Coming Full Circle

NORMAN, Okla. – This year's Big 12 Championship game is obviously fitting because of the historical matchup between OU and Nebraska in the conference's last season in its current format. It is also appropriate that the only way the Sooners can claim the Big 12 title is for redshirt sophomore quarterback Landry Jones to face the team he played his absolute worst against.

Jones threw five interceptions and completed 44.8 percent of his passes in a 10-3 loss at the hands of the Cornhuskers in Lincoln, Neb., last year.

The performance prompted many people to question Jones' future as the team's starting quarterback, but he has worked his way near the top in the nation in passing yards (3,947, third) and touchdowns (34, second).

But Jones' stats will mean nothing if he does not redeem himself against Nebraska on Saturday. The first meeting was the lowest of lows for the quarterback and could be seen as a learning experience, so the second meeting has to be the product of what he has learned in a little more than a calendar year.

"He's certainly grown," said quarterbacks coach Josh Heupel. "It was a learning experience. I think we've all grown from that and I know he's looking forward to Saturday night."

You only have to look at Jones' last three games to see how much he has learned and matured. Jones has completed 85-of-130 pass, found the end zone 12 times and has thrown four interceptions.

More importantly, the Sooners won all three of those games, two of which came at Baylor and at Oklahoma State, to help claim a share of the Big 12 South title and earn a berth to Arlington, Texas. But Jones needs a fourth victory and his third straight away from Norman to earn something from his critics that his teammates already have in him: trust for the future.

"He's one of our go-to guys," said junior receiver Ryan Broyles, who was named a member of the First Team All Big 12 this week. "He's one of the guys that we trust in. We trust him with the ball. We trust him with making plays."

It is only right for Jones to have to change people's perception of him by performing well against the team that made him play his worst.

If the Sooners beat Nebraska and make the Fiesta Bowl, then it will be more than just the players and coaches who buy into the philosophy "In Landry We Trust."

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