NORMAN — After all the preseason panic about a handful of various position groups, who could've fathomed that Oklahoma's four-year starter and supposed bedrock would be its most culpable player in a lackluster three-game start to the season?
Saturday night, the Sooners' 2012 national-title hopes were dashed by Kansas State on Owen Field, and it wasn't because of an inexperienced offensive line. It wasn't because of a batch of young receivers, nor was it because of the much-maligned secondary that struggled so much in losses last season.
It was because of Landry Jones, the senior quarterback who made poor throws and poor decisions from OU's first offensive snap Saturday night and never improved.
On that first play, Jones was well-protected by his offensive line, but got happy feet, rolled unnecessarily to his left and tossed a pass across the middle behind Kenny Stills, who had to stop to make the catch.
After driving down the field, OU faced a first-and-goal play from Kansas State's 9-yard line. Jones had Brannon Green with nothing but the end zone in front of him, but missed the junior tight end badly by throwing behind him, negating a sure touchdown.
Jones completed five of eight pass attempts on that first series, but five of those attempts were thrown behind the intended target, and two more were overthrown. The only throw of the drive that seemed to go as planned? A no-gain screen to fullback Trey Millard.
It was on Oklahoma's third offensive series when Jones' happy feet and questionable decision-making caused the game's first touchdown — but for the other team.
On third-and-13, stuck deep in OU's own territory, Jones took a snap and — with good pocket protection — rolled to his right and into Kansas State's pressure. He retreated toward the end zone, where linebacker Justin Tuggle caught him from behind and forced a fumble.