Monday, November 26, 2012
Player of the Week: Big 12
By David Ubben
Landry Jones has seen highs a lot of other players across the Big 12 haven't and never will. A Big 12 title? The Sooners could get their second with Jones at quarterback if he carries Oklahoma to a win on Saturday at TCU. Because of what he's shown, he's graded harder than many, if not all of his peers across the league.
He's held to a higher standard, and it's led to a lot of criticism for the possible future first-round NFL draft pick.
Could you have scripted a better finale for the last time he'll play in front of his home crowd at Owen Field?
"No better way," Jones told reporters on Saturday. "No better way to go out."
He'll go out as my Big 12 Player of the Week, but he crossed the threshold of something even bigger during his record-breaking night against the rival Oklahoma State Cowboys, who helped craft one of the worst nights of Jones' career in Bedlam a year ago.
He surpassed Heisman finalist Graham Harrell as the Big 12's all-time leading passer with two games left to play in his career, sitting at 16,124 career passing yards. The four-year starter has grown up a lot on and off the field since his freshman season. When he trotted onto the field back in 2009, everybody wanted to know who this kid from New Mexico with the goofy mustache (For the record, it never was a mustache. It was a goatee, but his chin hair was covered by his helmet's chin strap. But I digress ...) was, and if he was any good. Now, he's become one of the household names in college football, even if the knee-jerk reaction to his name is often negative, and is so far too often.
Jones has his faults, and they were on display during his 500-yard performance against Oklahoma State. Among his 71 attempts and 46 completions on Saturday (both career highs), he threw an ugly interception under pressure.
Still, he's always been a lot more good than bad, and barring 949 passing yards in his final two games (not impossible, but highly unlikely), he'll finish his career at No. 3 on the NCAA all-time passing yards list, behind only Timmy Chang and Case Keenum.
Saturday night, he kept Oklahoma in a difficult game that it never led until the final snap of the game. The Sooners fell behind 14-0 early and were behind 38-27 late in the third quarter. Jones kept fighting, and took care of the ball when it mattered most, despite getting banged up earlier in the game and missing a play, too.
He'll go down as one of the best players in the history of the Big 12, and there's no doubt he was the best player in the Big 12 last week.