By Bruce Campbell, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle
NORMAN, Okla. — —
Landry Jones had a sense of redemption in Oklahoma’s 51-48 overtime thriller over archrival Oklahoma State Saturday.
The Sooner quarterback, who had endured the criticism of fans for his failures in last year’s 44-10 loss to the Cowboys, completed 46 of 71 passes for 500 yards and three touchdowns.
For the second straight week, he would engineer a last-second touchdown drive saving the Sooners from defeat.
“What more do you want from the guy,’’ said OU coach Bob Stoops. “He was fabulous. He was throwing bullets everywhere in the right spot.’’
“There’s no better way to go out than this,’’ Jones said. “God blessed me so much tonight to go out like this. We got it done when we needed to do.’’
The comeback against the Cowboys was more special than last week’s 50-49 win over West Virginia in which OU won with 24 seconds left.
The Sooners got the tying touchdown with four seconds remaining and won in overtime on Brennan’s Clay 18-yard run.
OU players stayed on the field long after the game soaking the atmosphere and riveting with fans.
“It reminded me of the 2008 Texas Tech game (in which OU beat the No. 2 Red Raiders 65-21),’’ Jones said. “It was fun the way the fans stayed around. I’m honored to lead this group of guys. They’re great.’’
Jones credited his faith for the back-to-back comebacks.
“You always remember the tight games, especially the ones that you come from behind in,’’ he said. “God took our team through situations and let us know that we can do it.’’
Jones has been criticized for not being fiery enough. Yet, his calmness under pressure was a key in him finding redemption Saturday.
“You always want to redeem yourself after a terrible loss like that,’’ he said. “My belief and philosophy is you can’t get too high and you can’t get too low that people can’t feel your presence. Everyone has a different personality. I think people follow people who are really genuine.’’
Stoops pointed out Jones’ leadership skills “just didn’t start last week.
“Our guys know how good Landry is,’’ Stoops said. “Last week didn’t hurt our confidence in him. He hasn’t ever done anything that you don’t think he can’t do it.’’
Jones said the last year’s loss especially hurt “since coach Stoops doesn’t get blown out too many times.”
“To come back like we did tonight, is awfully special,’’ Jones said. “Last year wasn’t too fun. I can’t thank coach Stoops enough for the support he gave me ... but it’s not one player that wins or losses. I think we showed our toughness. We’re close enough that when one person shows it, it rubs off and affects other people.’’
For the first time in school history, the Sooners had three receivers — Jalen Saunders (162), Justin Brown (146) and Kenny Stills (103) have more than 100 yards in receiving.
“That was huge,’’ Jones said. “Jalen and Justin came up with huge catches all night.’’
Jones felt more at ease on the tying touchdown drive than last week at West Virginia because he was at home.
“To have the support of the fans helps us as a team,’’ Jones said. “It’s just more special because it was my last time to play here.’’
The Sooners went 86 yards on 17 plays on their final drive, converting two third downs and another on a fourth-and-goal on Blake Bell’s four-yard touchdown run with four seconds left.
“At that point in time we knew we had to score on that drive,’’ Jones said. “I think our offense just did what it had to do. We take it to fourth down and Blake came in and had a great run. It’s just something about this team, we get it done when we need to.’’
Bell felt emotion of the Bedlam Series with the touchdown.
“To score on a fourth-and-one with 10 seconds left, that’s why I came to the University of Oklahoma to play in a game like this,’’ he said. “No one was going to get me.’’
And why Jones’ arm played a major role in the win, the ground game took over in overtime. Trey Millard got seven yards on first down with Clay going up the middle for 18 yards for the game-winner.
“We had success inside the zone with Trey on the first play and we came back and handed it off to Brennan on the next play,’’ Jones said. “The offensive line opened up the hole, and Brennan broke some tackles.’’
Stoops, a one-time defensive coordinator, could joke about the shootout and winning despite giving up 490 yards.
“When we win, it doesn’t matter what the score is,’’ he said. “I sure rather win 51-48 as oppose to losing 7-6 any day.’’
And he savored giving it back to Jones’ critics.
“Write it that way,’’ he said. “Let the five percent figure it out.’’