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Insider

3rd-and-25 a 'huge play' for Sooners

10/8/2011

DALLAS -- Oklahoma faced the prospect of dominating the game, yet not having the scoreboard reflect its dominance.

The Sooners faced third-and-25 at Texas’ 35-yard line knowing one incompletion would result in another field goal try after already settling for field goals on two previous red zone possessions.

Quarterback Landry Jones dropped back, looked off a defender then fired a pass between two Longhorns into the hands of Jaz Reynolds for a 30-yard gain.

First down, Sooners.

Sparked by the momentum of the Jones-Reynolds connection, OU scored three plays later and cruised to a 55-17 win over Texas at the Cotton Bowl on Saturday.

“Huge play,” offensive coordinator Josh Heupel said. “Jaz got separation and great throw by Landry to fit it in there.”

That one play was the ideal representation of the Sooners’ passing performance against the Longhorns.

OU’s receivers continually found themselves with room to roam in the Longhorns secondary, and Jones was surgical with his precision and accuracy.

“Their receivers made play after play,” Texas defensive coordinator Manny Diaz said.

Reynolds’ third-down conversion came with the Sooners leading 13-3 with just over 12 minutes left in the second quarter. During that drive, Jones found Kenny Stills for what appeared to be a 20-yard touchdown throw, but the score was called back as Stills was called for offensive pass interference. OU was pushed back to the UT 35, but Jones found Reynolds, and the Sooners’ message to the Longhorns was sent:

No matter how much the Sooners struggled or stop themselves, they remained confident they had the playmakers to still get it done.

After the Reynolds’ key catch, OU outscored UT 21-0 in the final 11:43 minutes of the first half.

“We had some drives get stalled but kept bouncing back,” said Gabe Ikard, who made his second start at center since taking over for Ben Habern. “We knew when we got behind the chains that was our own fault.

“We could still make big plays, because of some of the things they were doing on defense. We just needed to get a hat on a hat and let Landry, Ryan [Broyles] and some of those guys do what they do.”

“Remember the Cotton Bowl” could become the calling card for UT sophomore cornerbacks Adrian Phillips and Carrington Byndom, along with true freshman Quandre Diggs for the next 12 months after seeing Broyles, Stills and Reynolds dominate the one-on-one battles and take advantage of their youth on Saturday.

“We felt like we had a pretty good game plan coming in,” said Broyles, who finished with 9 receptions for 122 yards and one touchdown. “They like to isolate their corners out there, and we felt like we had athletes to compete with them.”