via cdn2.sbnation.com Tom Pennington
There is a general feeling that Landry Jones performed well in the ND game, just look at his stat sheet. He was 35/51 for 354 yards and a pick. He averaged 7.0 yards per attempt. Outside of the TD/INT ration, pretty darn good stats and efficiency. So why do people still doubt Landry Jones citing his mental toughness and poise? Lets dig into the numbers to find clues.
In the ND game, OU was 4-14 on 3rd down. That is a disastrous statistic. 3rd down is where the pressure is to perform, especially against good defenses. Make the play or end the drive. There is added mental pressure. That is where I concentrated on Jones because failing continuously would give the impression that he is folding up under the game pressure to perform. Below are his 3rd downs against ND.
5 Incomplete passes
1 pass for a loss of 3 yards.
1 pass 8 yards short of the first down.
He converted just two 3rd downs. Thus, his 3rd down conversion rate was 2 of 9 that included a sack and pick.
So his stats had to come from his 1st and 2nd downs. He was 30 of 36 on 1st and 2nd down. (I counted these manually so there is a margin of error). The statistics suggest that Jones is clearly uncomfortable on 3rd downs and under pressure to perform. Not content with this game alone, I went back to the KSU game and looked at 3rd downs.
1 Sack and fumble
He converted 4 of 9 3rd downs with a sack and turnover.
On first and second down, he was 25 of 33 with a TD and an INT.
I wanted to go back and look at losses in previous years to compare but just simply did not have time. However, I think the trend will continue. I certainly understand that this does not take into account his wins and thus provides a one sided picture. But the point is to find out why statistically he seems to be good but we still feel uneasy and question him. I submit that we as fans become more aware and focus on 3rd down plays. These are make or break plays in the drive. Thus, when we see Jones struggle on 3rd downs, we see Jones failing. Those who defend Jones see his performance on 1st and 2nd down which is quite good. Thus, we have a tale of two Landry Jones.
By contrast, redshirt freshman Golson for ND was 5 of 11 on 3rd down with a rushing TD.
Disclaimer: Understand there are 3rd and longs that are more difficult to convert. 3rd down is also an obvious passing down and historically more difficult to convert. This is what separates great players from average. Those that step up and those that do not.