Part three of our reaction to K-State’s ability to answer the questions and bottle the goals for OU posed by NewsOK.com.
Question 3: Will the offensive line step up and protect Landry Jones better?
Answer 3: No.
Maybe I should amend that answer. Hell no? Hell-to-the-no? Snowball’s chance in hell? The point is, there was no unit battle more lopsided than Oklahoma’s line attempting to keep Jones safe. Two of the three turnovers Saturday were a direct result of Landry Jones running for his life. The first, pictured above, was a blindside hit by Justin Tuggle that resulted in a forced fumble recovered by Jarrell Child’s for the Wildcats’ first touchdown. The second was an interception by Ty Zimmerman after an errant throw by Landry Jones off his back foot while the pocket collapsed on him.
K-State was able to apply pressure early and often, which defensive end Adam Davis described to ESPN after the game. In response to how Landry responded to K-State’s harassment, Davis commented, “I noticed it in the first half. When we’d get upfield, he’d start jabbing his feet real quick and moving. That let us know that he don’t like nobody in his blind side, and we tried to attack it all night… what we did all week was worked on trying to flush him out of the pocket, because we know he ain’t good with pressure. If we get to his blind side, he’s going to get jittery and try to move out the pocket and scoot up and stuff. We tried to get our D-tackles to cause pressure on the edge and try to get him.”
And that’s exactly what K-State did, creating unrelenting presence in the backfield all night. Oklahoma’s receivers weren’t that bad – they just had bad balls thrown their way. Yet those bad throws were not strictly the result of a poor performance on the part of Jones either; he was put in a rough spot with no way out. Even NFL quarterbacks (a job he anticipates holding in 12 months) are doomed to fail if they don’t have time find open receivers because they’re too busy running. Sure, K-State’s secondary was important in Saturday’s win, but some passes would have gone incomplete in absence of any coverage because Jones was pressured into throws that were simply that bad.