I was about to say it's a rare day when Landry Jones can throw for 400+ yards and four touchdowns only for me to turn on the postgame radio and hear call after call from OU fans ripping the guy. But this is Oklahoma fans and Landry Jones we're talking about. To say the relationship between the two has been contentious would be putting it kindly.
Was he perfect? No.
Were the two interceptions pretty bad? Yes.
But the guy played pretty damn well in this one for the most part, so it would be nice if every once in a while we could cut him some slack. If you want to flame me for saying so, then flame away. I've certainly been a critic in the past, but call me crazy when two essentially meaningless interceptions don't outweigh his 400 yards and four touchdowns.
Staying on Jones, I thought he was very efficient with his throws making a number of quality tosses to his receivers' back shoulder. He also spread the ball around much better than he did last week against Notre Dame where it felt like he only had eyes for Jalen Saunders. He completed six of his seven throws on third down which all lead to either first downs or touchdowns.
As for our other quarterback, what the heck was up with the Belldozer? Credit to Iowa State for defending that package as well as any other school has ever defended. They were so successful in fact, that Josh Heupel seemed afraid to go back to it later in the game on short yardage situations. Heupel's refusal to do anything creative, with rare exceptions, out of that package continues to baffle the mind.
We'd be remiss if we waited any longer to bring up the unquestioned offensive MVP of this game, one Brennan Clay. Where on earth did that come from, sir?!? Mind you, we're not complaining, trust me. And it couldn't have come at a more needed moment with the Sooners starter, Damien Williams, clearly hobbled by an ankle injury yet inexplicably still thrown out there by the OU coaches. As well as the supposed starter, as we were told earlier in the week, Dominique Whaley making a ever so brief appearance (still no clue what's going on there).
Clay's 157 yards on 24 carries were a huge factor in this game and yet it was a run that may have gone largely unnoticed that changed the entire fabric of this game. As the Sooners appeared to be running out the clock late in the first half, Clay bounced a run to the outside for a gain of nine yards and an OU first down. Prior to that run, it looked as if Oklahoma would have been happy to run out the clock and take a modest 7-6 lead into the half. However, following that run by Clay the Sooners mentality changed as they took a successful shot down the field to Justin Brown for a 40-yard gain. One play later, the Sooners were in the end zone and had forcibly taken back all momentum in the game.
In fact, during his postgame meeting with the media Stoops admitted the run by Clay altered their plans to close out the half. Just imagine how different things are if OU goes into the half up by just one point as opposed to a 14-6 lead with the late score and coming out to receive the ball to start the second half. Big difference, big run.
The thing with Clay was never that we OU fans thought he lacked the talent. We've seen glimpses of it at times, never more so than this season, so the possibility of this kind of performance was always there. You could see him running with a confidence this season that very clearly was not there ever since that big hit he took against Florida State his freshman year. When asked after the game, Stoops said it was very satisfying to see a player like Clay come in and have a career game because he's been such a great teammate and team leader.
Sure, we as fans bitch about players from time to time. Probably too often to be perfectly frank. But I'd be willing to bet a considerable amount of money that you wouldn't find an OU fan on the planet who wasn't happy for Clay today.
I'm going to resist the very strong urge I have to destroy the Oklahoma coaches for allowing Damien Williams to play in this game. I'll simply say it was about an equally as idiotic decision as it was to have him in the game last week down three scores with 30 seconds on the clock (when he did the most damage to that ankle by the way) and leave it at that.
Justin Brown (7-107-1) and Kenny Stills (6-92-2) were pretty clearly the standouts with respect to the receivers on Saturday. Brown continues to impress and if there is anyone out there who tells you they could have predicted this kind of contribution from the Penn State transfer, you know that person is a liar (assuming you didn't already). He's a guy Jones has become very comfortable with and a solid possession receiver.
Stills has been the constant all season and while he was somewhat invisible at times on Saturday, he came up big when it mattered.
Sterling Shepard put in a solid 77 yards on five receptions, including the first of four Landry touchdown passes. And Saunders was also a factor out of the slot putting up 54 yards on four receptions. Heck, we even had a couple Durron Neal and Trey Metoyer sightings. Like we said before, they spread it around on Saturday. Solid all-around performance from the Oklahoma receivers in this one.
Hard to find much to complain about when your offense puts up nearly 600 total yards, 188 of which come on the ground, and averages almost seven yards per play.
That is, of course, unless you're someone who has nothing better to do than to sit on hold waiting to make a fool of yourself on a local sports talk postgame show.