NORMAN — Landry Jones walked through the Switzer Center after this wildest of Bedlams, this crazy game that had the state holding its breath and this rivalry recalibrating its status.
Landry seemed a little taller than his normal 6-foot-4. With good reason. Long Tall Landry delivered again.
The Sooners beat OSU, 51-48, in overtime Saturday night at Owen Field in a game they never led until it was over.
For the second time in eight days, Landry produced a game-saving, perhaps season-saving, drive. The ancient quarterback, questioned at times over his four Sooner seasons, beat West Virginia, 50-49, a week ago with a remarkable fourth quarter, and his play against the Cowboys was no less clutch.
And the praise for Landry flowed in this game that kept alive the Sooners' Big 12 title hopes.
A rock, OU offensive coordinator Josh Heupel called him.
A leader, said Sooner receiver Kenny Stills.
“He played as well as any quarterback I've ever coached against,” said OSU defensive coordinator Bill Young, whose career dates back to the 1960s.
Landry's numbers were again kooky good: 46 completions in 71 passes, both OU records, for 500 yards and three touchdowns.
“Incredible,” said Sooner flanker Jalen Saunders. “Something you do in a video game.”
Against West Virginia, Landry produced two go-ahead TD drives in the final seven minutes and threw for 554 yards.
“He's stood the test of time,” said OU defensive coordinator Mike Stoops. “The guy's thrown for over 1,000 yards the last two games.
“I've never had so much fun in my life. What a classic in a lot of ways. The last two weeks, he's really carried us on his back. It's been fun to watch.”
Of course, Mike Stoops wouldn't be having so much fun if Landry wasn't pulling Stoops' defense out of quicksand. Over the last three weeks, OU has allowed 128 points in regulation but has avoided defeat thanks to Landry's offense.
Third-team OSU quarterback Clint Chelf played a heady game and had the Cowboys in front the whole game. Tailback Joe Randle ran for four touchdowns, flanker Josh Stewart produced a couple of highlight-reel plays and the Cowboys came within a whisker of their second straight Bedlam victory in a game that matched the teams with the best (and identical) Big 12 records the last five years.
But Stoops' brother didn't seem to mind the drama.
“Whatever side isn't where you want it to be, as a head coach, I always want it to be better,” Bob Stoops said.
“You guys keep trying to trap me into being a defensive coordinator. I've been a head coach for 14 years. I'll win 51-48 as opposed to losing 7-6 every day.”
The former is much more likely as long as Landry is around. Which won't be much longer.
Landry has been around so long, he compared the post-game celebration with fans to the 2008 Texas Tech game. Yep, Landry was in uniform that night, as a redshirt freshman.
Landry was a Sam Bradford understudy in that memorable game. But now Landry has a comeback, make that two, that Slingin' Sammy never produced.
“This is the most special, for sure,” Landry said of all his OU games. “You always remember those tight games, always remember those games where you come from behind and get a victory.
“It's my last time to play in here, in this stadium in front of our fans, and it always feels good to go out that way.”
Landry took the field with 6:18 left and OU trailing 45-38. The way the drive progressed, this became the Sooners' last stand. Landry completed 10 of 13 passes for 77 yards, including a third-and-8 strike to Saunders for 10 yards.
When the drive stalled on fourth-and-1 at the OSU 4-yard line, with 10 seconds left, Blake Bell was summoned for his Belldozer and rammed in for the tying touchdown.
On this night, that wasn't even an indictment of Landry, he had so dominated the game.
And in overtime, after OU's defense finally grew fangs and forced a field goal, the OSU defense was so shell-shocked from Landry, a pass wasn't needed. Trey Millard bulled for seven yards, then Brennan Clay scampered 18 yards for the game-ending touchdown.
“It was crazy,” said OU cornerback Aaron Colvin. “Honestly, one of the most exciting games I've played in yet. It was a thriller. My heart was jumping the whole time.”
Same with everyone in the stadium, except a certain quarterback, who win or lose, praise or criticism, touchdown or interception, big lead or pressure mounting, stays calm.
And on this night, Landry Jones most certainly was walking tall.
Berry Tramel: Berry can be reached at (405) 760-8080 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can be heard Monday through Friday from 4:40-5:20 p.m. on The Sports Animal radio network, including FM-98.1. You can also view his personality page at newsok.com/berrytramel.