Oklahoma Football: Landry Jones and the Sooners Have Something to Prove vs. KSU

Jacob KeyesCorrespondent IISeptember 22, 2012

September 1, 2012; Dallas, TX, USA; Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Landry Jones (12) hands off to running back Dominique Whaley (8) in the second quarter against the UTEP Miners at Sun Bowl Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim Cowsert-US PRESSWIRE

After a sluggish start to the season many are doubting the Oklahoma Sooners and their status as a national championship contender. On Saturday night in Norman, quarterback Landry Jones and his team will have a chance to silence those doubters.

It's a similar position to the one the Sooners were in a year ago when they played the Wildcats in Manhattan, Kan. After losing in a shocker to Texas Tech at home and falling from their No. 1 ranking, the Sooners went to Kansas State trying to prove they still belonged in the national title conversation.

Oklahoma would leave Manhattan with a dominating 58-17 victory. It was also a dominating performance for the Sooners' quarterback.

Most people need to be reminded when Jones plays well. So let's not forget he was 35-of-47 with 505 yards in the air in last year's matchup with the Wildcats. He also threw five touchdown passes. All that on the road against the No. 8-ranked team in the country.

The Jones haters tend to forget those type of performances. In fact, somewhere there is a guy reading this article who is already writing a comment saying, "yeah, but he also threw two interceptions in that game."

Well, guess what: USC's Matt Barkley, who is supposed to be the best quarterback in the country and probably the first pick in the NFL draft, threw two picks last week in a loss to Stanford. He also failed to throw a touchdown pass.

Will a strong performance Saturday night against another ranked Kansas State team be enough to silence Jones' critics?

Probably not. But those people will never change their mind.

What might change, though, is the perception that these Sooners are not a top-10 team.

After struggling to beat UTEP on the road, Oklahoma is in need of an opportunity like this to beat a quality opponent. It's a moment these Sooners must take advantage of. A loss would mean a really long season is ahead for Bob Stoops, Jones and the Sooner faithful.

Defensive coordinator Mike Stoops and his defense will also have a chance to earn some respect. Their toughest test will be to stop Kansas State quarterback Collin Klein from running wild.

With the return of defensive lineman Casey Walker, Oklahoma fans are anxious to see if the defensive line will look better then they did in the first two games of the season. This is probably the biggest key to the game.

In a way, the schedule has worked out perfectly for Oklahoma. They had a wake-up call in Week 1, a tune-up game in Week 2 and a week off to put it all together before being tested this week.

Has Jones built some chemistry with his new receivers, Justin Brown and Trey Metoyer? Is Damien Williams the real deal at running back? Does the younger Stoops have his defense ready to battle a ranked foe in a huge game? Is Oklahoma a national championship contender?

These are all questions that will be answered in Norman tonight. The one question that will remain no matter the outcome has to do with Jones and his legacy as a quarterback at Oklahoma.