Landry Jones leads Sooners to game-winning drive for the first time
MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- On fourth down in the final seconds on Saturday, Landry Jones gave wideout Kenny Stills a quick glance. Then with the West Virginia crowd screaming and the pressure mounting, Oklahoma's senior quarterback changed the play.
"And the ball's in your hands."
Thanks goodness for the Sooners, it was.
After calling the audible, Jones slung a pass right into Stills' chest for the game-winning score, lifting the Sooners to a dramatic 50-49 victory Saturday in their maiden voyage to Morgantown.
"That was all him," Stills said. "He changed the play.
"People continue to doubt him. He just continues to add to on to his legacy."
On a night when the Oklahoma defense couldn't tackle anyone -- especially Tavon Austin -- Jones came through with the most clutch performance of his career.
He broke his own school record with 554 passing yards and six touchdowns, completing 38 of 51 passes. But Jones' final throw was the difference.
After Stedman Bailey hauled in his third touchdown reception of the fourth quarter, the Mountaineers held a 49-44 lead with under three minutes to play.
Jones came right back with a 36-yard strike to Justin Brown into West Virginia territory. But after a couple of poor runs, the Sooners faced fourth-and-3 at the 5. Out of the timeout, offensive coordinator Josh Heupel called for a fade route to Stills in the corner. But when he got to the line of scrimmage, Jones opted for something better.
"The corner was a little soft -- I thought (Stills) could beat him across his face," Jones said. "I signaled for the slant. The window was there, and I put it on him."
Jones has set seemingly every school record and moved to sixth in FBS history in career touchdown passes. But in 47 career starts, this was Jones' first come-from-behind, game-winning touchdown drive.
"That fourth-down play embodies everything about him," Heupel said. "For Landry to do what he does on the fourth down, with everything on the line, to check in the one-on-one on the backside, it just speaks to what kind of competitor he is.
"It wasn't an option, like I want you to check it, it was him seeing the leverage and checking it. It's as good a play and it's my proudest moment as a coach. Not just because of the type of situation but a guy preparing it, understanding it, trusting it and then making the plays. As good as I've seen."
The Oklahoma defense was equally as bad all game, but particularly in the fourth quarter.
Anticipating the Sooners would use seven defensive backs for the second straight game, West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen moved Austin from receiver to running back. The wrinkle resulted in Austin gashing the Sooners for 344 rushing yards, as he shattered the Big 12 record for all-purpose yards in a game.
"It really hurt us," said Bob Stoops, whose defense surrendered 778 yards total, the most an Oklahoma defense has ever allowed. "Obviously, we weren't ready for it."
But every time the Mountaineers scored, Jones answered with a touchdown drive, including two in the game's final seven minutes.
"We put the ball in Landry's hands and he made play after play," Heupel said. "The skill guys did a great job being competitive and making plays on the outside and then just down the stretch, it's as good a performance as I've been a part of and I've been here for a long time."
With that performance, Oklahoma remains alive in its quest for a BCS bowl berth. And with Baylor knocking off top-ranked Kansas State, the Sooners still have an outside shot at the Big 12 title.
Neither of which would be possible without their quarterback's gutsy audible and cool throw.
"This game ranks up there, for sure," Jones said. "One you always remember."
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