31 win over Alabama in the Allstate Sugar Bowl. Here are five stats that defined the Sooners' best win of the season.

Trevor Knight's 94.7 adjusted QBR: Knight’s adjusted QBR was the second best by a quarterback against the Crimson Tide this season, only behind LSU’s Zach Mettenberger. Knight finished 32 of 44 for 348 yards, four touchdowns and one interception in the best performance of his young career. Knight’s 11.07 expected points added on clutch plays was four points better than any quarterback Alabama played this season including Mettenberger, Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel and Auburn’s Nick Marshall. Simply put, Knight is the reason OU won the game.

Knight’s 14 pass attempts in the first quarter: That number reveals the brilliance behind the game plan from OU offensive coordinator Josh Heupel. The Sooners, despite their lackluster passing attack in the regular season, entered the game with a plan to use Knight and the passing game to win, not a running game that was the foundation of the offense all season. Alabama was going to force OU to beat to beat it with the pass. And OU’s pass-heavy game plan caught the Tide completely off guard.

OU’s 5.8 yards per play: The Sooners’ 5.8 yards per play average was the second most allowed by Alabama this season behind Texas A&M. It was the best offensive performance of the season for the Sooners, particularly through the air. After averaging less than 200 passing yards per game this season, the Sooners’ 348 passing yards were their best since Sept. 14 against Tulsa.

Lacoltan Bester's completion percentage: Much like Knight, Bester saved his best for last. The senior caught all six passes thrown his way, a 100 percent completion rate, finishing with 105 receiving yards and one touchdown. He showed signs he could be a playmaker throughout the season but had the best game of his two-year OU career in the Sugar Bowl.

Alabama’s turnover percentage: The Crimson Tide turned the ball over on 28.6 percent of their drives, a season’s best for OU’s defense. The unit struggled to slow the Crimson Tide on the ground or through the air, allowing a season-worst 516 yards but they took the ball away enough that those horrible numbers didn’t matter.