OU football: Wind impacted Saturday's game, but Jones' adjustments made difference
Kingsley Burns, The Oklahoma Daily
Owen field has experienced its fair share of windy days, making Saturday’s blustery afternoon with 20-plus mph gusts whipping through the stadium a normal occurrence. But by the time the 2:30 p.m. kickoff rolled around, questions arose about whether senior quarterback Landry Jones’ passing game would be affected by the turbulent currents.
Jones answered by reeling off a near flawless performance in the first quarter, completing 10-of-11 passes, including a touchdown pass to junior running back Brennan Clay for the first score of the game — all against the wind.
“Give Landry credit,” coach Bob Stoops said after the game. “Thought he did a good job, and (the wind) didn’t affect his ball much.”
Jones had an average day, finishing with 277 yards on 25 completions with two touchdowns while Baylor quarterback Nick Florence, who came into the game averaging 377.4 passing yards an outing, failed to launch the Bears’ passing game that could’ve beat OU on its home field.
Florence overthrew his receivers, and when the passes were on the money, his receivers couldn’t haul in the balls. Whether the wind had anything to do with his performance, it was evident Baylor’s aerial attack experienced a setback in Norman.
Florence completed just 12-of-33 passes for a dismal 36 percent passing completion, his lowest passing margin of the season. He also failed to throw a touchdown pass in a game for the first time this season.
But OU’s four-year starter said he knew his offense needed to make modifications because of the weather conditions.
“You have to make sure that you are going to put a tight spiral on it all night so that you can kind of cut through it,” Jones said. “The ball was moving around a bit, and the receivers did a great job of adjusting to it.”
Adjustments that Jones said he was used to making in his career.
“Being from New Mexico, I had to deal with the wind there,” Jones said.
And Jones wasn’t the only player Saturday with that type of experience.
“I didn’t know it got that windy out here in Oklahoma, but apparently it does,” senior wide receiver Justin Brown said. “I’m used to that back east, too; it gets windy.”
The Penn State transfer also had to make his own adjustments in the game that ended up paying dividends to both his individual performance and the team’s offense surge just before halftime. Brown had one of the biggest catches of the day, a 35-yard touchdown pass that put the Sooners up 28-17 in the waning seconds of the second quarter.
Although the diving catch was a display of Brown’s playmaking skills, the experienced receiver said he also knew how important it was for Jones to make the necessary adjustments in the passing game.
“When you can throw a tight spiral, it goes right through the wind and Landry Jones did a good job with that,” Brown said.