Landry Jones wasn't spectacular on Saturday night but upon further review he wasn't a big pile of stink either. There were some really good moments in the game from Oklahoma's quarterback that need to standout every bit as loud as the critical ones as well. Here are a few things I noticed the second time I watched the game.
Oklahoma took the ball 69 yards in 6 plays on their opening drive. Jones was 2-for-3 on that drive for 22 yards including a 12 yard touchdown pass to Ryan Broyles. By the way, Broyles made a fantastic play to get the ball into the end zone on that. So Jones did get off to the good start that we heard Stoops talk about in his press conference.
Oklahoma's second drive didn't stall out because of the passing game. Landry Jones completed his only pass of that drive and sure it was a seven yard pass on a 3rd and 8 but that's on the receiver and not the quarterback. Cameron Kenney has to know where the sticks are. If he extends his route by one more yard than this drive goes into a second set of downs.
It was on Oklahoma's third possession that Jones may have made his best throw of the night. The Sooners had two penalties on the drive that was set up by a Demontre Hurst interception and subsequent 49-yard return. The first penalty set them up with a 1st and 20 and the second turned a 3rd and 4 into a 3rd and 9. Jones was incomplete on that down setting up a 4th and 9 in which he hit Cameron Kenney for a 13 yard gain to keep the drive alive and eventually set up another score and a 14-0 lead. Through the first three Sooner possessions Jones was 4-7 for 42 yards and an interception. However, it was after this that things began to unravel for the Sooner passing attack.
In the fourth possession, Jones was incomplete on two consecutive passes after hitting Jermie Calhoune on a two yard dump on first down resulting in a three-and-out for the Sooners. The next was even worse for Oklahoma's quarterback. A botched punt return set OU up with a 1st down at the USU 22. A false start penalty turned a 2nd and 7 into a 2nd and 12 where Jones threw his first interception of the season. Here's what I noticed, and thus a reason why I didn't think the performance was a bad as initially thought. It looked to me like the receiver quit on the rout. This wasn't the only time I noticed this happening either. It appeared to happen (by my count) at least four other times when Jones threw to the spot where the receiver was supposed to be but no one was there. This was the only time it cost the Sooners a turnover though.
The next possession was another three-and-out where Jones only completed one of three passes. The meltdown was officially in effect at this point and what had started off as a solid night for Landry was now turning into a bit of a frustration.
Things seemed to be corrected on the seventh series when the Sooners went back to the run first. Murray carried the ball three times for 8 yards and Trey Millard once for 4 yards to put Oklahoma with a 2rd and 12 at their own 34. That's when Jones connected three straight times to Ryan Broyles for a total of 70 yards and a touchdown. This is the point of the game where the rout should have been on because the Sooners were sitting on a 21-0 lead with Jones to Broyles responsible for two of the three touchdowns.
On Oklahoma's final two drives of the second half their offense produced -9 yards and Jones was 0-for-2 with a sack. Meanwhile OU saw their 21-0 lead cut to 21-10.
The third quarter started off with much of the same for Landry Jones. He was 1-for-3 on the first drive and 0-for-1 on the second drive. However, in his defense, the second drive ended with a 63-yard DeMarco Murray touchdown run and the drive was only six plays long.
Quintin Carter's interception on the ensuing USU possession gave Oklahoma the ball at the Utah State 37 but its a drive that stalled because of a Jones incompletion on 3rd and 3rd and 13 from the USU 15. Landry connected on two consecutive passes to Dejuan Miller on that drive but he also misfired on two other passes. The end result of the drive was a 32-yard Patrick O'Hara field goal which was the final score of the night for Oklahoma.
From that point on Jones was 5-9 for the remainder of the night for 72 yards and an interception that was tipped at the line of scrimmage. Again, I don't fault Jones for the second pick either because it was tipped at the line. That's the lineman's fault to get the end out of the way and clear a passing lane.
The end result for Landry Jones was a 17-of-36 passing night for 217 yards with 2 scores and 2 picks that could easily be explained away as the fault of others. Was he perfect? Absolutely not! Did he need to be? Not really. The defense was more at fault in that game than the offense was in my opinion. Landry had a rough start to his sophomore campaign but it wasn't disastrous. He was rattled and rushed some throws and he left the pocket too early a few times (even running directly into the rush on occasion) but if you take away the missed communication on the routes and the tipped pass at the line of scrimmage then we're spinning a totally different story. I guess what I'm saying is that I believe we've still got something to work with here and I see things getting better.