Originally Published: Nov 7, 2009 11:10 PM CDT
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Oklahoma Sports Staff Writer
LINCOLN, Nebraska – One week after having perhaps his best game as a starting quarterback, Landry Jones threw a career-high five interceptions and the Sooners fell to Nebraska 10-3, the lowest point total of Bob Stoops’ tenure at OU.
All 10 of Nebraska’s points came off two of Jones’ interceptions, and then the last two ended the Sooners’ final chances to tie the game. Jones’ fifth interception came on OU’s last play of the game, when he seemed to throw a Hail Mary with 30 seconds still remaining on the clock.
“Several of those drives in the second half we felt very positive,” head coach Bob Stoops said. “We were fairly consistently moving it. We'd just get behind the chains. You've got to credit them, on third or fourth down, we had our opportunity and they made plays. They covered us or pressured us or whatever it was to get out of it. That's where we needed to be better.”
Jones and the offense were forced into difficult situations thanks to Tress Way’s struggles in the kicking game. The Sooners started inside Nebraska territory on their first three drives, but Way missed two field goals – one of which was blocked – and failed to give OU the lead.
“We had the ball, I think, the first three possessions inside the 50 to start the game and end up with nothing, zero points,” Stoops said. “You have to be able to make a field goal, protect the field goal. That changes things at the end of the game, where you feel you're climbing uphill and you have to have a touchdown.”
Way attempted a total of four field goals in the game and made one of them. It was his first action kicking field goals since missing a key 51-yarder in the Sooners’ season-opening loss to BYU. Way is now 1-of-5 on the season.
“Some of the field goal issues, you've got to be able to do it in games like you do it in practice, and we didn't,” Stoops said. “That you'd like to think is just some inexperience. [Tress Way hasn’t] been out there enough, some of it you've just got to work and make improvements.”
Jones then committed his first mistake of the night, throwing an interception that was returned to the OU 2-yard line. After the Sooners jumped offsides, Zac Lee completed a 1-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Hill to give Nebraska a 7-0 lead. That was all the Cornhuskers would need.
Nebraska, led by defensive tackle Ndomukong Suh, harassed Jones and shut down the running game. The Sooners amassed just 80 rushing yards, despite consistently trying to run the ball outside the tackles with DeMarco Murray.
Suh and the rest of the Nebraska defensive front did not allow Landry Jones any time to throw. Offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson began calling plays that moved the pocket to the left or right, but none of it helped slow down the Cornhuskers’ pressure.
Jones became antsy in the pocket and began throwing without setting his feet, resulting in several high throws. Three of those high throws became interceptions.
Lost in the offense’s struggles was another dominant performance by the OU defense. The Sooners allowed 180 total yards, including just 39 passing yards between quarterbacks Zac Lee and Cody Green. The Cornhuskers also managed to record only seven first downs in the game, and had just one third-down conversion.
“I thought it would have been hard for our defense to play a whole lot better,” Bob Stoops said. “You force 11 punts away from home, and I think they were 1-of-14 on third down, you feel like you've got a good chance to win the game. I would say the difference is [Nebraska got] the one turnover to set up their touchdown, and we didn't get a turnover. That's how close this game was, and defensively, we really did play well.”
Saturday marked the first time in Bob Stoops’ 11-year stint at OU that the Sooners failed to score a touchdown. The last time OU was held to three points came in 1998 against Texas.
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