DALLAS — Landry Jones walked triumphant across the Cotton Bowl turf, his hand raised in thanks to the celebrating crimson-and-cream throng.
Then, he flashed the down horns.
Flashed a big grin, too.
The Sooner quarterback deserved to bask in the glow of Red River revelry. On an afternoon defined by Texas missteps, this was an outcome determined by Jones and the Oklahoma offense. They took advantage of opportunities. They made the most of chances.
OU 28, Texas 20.
"It just feels good to get out of here with a win," Jones said. "Proud of the team. Proud of the way we played."
He should be proud of the way he played, too.
Jones was 24 of 39 for 236 yards, but more importantly, he had two touchdowns and no interceptions. He didn't make bad decisions. He didn't commit costly errors.
His completion percentage and his passing yards weren't that much different than a year ago when he was called into duty after Sam Bradford re-injured his shoulder. Jones was 24 of 43 for 250 yards that day, but he threw a pair of interceptions. The second one killed any hope of a Sooner comeback.
Saturday, there were no such missteps.
"He was real solid," Sooner receiver Dejuan Miller said. "He showed a lot of poise, really didn't seem to get rattled. When the protection broke down, he didn't break down."
Jones was at his best early in the game when the Sooners went with their up-tempo offense.
Actually, saying it was up tempo doesn't do it justice. The Sooners played at a pace not seen since Bradford's Heisman Trophy season.
"We got after it today," Sooner tackle Eric Mensik said. "I guess it being Texas ... kind of pushed us into fast forward."
OU opened the game with an 83-yard, 13-play touchdown drive took only 4 minutes, 14 seconds.
After a Longhorn punt, the Sooners scored again on a 75-yard, 11-play drive in 3 minutes, 19 seconds.
There were times on both of those drives when the Longhorns simply weren't ready when the ball was snapped. Defenders were looking to the sideline or getting into position.
"They caught us on a few things, caught us on a few third downs," Texas coach Mack Brown said. "Felt like it gassed us a little bit."
Defensive end Sam Acho said, "They got us early with a couple of the tempo plays. Once we got lined up, we stopped them."
But the damage had already been done.
The Sooners quickly built a 14-0 lead, and even though the game was all but equal from that point on, the Longhorns were in a hole that they couldn't completely escape.
Credit the up-tempo offense for that.
And credit Jones for that tempo.
"He's all of it," Sooner receiver Kenny Stills said. "He's got to make sure all of us are set. For him to be able to think and read the defenses ... it's big for us."
Jones isn't the unsure reserve that he was when the Sooners last strolled the midway. His decisions are better. So are his throws.
Now, Jones isn't perfect.
He wasn't Saturday. He had a late fourth-quarter fumble that nearly derailed the Sooners.
Coming out a timeout, Jones got the play on the sideline, but he was confused about the signal.
"When I took the snap, I went the wrong way," he said. "From the beginning, it was messed up."
Jones rolled out to his right, trying to get back into the play. Instead, Longhorn linebacker Emmanuel Acho chased him, nailed him and stripped the ball.
As Jones lay on the ground watching the ball and the game wobble away, he swatted at the pigskin. He didn't get much of it, but he got enough.
It trickled out of bounds just as a Texas defender pounced.
"He gave everybody here and back in Norman a heart attack," Miller said.
Jones said, "It was pretty lucky on our part to get it out of bounds."
Lucky, yes, but savvy, too. Poking at the ball was a heady play. A veteran play.
Jones may never join the esteemed company of Bradford and White and Mildren and other great OU quarterbacks who've come before him. But he continues to improve. He hasn't topped out just yet.
Saturday was evidence of that.
"He just keeps settling in," Mensik said.
Jones looked content after the game as he walked up the storied ramp at Cotton Bowl. Content with where he has led this team. Content with where he may yet take it.