NORMAN — Landry Jones, the most prolific — and perhaps polarizing — quarterback in Oklahoma football history stepped to the podium Saturday night and joined the chorus of critics displeased with his play.
“I played terrible,” Jones said. “The majority of this game is in my hands. ... We were playing really dumb football, me especially.”
The four-year starter's two turnovers, bad decisions and errant throws Saturday led to two Kansas State touchdowns, and the No. 15 Wildcats stunned the No. 6 Sooners 24-19 on Owen Field.
The frequent criticism of Jones will undoubtedly grow louder with popular sophomore Blake Bell waiting in the wings as Jones' heir apparent for 2013.
Early in the second quarter, pinned deep in OU territory, Jones rolled out to the right and showcased his newly developed mobility when he probably shouldn't have.
Instead of finding an open receiver, Jones retreated into Kansas State linebacker Justin Tuggle, who came from behind to pop loose the ball. Jarell Childs recovered in the end zone for the Wildcats' first touchdown.
“He had plenty of time to throw the football,” said coach Bob Stoops, usually Jones' most vocal defender. “He got hit when he tried to do something with it.”
But Bell cost Oklahoma points Saturday, too. On the drive following Jones' fumble, Oklahoma advanced to Kansas State's 1-yard line and brought out the popular Belldozer package.
Bell dropped the snap and handed KSU the ball back.
The Sooners turned the ball over three times — the two fumbles and Jones' fourth-quarter interception to set-up Kansas State's go-ahead touchdown.
Near the end of the third quarter, Oklahoma had regained the lead and seemingly all the momentum after an 88-yard touchdown drive — its first lead since a 3-0, first-quarter advantage — and the Sooner defense had forced a three-and-out.
But on a second-and-4 play, Jones, looking for junior Kenny Stills over the middle, threw off his back foot and into K-State defender Ty Zimmerman's hands.
Seven plays later, Klein rushed for a 5-yard touchdown and a lead the Wildcats wouldn't relinquish.
“You can't turn the ball over,” Stoops said. “It's a mindset; it's a discipline. You can't win like that. It's a 14-point swing in a tight game with a really good team.”
The turnovers may have been sustainable if Oklahoma's defense had forced a few itself. But Kansas State didn't fumble, and Klein didn't throw an interception.
“Sometimes things happen like that,” receiver Sterling Shepard said of the turnovers. “You just have to play through them. But we definitely need to narrow the turnovers down.”
Shepard, a true freshman, led OU wideouts with seven catches for 108 yards and a touchdown.
Even though he was harsher on Jones in his postgame news conference than usual, Stoops still wasn't willing to pin the entire loss on his quarterback. He said the players around him didn't play well, either, repeating a line from Big 12 Media Days.
“I don't think it's fair to say, ‘Landry Jones,'” Stoops said. “The guys around him weren't consistent. Some of the plays that stick out to everybody weren't good.”
The loss is just the fourth at home Stoops has suffered in 13-plus seasons in Norman, and the first to a ranked team. The Sooners had been 14-0 under Stoops against ranked opponents before Saturday.
Oklahoma had a bye last week, and now has another one before traveling to face Texas Tech, which upset OU last year at home and hasn't lost in Lubbock to the Sooners since 2003.
Jones turned down the chance to be drafted into the NFL last April, and one of the reasons he has cited was the desire to compete for a national championship.
That seems unlikely after Saturday's loss, although not impossible, he said.
“Typically every year there's a one-loss team in the championship game,” Jones said. “It's still out in front of us.
“It'll definitely be tough if we lose another one.”