Notre Dame vs Oklahoma: Why Landry Jones Will Finally Gain Elusive Signature Win

Shawn BrubakerContributor IIOctober 27, 2012

STILLWATER, OK - DECEMBER 03:  Landry Jones #12 of the Oklahoma Sooners throws against the Oklahoma State Cowboys at Boone Pickens Stadium on December 3, 2011 in Stillwater, Oklahoma.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

After four years, the book on Oklahoma quarterback Landry Jones seems to be already written.

He's got NFL-level ability, but he just can't get it done in the big games.

Today gives Jones the chance to change that perception. Oklahoma will play host to the No. 5 Notre Dame Fighting Irish, giving Jones a chance to gain the signature victory that has eluded him throughout his career. 

This isn't a completely fair perception, as Jones is 3-1 in the Red River Rivalry and has never lost a bowl game, but this is the perception of him all the same.

Oklahoma's failure to live up to last year's lofty expectations played a major role in his stock's fall, but he has a chance to turn it all around today against the Irish.

A win today would be the biggest in Jones' career. The Sooners have never beaten a top-five team under Jones, and their out of conference schedule has been relatively soft the past four years.

Today they have the opportunity to play an out of conference foe that is ranked fifth in the nation. They need a victory to keep their national championship hopes alive, and Jones needs a victory to shed his persona as a soft quarterback.

To do it, he'll need to carry the offense against a top-tier defense. Notre Dame is ranked 14th in the nation in pass defense. They've held opponents to five passing touchdowns versus 12 interceptions.

Notre Dame is also a top run-stopping unit, holding opponents to just 3.4 yards per carry.

This will be an interesting matchup. Notre Dame is multi-dimensional as a defense, but Oklahoma is also multi-dimensional on offense.

Oklahoma can attack a defense multiple ways, with an all-Big 12 quarterback and a rushing attack that averages about 200 yards per game. 

The key to the game will not just be productivity, though, but simply protecting the football.

Notre Dame knows how to rack up interceptions. They're tied for ninth in the nation with 12.

Jones has been mistake-prone in his career, throwing 44 interceptions. Avoiding turnovers against an opportunistic defense like this would go a long way in making his case for the NFL, and for his legacy in Norman.

Ultimately, though, winning will be what would take Jones' career into the upper-echelon of Oklahoma quarterbacks.

He has the ability to do just that.