NORMAN — Landry Jones hasn't quarterbacked a season-ending defeat since 2005, when the Oklahoma senior was an Artesia High School sophomore.
Two New Mexico state titles, a redshirt season and three bowl victories later, Jones prepares for Jan. 4's Cotton Bowl Classic — the 50th and final start of his prolific college football career.
To win his sixth consecutive season finale as a starting quarterback, he'll have to beat Texas A&M inside Cowboys Stadium, the same venue in which Jones took the first snap of his Sooner football tenure.
A BYU linebacker leveled Sam Bradford just before halftime of OU's 2009 season opener, knocking the returning Heisman Trophy winner from the game with a sprained shoulder.
Jones played the entire second half, completing 6 of 12 passes for 51 yards in a 14-13 loss.
The day after Oklahoma's 2012-13 bowl destination was announced, Whitney Hand, Jones' wife, reminded him that his OU career will begin and end in the same stadium.
“She said how interesting it was to see how I've come full circle here,” Jones said.
Within the first few minutes of the third quarter against BYU, Jones completed a 13-yard pass to Brandon Caleb.
Thirty-eight months, 16,353 passing yards, 2,135 pass attempts and 1,352 completions later, Jones owns school records in all three — and conference records in the first two — statistical categories.
“He was genuinely excited to play and looking forward to it; that's what you love,” Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said of Jones' halftime demeanor in the BYU game.
“You have a chance when that guy has that genuine excitement and feeling that he's ready for this, or wants it.”
Jones remembered feeling nervous, but also prepared for the unexpected call to action.
“In my mind that day, I was prepared,” Jones said. “Looking back at it ... I probably wasn't as prepared as I am now, knowing what I know now.”
It wasn't long before Jones played in Cowboys Stadium again; the second time, the Sooners rallied from a 17-point deficit, beat Nebraska and claimed the Big 12 championship during Jones' sophomore season.
Jones' senior year got off to a rough start — his turnovers were largely responsible for a Sept. 22 home loss to Kansas State — but since then, he's been mostly terrific. His late-game drives helped Oklahoma prevail in back-to-back November shootouts against West Virginia and Oklahoma State.
If things go according to plan, the Cotton Bowl Classic won't be his final game in Arlington. Jones likely will be picked in April's NFL Draft — possibly in the first round — and possesses the physical gifts required for professional-football success.
“I don't get sentimental about any one guy,” Stoops said. “Landry is special. We love him for sure. ... It's time. Every guy has his time in college and it's time for him to move on.
“He'll do well at the next level.”