AMES, Iowa — Oklahoma coaches were about ready to let the clock run out on a frustrating first half Saturday inside Jack Trice Stadium.
With 1:04 before halftime, the Sooners — despite a solid overall offensive effort — had scored just once, and clung to a 1-point lead after back-to-back Landry Jones interceptions gave way to back-to-back Iowa State field goals.
“When you're backed up, you don't want to get a ball tipped or something to happen,” said OU coach Bob Stoops.
“But we always say that if we a get first down, we're going fast. ... We got in a hurry-up mode and found some big plays.”
Indeed his Sooners did.
Brennan Clay rushed for 9 yards and a first down before running out of bounds, stopping the clock; Jones hit Justin Brown for a 40-yard gain, then Kenny Stills for a 21-yard touchdown just seconds before the break.
Twelfth-ranked Oklahoma (6-2, 4-1 Big 12) carried that momentum to a 35-20 win.
“I don't think we went into it thinking we were after a touchdown,” Stills said of the late first-half drive. “But that's the way it turned out for us.”
Jones completed 32 of 45 passes Saturday with 405 yards and four touchdowns — both season highs. It was the four-year starter's 10th career game with more than 400 yards passing.
But then there were the back-to-back picks.
With about five minutes left in the first half and OU holding a 7-0 advantage, Jones tossed a deep ball intended for Jalen Saunders near the Sooner sideline.
Cyclones safety Durrell Givens came from seemingly nowhere to pick the pass off, running it back 47 yards to the Sooners' 17.
“We tried to hit them on an out-and-up, and the safety just came over and made a really good play,” said co-offensive coordinator Jay Norvell.
Two plays into Oklahoma's next series, Jones' pass was tipped and again found its way into Givens' arms.
For Jones, it was his third-career game that included interceptions on consecutive possessions; his first two — against Texas, and at Nebraska — were in 2009, his redshirt-freshman season.