Revisiting Trevor Knight's magical 2014 Sugar Bowl performance vs. Alabama

Sumlin confident Texas A&M can handle pressure of facing Bama (4:07)

Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin joins SVP to preview the Aggies' weekend showdown with Alabama. (4:07)

Only two active quarterbacks can say they've defeated Alabama: Ole Miss' Chad Kelly and Texas A&M's Trevor Knight.

The latter faces the Crimson Tide for the second time in his career and the first time since Jan. 3, 2014, when Knight -- then a redshirt freshman -- led Oklahoma to a 45-31 Sugar Bowl win over Alabama.

Much has changed since then: Knight is now a fifth-year senior, he no longer plays for the Sooners and most Crimson Tide players on the field that day are no longer on the roster.

"It was a long time ago," Knight said Tuesday. "I'm not even at the same school anymore. They talk about me and Chad Kelly being the only two to beat Alabama but again, that's so far in the past, you can't look into that now."

It probably provides little -- if any -- benefit to either team to revisit the game in preparation for the top-10 clash between No. 1 Alabama and No. 6 Texas A&M on Saturday. That doesn't mean we can't, though.

Massive underdogs

Not unlike the Aggies are going into this weekend's game, Oklahoma was a significant underdog going into that Sugar Bowl. Oddsmakers had the Crimson Tide favored by 16 points after the championship-caliber group got clipped in the Iron Bowl by the famed "Kick-Six."

The Sooners were 10-2 and second in the Big 12 coming into the game. There was some suspense at quarterback, because Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops didn't publicly name a starting quarterback before kickoff. Knight, who started four regular-season games in 2013, and Blake Bell, who started the other eight, were the candidates.

Stoops went with Knight, a decision that paid immense dividends. Asked if he anticipated a strong performance from Knight, Stoops said "Of course."

"He had a really good year for us," Stoops said Monday. "He was a young quarterback. He was still a redshirt freshman, I believe. He had a good solid year that year and we expected him to play well in the game."

A magical night

Playing well doesn't begin to describe Knight's performance. His raw numbers were impressive: 32-of-44 passing, 348 yards, four touchdowns, one interception. The interception went off a receiver's hands. And while he didn't run the ball well statistically (seven rushing yards on five attempts) his mobility gave Alabama headaches all night long.

"He was able to stretch the field," said Alabama cornerback Eddie Jackson, one of the handful of current players who played in the game. "He has a great arm. He was very mobile. I didn’t think he was going to be that mobile. But he can run, he can make you miss tackles."

The Sooners kept Alabama off balance with its read-option and pistol. Knight was more accurate that game than he was all season: Before the Sugar Bowl, his completion rate was only 52.2 percent.

He was accurate in the short and intermediate game and he threw some picturesque deep balls, like the touchdown pass he threw to Jalen Saunders to give Oklahoma a 24-17 first-half lead.

One highlight-worthy scoring toss featured Knight evading pressure toward the right sideline and throwing the ball slightly across his body to Sterling Shepard, who evaded two Alabama defenders in the back of the end zone for a score. It prompted play-by-play commentator Brad Nessler to say "It looked like Joe Montana to Dwight Clark!"

"We thought he was an outstanding player," Alabama coach Nick Saban said of Knight in July. "He did a great job in the game that he played against us in the Sugar Bowl. Very athletic. He was very accurate throwing the ball."

A rematch, of sorts

Asked of his most vivid memories of the game, Knight said: "That we won."

"That was a good feeling," he said. "Again, that was a great game, a long time ago. We came out and played really well and got a win. It was another win under our belt back then. I don't think too much into it nowadays."

It's a game that remains Knight's career highlight. It launched lofty expectations for him heading into the 2014 season, his lone one as the Sooners' full-time starter . Inconsistency, interceptions and an injury marred that campaign. He eventually lost the starting job before the 2015 season to Baker Mayfield, which prompted the transfer after the season that landed him in College Station, Texas, where he has the Aggies currently sitting at 6-0.

Saban and Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin both said they don't plan to watch the game for scouting purposes because there have been too many changes for it to matter, perhaps most importantly that Knight's team is no longer the same.

Does having a quarterback who has beaten Alabama serve as any kind of advantage?

"I don't know," Sumlin said. "I had one that beat 'em [Johnny Manziel] and we didn't beat them the next time."

And as memorable as that night was for Knight, it won't have any bearing on Saturday's result.

"I know that everybody tries to make a storyline out of everything," Sumlin said. "Let's make the storyline this year. It has nothing to do with '14 ... .The storyline is about two teams in 2016 that are top-10 teams and are playing to try to win the West."