COLUMN: Jones' mistakes, not record-jumping day is primary focus to fans
Saturday in Ames, senior quarterback Landry Jones threw for 405 yards and four touchdowns, propelling the Sooners to a 35-20 win.
The game was Jones’ 10th 400-yard game as OU’s quarterback and allowed him to jump former Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore for fifth place in NCAA history with 14,792 career passing yards.
But you wouldn’t have been able to tell that from listening to local sports talk radio or reading one of the OU-centric online message boards. All they wanted to talk about was Jones’ two interceptions and his fourth quarter scramble that ended in a slide that was one-yard short of a first down.
And although those criticisms are warranted, it’s become apparent that after four years under center, there’s still nothing Jones can do to appease — much less please — OU’s rabid fan base.
His two interceptions against Iowa State — both of which were good reads that were thrown just a little off target — overshadowed his four touchdowns and more than 400 yards in a game the Sooners won on the road by 15 points.
But such is the nature of Landry Jones.
Last month, I wrote a column examining Jones’ career in terms of his performances against Texas, noting his success in a trio of big games against the Longhorns and acknowledging his standing among OU fans in the process.
And I stand by what I wrote there: No matter how well Jones plays, he always will be remembered for the times he didn’t play well enough.
Part of that is because he had the unenviable task of succeeding Sam Bradford as the Sooners’ signal-caller, and part of that is because he’s shown glimpses of brilliance that have made his moments of mediocrity all the more disappointing.
Statistically, he is the most decorated OU quarterback ever, but he had the misfortune of playing at a program where success is measured in national championships and nothing else.
He will be judged as unfairly as any OU player ever, and certainly more unfairly than any player of the Stoops era — save maybe Nate Hybl, who played under a similar shadow when he followed Josh Heupel.
People either forget or choose to discount the fact Jones is the winningest quarterback in OU history and the record holder of virtually every passing statistic kept at OU.
At season’s end, he likely will surpass Graham Harrell for third place all-time in career passing yards and become the Big 12’s all-time leader in that category. But in the eyes of the Sooner faithful, he’ll never quite be good enough.
Dillon Phillips is a journalism junior and assistant sports editor for The Daily. Follow him on Twitter at @DillonPhillips_.