Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones has come under fire this week after two turnovers in the Sooners’ 24-19 loss to Kansas State on Saturday. While Jones entered the season as a Heisman Trophy contender and driving force behind the Sooners' favorite status in Big 12 preseason polls, he didn’t play like an elite quarterback against the Wildcats.
Thanks to ESPN Stats & Information, SoonerNation was able to take a closer look at Jones' performance this season.
Jones' numbers against K-State are particularly interesting, because the Wildcats were the first test of the season for the fifth-year senior. Clearly he needs to handle defensive pressure better: Jones was 4 of 10 for 39 yards with one interception and one fumble when under duress, including five off-target passes resulting in incompletions. Without duress, he was 24 of 33 for 259 yards and one touchdown.
While OU’s pass protection was not terrible, the Wildcats got to Jones enough to make him uncomfortable, despite rushing four or fewer defenders on 43 of his 45 attempts.
Protecting the football also has been an issue. Since 2010, Jones has thrown 29 interceptions. Eight of those interceptions were because the receiver was well-defended, seven were underthrown, four were overthrown, four were wide of the target. Four others were because Jones was hit, the ball was batted at the line, the receiver fell and one caused by a dropped pass. There was no reason given for the other three interceptions, and keep in mind there often are various reasons for an interception and these are just estimates of the reasoning behind Jones' interceptions during this span.
Those numbers lead you to believe Jones could take better care of the ball if he makes doing so a higher priority every time he steps on the field.
While these numbers aren’t pretty, it’s only fair to remember that Jones has passed for 13,151 yards and 98 touchdowns during his career while completing 62.7 percent of his passes. He consistently has made more good plays than bad ones during his 40 career starts.
Nonetheless, that doesn’t change the fact Jones needs to be more careful with the ball, particularly when under duress. If he does, the Sooners easily could reinsert themselves into the Big 12 and BCS title hunt while Jones jumps back into the Heisman race. If he doesn’t, we could be in for a roller-coaster year in Norman.