Another year, another bowl game, another record setting performance. Welcome to the life of Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones, quite possibly the most underrated Sooner signal caller of the Bob Stoops era. In two seasons he's led Oklahoma to back-to-back bowl wins, won a Big 12 Championship and ended Oklahoma's BCS bowl skid. Not bad for a kid who's biggest drawback is that he isn't Sam Bradford.
Last season Jones set a school passing record in his first bowl game with 418 passing yards and three touchdowns against Stanford in the Sun Bowl. Saturday night in his, BCS bowl debut, he broke his own record with 426 passing yards, 3 touchdowns and a pick. It was a performance that left him just two yards shy of the single season passing yards mark at OU.
If you're looking for the perfect quarterback then you'll want to move on from Jones and continue your search. Good luck though because that guy you're looking for doesn't exist. However, if you want a guy who is efficient, moves the ball and wins games then Landry Jones might be your man because that's exactly how his performance in the Fiesta Bowl should be described. Jones completed almost 70% of his passes (68.8%) and led the team to scores on half of their offensive possessions, including four of Oklahoma's fist five possessions.
The two biggest beneficiaries of Jones' record setting performance were Ryan Broyles and Cameron Kenney. Broyles hauled in 13 passes for 168 yards while Kenney grabbed 7 for 154. Both receivers had touchdown catches with Kenney's being a game long of 59-yards. Jones also had an 8-yard TD toss to tight end James Hanna.
We can be critical of Jones' interception for a minute because its a area where he still needs to improve. Under pressure he tends to make a rushed pass, off his back foot, into a crowded area. Its something that every quarterback has done and a mistake that most will grow out of in time. Time is something that Landry Jones has because he's just a sophomore and I would be willing to bet that's his focus this spring and summer.
In his debut as Oklahoma's play caller Josh Heupel didn't disappoint either. His offensive game plan racked up 524 yards in offense and produced 34 points. If the Fiesta Bowl is a sneak peek into his philosophy then he's gonna be a coach quarterbacks are going to love. I'm not saying that running backs are going to hate him because DeMarco Murray got 25 carries but he's going to lean a bit more towards passing. Jones dropped back and threw the ball 48 times and the offensive line didn't allow a single sack which was a huge key to Oklahoma's success.
Then there's another theory. On a night where Heupel could have taken what he wanted from the UConn defense he clearly chose to take the passing game because that's where the most mismatches were. The Huskies just didn't have the athletes to cover Oklahoma's receivers. In addition to the big games from Broyles and Kenney, freshman receiver Kenny Stills also had 8 receptions for 73 yards. That's not to say the rushing attack was ineffective though. Heupel used it to keep the defense honest. Murray averaged 3.8 yards per carry and piled up 95 rushing yards.
My thought is that Oklahoma's commitment to the passing game is the reason why Trey Millard was missing from the offensive attack but still, my personal preference is that they have to find a place for him no matter what the game plan is. However, when our biggest criticism is that they didn't find enough playing time for a freshman then I think we're doing alright.