GAMEDAY: Containing Texas A&M QB Trevor KnightBy Elliott Propes | 10/20/2016 12:45am
The name Trevor Knight triggers an emotional response for most Alabama fans. The 2014 Sugar Bowl is a game many in the state want to forget, but can't. The then-No. 3 Crimson Tide couldn't stop the then-No. 11 Oklahoma Sooners, led by Knight, and lost, 31-45. Knight shocked the nation as he threw for 348 yards and four touchdowns against Alabama, who was a 16-point favorite.
Since then, Knight has changed universities. After never living up to the hype he produced during his freshman year at Oklahoma, Knight lost the starting quarterback job to Baker Mayfield. What many thought was the end of Knight’s reign was revitalized this year after he decided to become a graduate transfer at Texas A&M. Knight has finally started to live up to the potential he showed back in that 2014 Sugar Bowl.
“He passed the ball well when we played against him before, but that was supposed to be the issue, and he has done that extremely well this year for them, to create kind of balance in their offense that makes it very difficult to defend,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said. “He's an outstanding player from a production standpoint; he's as productive as anybody we've played against all year.”
Knight has had a solid beginning to his SEC career. He has led the Aggies to a 6-0 start and a No. 6 ranking going into this weekend. He has already thrown for 1,500 yards and nine touchdowns. He also leads all SEC quarterbacks with 502 rushing yards and nine rushing touchdowns. The Aggies now have the second most rushing yards in the SEC, behind Alabama.
On Saturday, Knight will have another shot at the Crimson Tide. This time Alabama is undefeated as well and has a defense that ranks eighth in the nation for points allowed per game at just 15.0. The Crimson Tide also has the best run defense in the nation, only giving up 63.9 rushing yards per game.
“Yeah, they got a good quarterback," outside linebacker Ryan Anderson said. "Trevor Knight makes all the throws, can run, can hurt you with his legs and his arms, so it’s definitely going to be a challenge for us."
Starting linebacker Shaun Dion Hamilton said the team is prepared for the dual-threat quarterback after facing other SEC quarterbacks, such as Tennessee's Joshua Dobbs and Ole Miss' Chad Kelly. Alabama was able to hold Kelly to 43 yards on 14 carries and improved on that last week, diminishing Dobbs to -31 yards rushing.
“We just have to contain the pocket and collapse the pocket and just know where [Knight] is at all times in case,” defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson said. “We can’t make any gaps up the middle, because he can just take off running for a first down.”
Only one undefeated SEC team will remain after this weekend, and if Alabama wants to be that team, it will have to quickly learn how to handle Knight.
During SEC media days, Knight said the reason his former team beat Alabama was because the Sooners were not scared. Knight has confidence and knows an upset is possible. He has done it before.