NORMAN — With no turnovers, few off-the-mark throws and a whole lot of positives, Landry Jones played what was easily the most complete game of his senior season Saturday in a 52-7 rout of hapless Kansas.
The much-maligned Oklahoma quarterback even got to watch the final 15 minutes from the sideline after he spent three quarters abusing the Jayhawks in the final tune-up for No. 5 Notre Dame's visit to Norman next Saturday.
“I don't think it's the biggest game of my career,” Jones said. “It's not a championship game or anything like that.
“But it's a huge game for this program. ... We're excited for this one. This one's been, not necessarily marked on our calendar, but we've all been looking forward to it for sure.”
Sooners' coaches put the Kansas game in Jones' hands early. Of OU's first 10 offensive plays, nine were passes. In the first quarter, the Sooners called just two runs.
“We chose not to run in quite as much because we had opportunities to throw it,” said coach Bob Stoops. “They're pretty difficult the way they line it up to run it on. We still found our spots to do so. Landry was fantastic.”
On OU's first drive Saturday, Jones had fullback Trey Millard wide open in the middle of the field, but Millard dropped what would've been a sure touchdown pass forcing OU to settle for a field goal.
The Sooners' next drive started at their own 13-yard line, but Jones hit Kenny Stills for 5 yards, Jalen Saunders for 28 and Stills again for 10.
Jones then faked a handoff, settled into the pocket and dropped the ball into the perfect spot — “six inches beyond (the defender's) reach, right into Kenny's chest,” Stoops said — and Stills hauled in a 44-yard touchdown.
“Landry's capable of so much, and I feel like sometimes when people get on him, they forget about that,” Stills said. “He's been doing a great job managing the game and not turning the ball over, and we're proud of him.”
Asked if it was the best downfield throw he's made, Jones smiled and said, “One of them. That's for sure.”
Jones' 19-of-28 passing performance for 291 yards was a stark contrast to his last game on Owen Field, when his two turnovers were critical in a 24-19 loss to Kansas State.
In three games since, Jones has one turnover — an interception Texas returned for a touchdown last week with a 66-21 OU victory already well in hand. During that stretch, Jones has thrown 871 and seven touchdowns.
Much of Jones' recent success can be attributed to how comfortable Jones he's become with his receivers. That unit got a big boost when Saunders, a transfer from Fresno State, was declared eligible days before last week's Texas game. On Saturday, Saunders started in the slot, which allowed Stills to play outside, where he's the most comfortable.
Stills was OU's leading receiver Saturday, with six catches, 90 yards and a touchdown.
“We have so much power,” said freshman slot Sterling Shepard, one of eight Sooners with a catch against KU. “Especially in the wide receiver group. We have so many guys that can make plays, and it's definitely a great thing that we can have Kenny outside and put Jalen inside.”