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OU quarterback Landry Jones going out with a fizzle?

by Jenni Carlson Published: December 31, 2011

Landry Jones had a tough night at the office.

First, an Iowa defender attempted to take off his head. Then, his passes kept sailing a bit high and his receivers kept coming up gimpy. And finally, his backup was named the Insight Bowl's offensive most valuable player.

All was not bad, of course. The Sooners did beat the Hawkeyes 31-14.

But if this was Jones' last game in the crimson and cream, it wasn't exactly a great night.

Truth be told, it was the kind of night that has some Sooner fans hoping that Jones leaves school early for the NFL. Yes, there are segments of the Sooner Nation who prefer he go ahead and leave. Let Blake Bell or Drew Allen or whomever take over. Move on to the next guy.

Everyone's entitled to their opinions, but don't kid yourselves. The Sooners won't be nearly as good next season without Jones as it will be with him.

Listen, I'll be the first to say that I'm not entirely sure I understand what all of these NFL draftniks see in Jones. Most believe he is among the five best quarterbacks eligible for this year's draft. I'm not sure I'd put him in that upper echelon.

If Jones was that good, would the Sooners put in Bell every time they got into a short-yardage situation?

There's no doubt what the reserve quarterback has done out of the Belldozer has made life after Jones seem bearable, if not desirable. Seems like every time Bell touches the ball, good things happen.

He had 10 carries Friday night, gaining 51 yards and scoring three touchdowns.

Pretty salty.

Jones had a nice night, too — 16-of-25 for 161 yards, one touchdown and one interception — but it wasn't the monster night that seemed possible against the so-so Hawkeyes.

But if Jones comes back for his senior season, he'll likely be the best quarterback in college football. And he'll have a commodity that is invaluable — experience.

The Insight Bowl marked Jones' 37th career start, tying him with Cale Gundy for the most starts for a quarterback in OU history. Roll that one around in your head a minute — no other quarterback in Sooner history has ever started more games than Jones. Not Sam Bradford. Not Steve Davis. Not Jack Mildren.

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by Jenni Carlson
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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