ARLINGTON, Texas — As he released the last pass of his college career, a 230-pound Texas A&M defender slammed Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones to the field.
Crumpled near the 17-yard line, Jones faced the end zone and, for a few seconds, laid there. Then like every game in his 50-start career, he got up and walked off the field.
Oklahoma's winningest quarterback ended his career the way he started it — with a loss at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The first loss was 14-13 to BYU back in 2009 when Jones walked on the field as a backup because the starting quarterback had to walk-off it too soon.
The last loss was a 41-13 defeat at the hands of Johnny Manziel and the Aggies on Friday at the 77th Cotton Bowl game.
Jones completed 35 of 48 pass attempts for 278 yards. He also threw one interception and one touchdown.
“I'm not identified by my wins or losses,” Jones said with a straight face as reporters hounded him with questions about his last game. “I'm defined by Christ.”
In his final game, Jones threw to only four receivers and handed off on the last four plays of the game.
“He's just been an incredibly positive influence on the football team in every way,” Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said. “Great worker. Close with everybody. We'll miss him and he's been a great, great player.
“He threw a lot of great balls out there tonight. We've got some young guys we just got to move forward with, but Landry did all he could in the way he worked for this program.”
In a separate room from where Texas A&M, donned in their bowl championship hats, sat at tables with microphones, Jones sat in a chair with recorders, microphones and camera lenses tightly surrounding him as he calmly talked about a freshman phenom who had destroyed his last chance of glory. On his right shoulder, in smudged permanent marker, was the phrase Psalm 34:20.
‘God protects the bones of the righteous; not one of them is broken.'
It's a biblical quote that Jones usually wears on his shoes. For his last game though, he decided to wear it on his right shoulder.
His 50th career start, after all, was the 50th consecutive one of his career. Jones said earlier this season that he never even missed a high school football game
If a reporter asked him why he stayed so healthy, sometimes he'd knock on wood. Other times he'd shrug. But he always followed up his actions with words that he was able to play because of his beliefs, his faith.
So he walked off the game as the loser instead of the winner. He looks it at exactly like he looks at the sack: “It's part of the game.”
The best part for Jones was that he walked off still able to play, able to prepare for a possible career in the NFL — where he said he'll continue to work on his movement outside the pocket.
He was just pleased that for another game his bones were protected.
“It worked tonight,” Jones said. “I came out healthy again.
“I got to play four years without any injuries. That's part of him protecting me out there on the field.”