John Klein: Sooners gain confidence entering Texas game
BY JOHN KLEIN Senior Sports Columnist
Sunday, October 07, 2012
10/07/12 at 6:13 AM
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Original Print Headline: Sooners gain confidence from victory
LUBBOCK, Texas - Oklahoma needed a game like this.
The Sooners needed to remember what it was like to win easy. They needed an ego boost.
What they needed was Texas Tech.
"Fortunately, we played really well in a lot of areas," said OU coach Bob Stoops.
Landry Jones, who has struggled in a handful of games dating back to last season, returned to form with a big day in a 41-20 victory over Tech on Saturday at Jones AT&T Stadium.
"I thought we played a good game," said Jones. "I thought we played the way we're capable."
It could be argued it was Oklahoma's best game since a runaway victory over Kansas State in the eighth game of last season.
It is not too simple to say when Jones plays well, the Sooners are pretty good. When he doesn't play well, OU can be pretty average.
He's had some games like he played against the Red Raiders. He's had some that weren't so wonderful.
"It all came together," said Stoops.
Jones was certainly on against the Red Raiders.
He hit 25-of-40 passes for 259 yards and two touchdowns. He scrambled out of trouble a few times, was not sacked and did not throw an interception.
"Landry is a great quarterback," said Stoops. "He's going to go down as one of the best we've ever had OU and that's saying a lot."
This was a huge game for the Sooners, not because Texas Tech is a threat to win the league, but because OU needed to win a game.
The Sooners were coming off a home loss to Kansas State and had two weeks to listen to all sorts of criticism. They desperately needed a boost heading into the upcoming Texas game.
"It was a must-win," said OU defensive back Aaron Colvin.
The Jones that played Saturday is the quarterback folks hoped.
"He was really sharp," said Stoops. "He went through his reads and threw the ball great."
The Sooners weren't great on defense in the first half but they were good enough.
They were good enough because Jones was terrific.
"The guy was great," said Stoops. "I thought he played the game in an excellent way."
It couldn't come at a better time. Oklahoma goes to Dallas this week to play Texas.
"Just the confidence going into Texas," said Jones. "When you get a win like this you get some momentum going."
The Sooners will enter the Texas game with a new-found confidence, something they seemed to lose late last season.
All of the problems may not be solved. Jones will have to continue to play at a high level or the offense will disappear.
And, until the game got out of hand, Oklahoma had trouble stopping Tech. But once Jones staked OU to a comfortable lead, the Sooners rolled.
"It was just us going out there and executing the way we know we're capable of doing," said Jones.
Jones, who has become a lightning-rod for criticism, was fantastic from the start. He made a series of plays that pushed the Sooners to the easy victory.
"We do not listen to what is going on around you," said Jones.
Jones has probably played better at times over his four years as OU's starting quarterback. However, since Ryan Broyles was injured in the ninth game of last season, Jones has struggled to return to form.
That was not the case against the Red Raiders.
"It was just good for us," said Jones. "We played up near to where we're capable of on offense and defense."
Jones was sharp from the start. Oklahoma scored on five of its first six possessions. Jones was 16-of-25 for 175 yards and two touchdowns in the first half.
He put the game out of reach early in the third. A 38-yard pass to Damien Williams early in the second half was a fabulous play, made possible by a scramble and then perfect pass. That completion led to another TD and a 31-13 lead. Just moments later, an interception sealed the deal for OU.
"We're not that bad of a football team," said Texas Tech coach Tommy Tuberville. "We looked pretty bad at times, but good teams can make you look bad."
The Sooners looked the part of good team against the Raiders. Jones played well which put the Sooners on the fast track.
Then, OU was able to get turnovers (three interceptions) and make stops. Tech got just 126 yards in the second half.
Stoops said Oklahoma had a productive two weeks leading up to the Tech game.
"I was not surprised we played well," said Stoops.
Landry Jones passed for 259 yards and a pair of touchdowns Saturday. STEPHEN PINGRY / Tulsa World