Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops revealed Monday that senior running back Damien Williams has been dismissed from the team, via ESPN’s Jake Trotter.
According to the Oklahoman, Williams was suspended for Saturday’s game against Kansas State for a violation of team rules. It was his second suspension for violating team rules, as he missed OU’s Sept. 14 win over Tulsa due to a transgression as well.
Williams topped Sooners running backs with seven touchdowns and was second to senior Brennan Clay with 114 carries and 553 yards. His best game this season also turned out to be his last — Williams carried 10 times for 128 yards and two touchdowns Nov. 16 against Iowa State.
In two years with OU — Williams was a JuCo transfer — he carried 290 times for 1,499 yards with 18 touchdowns.
With Williams gone, expect senior Roy Finch (58 carries, 347 yards) to take on a larger role in OU’s offense. Finch was more of a feature back his first two years with the Sooners, carrying 85 times for 398 yards in 2010 and 111 times for 605 yards in 2011.
While Bob Stoops won’t be ready to publicly name a starting quarterback until Saturday, one report has decided to get ahead of signal-calling curve.
The Daily Oklahoman, citing a source close to the program, reported Wednesday that Trevor Knight will start for Oklahoma Saturday in its game against Kansas State. Blake Bell, who took over for Knight earlier this season, suffered a concussion early in the second quarter of last weekend’s win over Iowa State and has not been medically cleared.
Knight was the surprise starter coming out of summer camp, but gave way to Bell due to what was called a bruised knee suffered in the Week 2 win over West Virginia. Stoops allowed after that game, however, that Knight’s performance in the Mountaineers game — 10-of-20 for 119 yards and two interceptions — played as much of a role in the decision to go to Bell as did the injury.
Bell has started the past eight games, with the Sooners going 6-2 in that span.
The news of Bell being sidelined comes the same day it was reported that a pair of offensive starters — running back Damien Williams and wide receiver Lacoltan Bester — would not play against K-State. The speculation is that both have been suspended, although OU has yet to confirm either of the player’s statuses for the game.
As Oklahoma continues its push toward a 12th double-digit win season in 15 years under Bob Stoops, the Sooners will be without two of its top offensive playmakers. Reportedly.
Citing unnamed sources, KOCO-TV in Oklahoma City is reporting that running back Damien Williams and wide receiver Lacoltan Bester will not play in Saturday’s game against Kansas State. The television station gave no reason for neither player being available.
A school official declined a request for confirmation or denial of the report.
Williams leads the team with seven rushing touchdowns with seven and is second in rushing yards with 553. The senior also has nine catches for 90 yards coming out of the backfield.
Bester’s 20 receptions for 279 yards are second on the team.
Oklahoma (8-2, 5-2 Big 12) scored 45 unanswered points on the strength of a 38-point second half to pound Iowa State (1-9, 0-7 Big 12) Saturday afternoon in Norman. After being tied 10-10 at halftime, Oklahoma scored a 48-10 victory over the Cyclones.
Damien Williams scored two touchdowns in the second half and rushed for a game-high 128 yards. Oklahoma’s dual-threat quarterback Trevor Knight completed eight of 14 pass attempts for 61 yards and rushed for 123 yards and a touchdown as well. Oklahoma rolled up over 400 yards of offense in the second half after struggling for much of the first half against an upset-minded Iowa State team. The Sooners were also pretty disciplined in the game. while they were called for six penalties, Oklahoma avoided turning the football over and the defense put the clamps down on Iowa State after halftime by forcing four punts and a fumble. Meanwhile the offense picked up points on each second half possession and were kept out of the end zone just once (held to a field goal).
The win improves Oklahoma to a record of 8-2 with two games to play. The Sooners are out of the Big 12 championship race with losses to Baylor and Texas already — Baylor and Texas are undefeated in Big 12 play so far, making it nearly impossible for Oklahoma to pass them — but Oklahoma can still put themselves in contention for a good bowl invite.
Oklahoma’s final two games will be played on the road. Next up is Kansas State. Oklahoma then gets a week off before traveling to Stillwater to take on Oklahoma State. Bedlam could have a trip to the Cotton Bowl on the line.
The Texas Longhorns entered today’s edition of the Red River Rivalry ranked 69th in the country in third down conversion success. You would not know that by watching the Longhorns today. You also may not realize Oklahoma’s defense is ranked 11th in the nation in third down defense.
Texas is leading Oklahoma at halftime, 23-10, and has the success on third down to thank for it. The Longhorns converted nine out of 12 third down attempts, a 75 percent success rate. The Longhorns had entered today converting on just 40.26 percent of their third down attempts, so clearly Bob Stoops and his defense have something to review at the half. If Texas continues to extend drives with that kind of success, Texas could very well wear down Oklahoma on their way to their first win in the Red River Rivalry since 2009.
The Texas game plan has been incredibly solid and focusing on the running game. Johnathan Gray leads all players with 82 yards and Case McCoy has been dependable with 125 passing yards and a touchdown, a 59 yard strike down the right sideline to Marcus Johnson on a wild third down conversion. The offense has been efficient, but the defense has done their part as well. Defensive lineman Chris Whaley intercepted a pass from Oklahoma quarterback Blake Bell and returned it for a touchdown in the first quarter to give Texas a 10-3 lead. Oklahoma’s only touchdown of the half was set up by a long kickoff return by Roy Finch. Damien Williams rushed in for a short touchdown run to get the Sooners on the board and cut the Texas lead to 20-10. Had the score stayed that way who knows if Oklahoma could have built off of that momentum at the break. Instead, Texas made the most of their short time until halftime and tacked on three more points with a 43-yard field goal from Anthony Fera. Before Oklahoma had that long kickoff return, Fera had kicked a 50-yard field goal.
Can Texas keep it going in the second half, or will Oklahoma battle back?