Quarterbacks at Oklahoma will forever be judged not by their numbers and statistics but by how they perform under pressure and in high-stakes situations.
They can't blame anybody but their predecessors.
For Landry Jones, the predecessor made it more than just expectations. Of course, Oklahoma fans require near perfection from their team's signal-callers, but following Sam Bradford's career makes it nearly impossible to equal their lofty goals. The thing with Jones, however, is the expectations only followed belief that the kid had the tools to get it done when it mattered most, no matter the situation.
He showed off his abilities at times and proved he could sling it with the best of them. His size and arm strength were never an issue. His ability to move in the pocket? Not a problem. However, his ability to make the plays and make the decisions when it mattered rarely scratched the surface.
The consistency was never there. Jones was a roller coaster of the good, the bad and the ugly. The good Landry Jones rifled bullets on the goal line to Kenny Stills for game-winning touchdowns. The bad/ugly Landry Jones fell apart trying to dissect zone coverage and delivered passes straight into the letters of the opponents' jerseys.
Against West Virginia in Morgantown earlier this season, Jones put the offense on his shoulders and carried them to a late victory against the Mountaineers. His completion to Stills from five yards out with 24 seconds left in the game capped off Oklahoma's 50-49 victory.
However, in 2011, against Oklahoma State, playing for a Fiesta Bowl berth, Jones couldn't get his team into any kind of rhythm and threw two interceptions en route to a 44-10 loss. It marked the first and only time the Cowboys have defeated Oklahoma under Mike Gundy.
Here are the games Oklahoma lost under Jones.
- (20) BYU-14, (3) Oklahoma-13 in Arlington, Texas (9/5/09)
- (17) Miami-21, (8) Oklahoma-20 in Miami, Fla. (10/3/09)
- (3) Texas-16, (20) Oklahoma-13 in Dallas, Texas (10/17/09)
- Nebraska-10, (20) Oklahoma-3 in Lincoln, Neb. (11/7/09)
- Texas Tech-41, Oklahoma-13 in Lubbock, Texas (11/21/09)
- (18) Missouri-36, (3) Oklahoma-27 in Columbia, Mo. (10/23/10)
- Texas A&M-33, (11) Oklahoma-19 in College Station, Texas (11/6/10)
- Texas Tech-41, (3) Oklahoma-38 in Norman, Okla. (10/22/11)
- (25) Baylor-45, (5) Oklahoma-38 in Waco, Texas (11/19/11)
- (3) Oklahoma State-44, (13) Oklahoma-10 in Stillwater, Okla. (12/3/11)
- (15) Kansas State-24, (6) Oklahoma-19 in Norman, Okla. (9/22/12)
- (5) Notre Dame-30, (8) Oklahoma-13 in Norman, Okla. (10/27/12)
- (10) Texas A&M-41, (12) Oklahoma-13 in Arlington, Texas (1/4/13)
Nine of Jones' 13 losses came by way of an upset. The Sooners were upset twice as the third-ranked team in the country with Jones starting under center and once against BYU when Jones came in to play the second half.
Oklahoma made it into the top five in the country all four years under Jones, and all four years they underachieved. Even with bowl wins in three of four seasons, it was an underachievement. They were considered to be championship contenders and fell short, way short.
It’s easy to say Jones was the reason the Sooners never made it to the "promised land" in his tenure. It’s easy to say everything was his fault. But at the end of the day, Jones wasn't the only player on offense the past four seasons. There were a number of players who contributed to their upsets, and there were plenty who underachieved.
If you look at the numbers, Jones is the best quarterback since Stoops took over the program. Of course, he owns the record books, he played four seasons. If you watched the Sooners for the past 14 years, you know his overall statistics hardly tell the story of his career.
You know his career isn't comparable to Bradford's, Josh Heupel's and Jason White's. Sooners fans felt comfortable with those guys delivering in crunch time. It was quite the opposite with Jones.
Here are some interesting NCAA stats and records Jones owns.
- Career passing yards: 3rd (16,646)
- Career pass completions: T-3rd: (1,388)
- Career pass attempts: 3rd: (2,183)
- Career total yards: 3rd (16,271)
- Career passing TDs: 5th (123)
So when you think about Landry Jones 20 years from now, what will come across your mind? Underachieving? Falling apart under pressure? Statistics? Records?
Wherever you are and whatever you're doing, when you do think back on his career, be sure to fasten your seat belt. It was definitely a roller-coaster ride.
(Stats and information provided via SoonerSports.com and sports-reference.com)
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