Bedlam brings final home start for Sooners’ Jones

Landry Jones wouldn’t consider his career as Oklahoma’s starting

quarterback to be a mixed bag.

Entering his final home game Saturday night against No. 22

Oklahoma State (7-3, 5-2 Big 12), Jones chooses to focus on the

highs he’s experienced with the 14th-ranked Sooners (8-2, 6-1) and

not the occasional fierce criticism he’s endured.

Jones has won one Big 12 championship and is trying to keep

Oklahoma in the mix for another, and he’ll be going for his third

Bedlam rivalry win – to go with three rivalry victories against

Texas.

He’s won the most games in school history and ranks fourth in

Bowl Subdivision history with 15,624 yards.

That hasn’t always been enough to win over his team’s faithful

followers because he’s never put the Sooners in position to play

for a national championship.

”There’s been a lot of great players here, especially the guy I

came after. Sam had done so many good things around this place.

There are some high expectations of me here,” Jones said. ”But at

the end of the day, I wanted to be who I was.

”I didn’t want to be Sam. I didn’t want to be Jason. If you try

to do those things, you aren’t going to live up to the capabilities

of who you are as a player and as an individual.”

As Jones makes his 48th career start, he’ll be opposing Clint

Chelf – who has gone from third-stringer to cult hero while winning

his first two starts for Oklahoma State. He’s earned an oddball

nickname – ”Choo Choo” – that’s been perpetuated on Twitter, but

more importantly the trust of his teammates and coaches.

After dancing around quarterback questions for months while

dealing with injuries to starter Wes Lunt and backup J.W. Walsh,

coach Mike Gundy has named Chelf his starter even though he says

both of the others are available to play.

To some degree, it’s vindication for Chelf after he waited his

turn for two seasons behind Brandon Weeden and then finished third

in a three-way competition this spring.

”That was the coaches’ decision. You have to go with it

sometimes, and it doesn’t always work out for you. You’ve just got

to keep working hard, and that’s what I tried to do,” Chelf

said.

”I’m just happy that we’re winning.”

A Bedlam victory would be a big addition to either quarterback’s

resume. Jones won his first two starts against Oklahoma State

before committing four turnovers in last year’s 44-10 blowout

loss.

The Sooners had a chance to earn a split of the Big 12

championship in that game, but instead allowed Oklahoma State to

snap an eight-game losing streak in the series and win its first

conference title outright.

”Beating OU was great and I think it just kind of proves that

OSU isn’t the little brother anymore,” Cowboys defensive end

Cooper Bassett said. ”We’re a team that’s nationally ranked every

year, we’re at team who gets great recruits every year, we’re a

team that won the Big 12.

”We’re the defending Big 12 champions. So, it’s not the big

brother-little brother effect anymore. I think that the gap is

being closed immensely.”

Jones and his Sooners are again flirting with the Big 12 title

entering this year’s game. They’re currently tied with No. 6 Kansas

State but could claim an outright championship by closing the

season with back-to-back wins against OSU and TCU, plus a K-State

loss to Texas.

At best, Oklahoma State can earn a share of the Big 12

title.

”It’s kind of out of our hands, the Big 12 championship. But

that would be huge for our program if we’re able to sneak in there

and get one this year,” said Jones, who’s 37-10 as a starter.

”Some things have to happen for us to have that possibility. But

you never know what’s going to happen in college football.”

Although his defense was shredded for a school-record 778 yards

in a 50-49 win against West Virginia last week, Jones comes in on a

high. He passed for an Oklahoma-record 554 yards and threw for six

touchdowns, the last one a game-winner with 24 seconds left.

Even better, Jones’ pass to Kenny Stills came after he audibled

at the line on a fourth-and-3 play with the Sooners needing a

touchdown.

”It didn’t surprise me at all. Landry is one of the most

productive players in the history of this conference, so for him to

make those types of plays doesn’t surprise me at all. He’s capable

of doing that all the time,” co-offensive coordinator Jay Norvell

said.

”He’s finishing his career, he’s a fabulous player and I know

he’s going to be like a lot of the great players that have played

here. When they’re gone, you miss him.”

AP freelance writer Murray Evans contributed to this report.