GLENDALE, Ariz. — Landry Jones isn't Sam Bradford.
And probably never will be.
But Saturday night in the Fiesta Bowl, Oklahoma's sophomore quarterback capped a remarkable year with another dazzling performance.
Throwing for an OU bowl record 429 yards, Jones led the Sooners to a 48-20 win over Connecticut and came three yards away from breaking the Sooner season passing record Bradford set as sophomore.
Jones remained undefeated in bowl games, and moved to 19-5 as OU's starting quarterback. And with a host of talent back to surround him, Jones and the Sooners could be in for something special in 2011.
“Landry has a huge future,” coach Bob Stoops said. “He had a huge year this year.
“He's a long way form a finished product, and he's already a special quarterback.”
Jones, who completed 34 of 49 passes for three touchdowns, again was special inside University of Phoenix Stadium.
He completed his first 12 passes to start the game, propelling the Sooners to an early 14-0 lead that placed the Huskies on their heels from the beginning.
“I was so focused on the game, I didn't even notice that,” Jones said of his completion streak. “But getting off to a good start gets your confidence rolling.”
Jones suffered one major glitch, making a throw off his back foot that UConn's Dwayne Gratz picked off 46 yards for a touchdown.
Otherwise, Jones was spectacular, as he has been the last third of the season.
“As a quarterback, you're going to throw interceptions,” Jones said. “In a football game, things happen.”
Like he did in the win at Oklahoma State, Jones didn't let the pick six bring him down. And every time the Huskies made the game interesting, Jones zapped their momentum.
Early in the third quarter UConn had climbed to within 20-10, and had the Sooners facing third-and-9 deep in their own territory.
As the Husky fans got on their feet, Jones sat them back down with a strike to Ryan Broyles for a 20-yard first down. Then on the following play, Jones lofted a picturesque pass to Cameron Kenney in stride for a 59-yard touchdown — the third-longest pass completion in OU bowl history.
"Landry just continues to get better and better," Kenney said. "He is having the confidence in us to make the plays whenever we need them on crucial downs."
Even though OU dominated most of the game, UConn still hung around into the fourth quarter thanks to Robbie Frey's 95-yard kickoff return touchdown.
With still plenty of time on the clock, the Huskies trailed only 34-20, and again OU stared at third down deep on its side of the field.
Unrattled after Kenney was tied up at the line of scrimmage, Jones waited for his wideout to make a move, then heaved another gorgeous pass down the sidelines for a 38-yard first down.
On the same drive, while back-pedaling with Gratz in his face, Jones stuck a pass to Trey Franks across the middle of the field for another third-down conversion.
Four plays later, Jones connected with Broyles in the corner of the end zone to put OU up three touchdowns, clinching the victory.
“Coming out winning a bowl game, especially a BCS bowl,” Jones said. “Just a great feeling.”
With Jones back to man the helm, the Sooners have to be feeling great about 2011, too.