Trevor Knight leads No. 4 Oklahoma past Tennessee

NORMAN, Okla. -- Bob Stoops downplayed his latest coaching victory against the Southeastern Conference.

Trevor Knight passed for 308 yards and a touchdown and ran for another score to help No. 4 Oklahoma defeat Tennessee 34-10 on Saturday night.

The win wasn't as dramatic as the Sooners' Sugar Bowl victory over SEC member Alabama, but it puts them in a good position heading into Big 12 play. Instead of reveling in the win over a team from a conference he has criticized in the past, Stoops focused on his team.

"I don't feel that we've done much yet," he said. "I've got all the respect in the world for Tennessee. I'm just saying it's only three games. We've got a long year. We've got to keep getting better."

Stoops said he was pleased with the overall effort. Sterling Shepard caught five passes for 109 yards and Keith Ford caught a touchdown pass and ran for a score, and the defense forced three turnovers and held the Volunteers to 313 total yards. Oklahoma (3-0) won its seventh straight game dating to last season.

Tennessee coach Butch Jones said his inexperienced team was overwhelmed.

"We improved in some areas, but when you go on the road against a quality opponent like Oklahoma you can't turn the football over," Jones said. "A game can come down to two or three plays and you never know which plays are going to make a difference."

Justin Worley passed for 201 yards for Tennessee, but he completed just 21 of 44 passes, was sacked five times, threw two interceptions and lost a fumble.

Jalen Hurd ran for 97 yards on 14 carries and Josh Smith caught five passes for 58 yards and a touchdown for the Volunteers (2-1).

A game that looked like it might get out of hand got competitive at times in the second half.

In the early minutes of the third quarter, Knight found Durron Neal for 43 yards to move the Sooners into the red zone, then Knight kept it himself for a 5-yard touchdown run that pushed Oklahoma's lead to 27-7.

Tennessee got some hope after recovering a fumbled punt at the Oklahoma 30. A facemask penalty moved the ball to the Oklahoma 21, but the Volunteers got just a 31-yard field goal by Aaron Medley to trim Oklahoma's lead to 27-10 with 2:29 remaining in the third.

Hurd busted loose for 43 yards to put Tennessee in business again, but Zack Sanchez intercepted Worley in the end zone to end the threat. It was Sanchez's third interception of the season and fifth in his past six games.

The Volunteers got the ball deep into Oklahoma territory early in the fourth quarter, but Julian Wilson intercepted a pass that was deflected by linebacker Jordan Evans and ran it back 100 yards for a touchdown to put the Sooners up 34-10 with 10:57 to play.

Oklahoma dominated early. After the Sooners took a 3-0 lead, Tennessee moved across midfield before Oklahoma safety Quentin Hayes hit Worley from behind, forced a fumble and then recovered it. Knight connected with Ford out of the backfield for a 23-yard touchdown that put the Sooners up 10-0. Michael Hunnicutt's second short field goal increased the Sooners' lead to 13-0.

Oklahoma has outscored its first three opponents a combined 55-0 in the first quarter.

"I think it's just a mindset, getting the guys ready to go and being ready to play," Oklahoma tight end Blake Bell said. "The coaches do a good job."

Tennessee finally got on the board after catching a break. Worley was sacked on third down, but Oklahoma was called for an offside penalty, and Worley took advantage by connecting with Hurd for a 30-yard gain. Later in the drive, Worley found Smith for a 40-yard touchdown pass to cut Oklahoma's lead to 13-7 in the second quarter.

Tennessee had a chance to tighten the game further on its next possession, but the Sooners held. Oklahoma turned the momentum on the ensuing drive when Ford broke loose for an 11-yard touchdown run to push the Sooners' lead to 20-7 late in the first half.

Ford left the game with an undisclosed injury in the second half, and Stoops said he wasn't sure of his versatile running back's status.

Knight passed for 229 yards in the first half, and surpassed 300 yards passing in a game for just the second time in his career.

Worley passed for 144 yards in the first half, but the Volunteers rushed for minus-11 yards before the break. Many of Hurd's yards came on two runs in the second half.


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