Knight completed a Sugar Bowl-record 32 passes for 348 yards and four touchdowns, and No. 11 Oklahoma took down third-ranked Alabama, 45-31 on Thursday night.
Knight's completion percentage entering the game was 52.2. He had completed 47 passes all season, before a breakout performance in which two of his TDs went for more than 40 yards.
Oklahoma (11-2) needed him to play that well in the 80th Sugar Bowl, the first in which quarterbacks for both teams threw for more than 300 yards.
The victory was a sweet one for Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops, who last offseason called talk about the Southeastern Conference being the best league in college football "propaganda."
His Big 12 team vanquished an Alabama (11-2) squad that had been ranked No. 1 much of the past three seasons, winning the previous two national titles before its shot at a third straight was derailed by Auburn on the last play last month in the Iron Bowl.
AJ McCarron passed for 387 yards and two TDs, but his two interceptions set up Oklahoma TDs, and his fumble, returned for a score in the final minute, sealed 'Bama's first two-game skid since its Sugar Bowl loss to Utah in January 2009. McCarron, meanwhile, lost his last two starts after going 36-2 before those games.
Freshman Derrick Henry's 43-yard run in the third quarter pulled Alabama to 31-24, and the Crimson Tide defense forced four punts while giving up only one first down in the third quarter. But Alabama was unable to add another score before the Sooners starting moving the ball again early in the final quarter.
Knight lofted a perfect pass to Lacoltan Bester for a 34-yard gain to the Alabama 9. Shortly after, Knight rolled left all the way to the sideline before rifling a touchdown strike to Sterling Shepard, making it a two-touchdown game again with 10:44 left.
Henry, a 6-foot-3, 238-pound true freshman, pulled Alabama back with in a score once more when he turned his first career completion into a tackle-shedding 61-yard TD with 6:22 still to go.
But Oklahoma was able to burn several minutes off the clock, and then Oklahoma registered its seventh sack when Eric Striker stripped McCarron, and Geneo Grissom returned it 8 yards for a score.
Both teams entered the Sugar Bowl with defenses ranked in the top 15 nationally, but quarterback play dominated a first half highlighted by five passing plays of 43 yards or longer, three of which went for scores. But McCarron threw two interceptions twice, each time setting up Sooners TDs on the very next play.
No. 15 Central Florida 52,
No. 6 Baylor 42
UCF 14 14 7 17--52
Baylor 7 13 8 14--42
UCF -- S.Johnson 11 run (Moffitt kick), 11:24.
UCF -- S.Johnson 2 run (Moffitt kick), 7:46.
Bay -- Petty 1 run (A.Jones kick), 3:49.
Bay -- Norwood 30 pass from Petty (pass failed), 8:01.
UCF -- Hall 50 pass from Bortles (Moffitt kick), 5:05.
Bay -- Petty 13 run (A.Jones kick), 2:55.
UCF -- Hall 34 pass from Bortles (Moffitt kick), :44.
Bay -- Petty 1 run (Petty run), 10:18.
UCF -- Perriman 10 pass from Bortles (Moffitt kick), 5:38.
UCF -- Bortles 15 run (Moffitt kick), 13:37.
Bay -- Martin 9 run (A.Jones kick), 12:16.
UCF -- S.Johnson 40 run (Moffitt kick), 10:26.
UCF -- FG Moffitt 36, 4:44.
A -- 65,172.
First downs 29 27
Rushes-yards 44-255 38-194
Passing 301 356
Comp-Att-Int 20-31-2 30-47-1
Return Yards 9 (-3)
Punts-Avg. 4-41.0 7-43.6
Fumbles-Lost 2-1 1-0
Penalties-Yards 4-40 17-135
Time of Possession 34:47 25:13
RUSHING -- UCF, S.Johnson 20-124, Bortles 8-93, Stanback 13-33, Godfrey 1-7, Team 2-(minus 2). Baylor, Seastrunk 17-117, Goodley 1-22, Linwood 3-19, Martin 6-19, Petty 11-17.
PASSING -- UCF, Bortles 20-31-2-301. Baylor, Petty 30-47-1-356.
RECEIVING -- UCF, Godfrey 5-60, Worton 5-56, Hall 4-113, Perriman 3-48, Stanback 2-25, S.Johnson 1-(minus 1). Baylor, Coleman 7-88, Lee 5-80, Reese 5-43, Norwood 4-63, Goodley 4-20, C.Fuller 3-52, Najvar 1-7, Linwood 1-3.