Thursday, September 22, 2011
Updated: September 23, 11:06 AM ET
Jones making plays in fourth quarter
By Jake Trotter
NORMAN, Okla. -- Landry Jones still hasn't forgotten the stat line.
No completions and one interception in seven attempts in the fourth quarter last season at Missouri.
"I'm aware of it," the Oklahoma quarterback said. "Something like that you always remember."
It's getting harder and harder for anyone else to remember Jones' poor performance as OU prepares to face Missouri again this weekend.
Last weekend, Jones delivered his latest fourth-quarter jewel, quarterbacking the No. 1 Sooners on a game-winning touchdown drive to beat then fifth-ranked Florida State in Tallahassee.
"We knew we needed that drive," said receiver Ryan Broyles. "He got it done."
Jones, whose fourth-quarter mettle once was questioned, has been getting it done in the fourth quarter for a while now.
"He has become a guy that has become really comfortable in those moments," coach Bob Stoops said. "He is a bright guy, but his poise and confidence right now is on another level."
Jones had some rough fourth quarters as a freshman, when he was tossed into the fire after Sam Bradford suffered an eventual season-ending shoulder injury. Despite solid efforts from the defense, the Oklahoma offense couldn't make enough late-game plays in losses to Brigham Young, Miami, Texas and Nebraska.
The same was true in Columbia last season. Despite giving up a touchdown on the opening kickoff, the Sooners led 21-20 going into the fourth quarter. But Jones failed to complete a pass, and Missouri rallied for a convincing 36-27 win.
"He hadn't been in many tight ball games on the road," said center Ben Habern. "He had to figure out what it takes to win those types of games. He figured it out toward the end of the season."
Did he ever.
After an up-and-down performance at Oklahoma State, Jones took over late in the fourth quarter with two touchdown passes in the game's final three minutes to propel the Sooners to a 47-41 win.
The following week, he made a couple of key throws to lead the Sooners on a game-winning field goal drive in the fourth quarter to win the Big 12 championship against Nebraska.
"You draw from your experiences and know you can get it done," Jones said.
Jones got it done again last weekend.
After the Seminoles scored a touchdown on third-and-28 in the fourth quarter to tie the game and wake up the FSU crowd, the pressure was back on the Sooners.
But facing third-and-12, Jones stepped into pressure and delivered a strike to Broyles for a first down. The following play, he lofted a 37-yard touchdown pass to Kenny Stills.
"You could just see it on the sidelines," Habern said of Jones' demeanor before that drive. "He just had a sense of calmness about it."
Jones didn't play his best game. He was intercepted twice and was held to less than 200 yards passing.
But once again, when it mattered most, he was at his best.
"It's like the famous game with Joe Montana and Dwight Clark," said co-offensive coordinator Jay Norvell, referring to the NFC Championship game in 1982. "People don't realize it, but Montana threw [three] interceptions that game. But it didn't matter. The last play was the most important one.
"That's what great quarterbacks do. They make plays when the game is on the line."
|Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones is getting the job done in the fourth quarter.|
Jake Trotter covers University of Oklahoma football for SoonerNation.
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