Texas success: Jones could win third over Longhorns
BY ERIC BAILEY World Sports Writer
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
10/10/12 at 3:21 AM
NORMAN - Quarterback Landry Jones will make his last walk down the Cotton Bowl ramp on Saturday.
The senior has an opportunity to join an exclusive club of Oklahoma quarterbacks (Jamelle Holieway, Steve Davis, Jimmy Harris) who went 3-0 as a starter against Texas.
Holieway said he would love to make room for Jones while hoping the quarterback soaks in every moment of his last OU-Texas game.
"My last one was my favorite one," said Holieway, who started against Texas between 1986-88. "It was the best because I knew I couldn't walk down that ramp anymore. That's also a pretty good percentage when you go 3-0 against Texas."
Davis agreed, saying the game has such legendary status that an unbeaten mark can carry weight.
"It's pretty special when you look back and be one of the very few that can say 'I never lost to Texas,' " he said.
"I'm proud of that accomplishment, and I'm proud of it because of the teams we played on."
Jones guided the Sooners to victories as a starter in 2010 (28-20) and 2011 (55-17). He came off the bench in 2009 to relieve injured starter Sam Bradford in a 16-13 defeat.
Another Texas win could help Jones' popularity, which has fluctuated this season among the fan base.
Jones arguably has been OU's most scrutinized quarterback during the Bob Stoops era.
On Saturday, Jones could become the Sooners' all-time winningest quarterback with his 33rd victory. He is tied with Davis, who is perplexed at the negativity against Jones.
Last week, Davis mailed Jones a letter. He'd only met Jones in person once before, but felt the current quarterback needed encouragement.
"I connect with those guys that are struggling in that type of situation," said Davis, who sent a similar letter to Nate Hybl about 10 years ago. "I tell them my story. You may be getting a little bit of heat ... but it's been that way forever."
Davis was 32-1-1 as the Sooners' quarterback between 1973-75. He led OU to two national titles.
It was an amazing run, but the one loss has always stuck with Davis.
The Sallisaw native had won 28 straight games without a defeat when OU was upset 23-3 by visiting Kansas in 1975.
In those days, the Oklahoma offense would wait on the field for Davis to come call a play in the huddle. When it became apparent that the Sooners would lose that afternoon, each time Davis raced onto the field by himself, he was serenaded with boos.
"I think I shook my fist at them," Davis said before adding, "from that point on, I think our team, we rallied around each other and pulled for each other. It was a defining moment."
OU went on to beat Missouri, Nebraska and Michigan to win the school's fifth national title.
"We silenced the boos," said Davis, 59. "And I shared that story with Landry."
Jones said this week that the two-page letter from Davis was an encouragement.
It was "great to hear from a guy who's been in my shoes, a guy who's played a lot of football at this place. He knows how it is," Jones said.
And the nature of the letter?
"He just really wanted to encourage me," Jones said. "Just keep going. Just keep leading those guys and keep fighting, regardless of what happens in the next game or the last game, your focus is on this game and always to lead those guys."
Jones took time out to call Davis on the eve of last Saturday's Texas Tech game.
"He couldn't have been more gracious, appreciative and kind with me having reached out to him," Davis said. "I told him the reason I did that. I've been there and know what he's feeling ... we chatted about a lot of different things.
"I told him to not forget who he is. Sometimes you lose your way when you're not playing well, but I guarantee you that Landry is 10 million more times concerned about playing well than those around him."
Jones and Davis are now texting buddies. After the Texas Tech win, Davis sent him a message.
"Always remember your job as a quarterback is to lead and win. You may not be able to win every game because that doesn't always happen. But you must lead every game."
With plenty riding on Saturday's game against Texas, Davis reminded Jones to have fun. He asked the quarterback to act like he's playing in a New Mexico high school game between Jones' alma mater Artesia and rival Carlsbad.
Then he had one final message for Saturday.
"I sent him a text this week, telling him to have a great week of practice and enjoy that last walk down the ramp," Davis said.
"That's a special feeling, walking down that ramp."
Quarterbacks who went 3-0 vs. Texas
Oklahoma has had three starting quarterbacks who recorded 3-0 records against Texas. The trio also guided the Sooners to national championships during their careers.
OU's Landry Jones is looking to become the fourth quarterback to go perfect in three starts against the Longhorns. He didn't start a 2009 loss to the Longhorns. A look at the three and their results against Texas:
Jimmy Harris ('54-'56)
Harris, who died at age 76 last year, ran the Split-T offense under Bud Wilkinson. The Terrell, Texas, native won 25 games during the Sooners' 47-game winning streak. OU never lost a game with Harris at quarterback.
‘54: 14-7 • ‘55: 20-0 • ‘56: 45-0
Steve Davis ('73-'75)
Davis was 32-2-1 as a starting QB for OU. He was named the offensive Most Valuable Player of the 1976 Orange Bowl after the Sooners defeated Michigan 14-6 in his final game. Davis, born in Sallisaw, led OU to two national titles.
‘73: 52-13 • ‘74: 16-13 • ‘75: 24-17
Tulsa World file
Jamelle Holieway ('85-'88)
Holieway was a wizard with OU's wishbone attack. Inserted after Troy Aikman suffered an injury, Holieway led the Sooners to the 1985 national championship. An injury in his senior season hindered his victory total.
‘86: 47-12 • ‘87: 44-9 • ‘88: 28-13
OU starting quarterbacks with the most wins
|1. Steve Davis||32||'73-'75|
|1. Landry Jones||32||'09-present|
|3. Jamelle Holieway||31||'85-'88|
|4. Jason White||27||'01-'04|
|5. Jimmy Harris||*25||'54-'56|
*OU didn't lose a game with Harris as a starting quarterback
RED RIVER RIVALRY: OU (3-1, 1-1) VS. TEXAS (4-1, 1-1)
11 a.m. Saturday
Cotton Bowl, Dallas
Radio: KMOD fm97.5, KTBZ am1430
Original Print Headline: Texas success
Eric Bailey 918-581-8391
OU quarterback Landry Jones looks to hand off last season against Texas. With a win Saturday, Jones would join an elite group of Sooner signal-callers to go 3-0 against the Longhorns. MIKE SIMONS / Tulsa World file