Dallas Colleges: Matt O'Hanlon
December, 1, 2010
By David Ubben | ESPNDallas.com
Nebraska's secondary won't see the same Landry Jones on Saturday, but Jones won't see the same Nebraska secondary, either.
"Last year when we played him, he was a young quarterback just learning the system and everything," defensive back DeJon Gomes said. "One of the biggest things we took away from that game is he’s a competitor and he’s going to do the best he can to get his team into a situation to win."
And one more thing.
"He also likes throwing the ball. That’s good for our secondary," Gomes said.
Eric Francis/Getty ImagesPrince Amukamara and the Nebraska secondary have had success against Oklahoma in the past.
No kidding. Jones has racked up 527 pass attempts in 2010, in part because of Oklahoma's hurry-up offense and in part to find more success as a sophomore passer.
No quarterback in the Big 12 has more than 500, and Dominique Davis at Eastern Carolina is the only quarterback in America with more attempts than Oklahoma's Jones.
The Blackshirts picked off Jones five times in Lincoln in 2009 -- including three by departed safety Matt O'Hanlon -- though Huskers coach Bo Pelini tossed a wet blanket on talk of that game having any relevance over a year later.
"It's a different time, different place, different offense, new challenges," Pelini said. "The furthest thing from my mind is what happened in that game last year."
What does matter is what's happened this year. Nebraska has put together the No. 2 pass defense in the country, allowing just 144 yards a game. Jones averages almost 330 a game, good for No. 3 nationally.
"It’s going to be an exciting game, especially with them having one of the top offenses in the country and us priding ourself on defense," Gomes said. "It’ll be a fun one to watch."
If history repeats itself, it'll be a lot more fun for Huskers fans than Oklahoma fans when it comes to passing the ball. On the way to that No. 2 ranking, the Nebraska secondary has ruined the days of a handful of good quarterbacks. A sampling:
- Nathan Enderle, Idaho: 16-31, 141 yards, TD, 5 INT
- Jake Locker, Washington: 4-20, 71 yards, TD, 2 INT (stress: not a typo)
- Carson Coffman, Kansas State: 14-22, 91 yards, TD, INT
- Garrett Gilbert, Texas: 4-16, 62 yards
- Blaine Gabbert, Missouri: 18-42, 199 yards, TD, INT
- Quinn Mecham, Kansas: 3-13, 15 yards, INT
- Cody Hawkins, Colorado: 10-26, 162 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT
Only Iowa State's Austen Arnaud, Oklahoma State's Brandon Weeden and Ryan Tannehill at Texas A&M managed decent days against the secondary. Part of Weeden's success was in finding receiver Justin Blackmon, one of the nation's best, for 135 of his 283 yards and both touchdowns. Only Tannehill got a victory with his success, however moderate (19-29, 172 yards).
Jones has another of the nation's best receivers, Ryan Broyles, to throw to, but even Broyles could only manage eight catches for 74 yards in 2009, one of his lowest outputs of the season while healthy.
"They have a trigger man who can get the ball to everybody," Pelini said of Jones. "They stretch the field on you. It's a good challenge for us."
It could be an even bigger challenge for Jones.