Jones repeats history
Published 8:11 pm Tuesday, October 2, 2018
There is no way Coastal Carolina is going to kick it anywhere near Marcus Jones, right? That was the question circling around the Veterans Memorial Stadium press box on Saturday. Jones put himself on the map a season ago when he returned two kicks, including the opening kick, for a touchdown against the Chanticleers.
So when Jones hauled in the opening kick on his own 4-yard-line, everybody sat up in their seats. Jones didn’t disappoint, racing 96 yards down the field for his program-leading fourth kickoff return touchdown.
“I was surprised actually,” Jones said. “Coach told me at the beginning that they were going to kick to me because I didn’t do anything before. I don’t blame them.”
Three of Jones’ returns have come against the Chanticleers, two of which have come on the opening kickoff. Jones also had a return against Arkansas State in last year’s season finale.
“It was a great feeling,” Jones said. “My teammates executed, and when my teammates execute, coach just tells me to put the ball in the endzone.”
The kick return game hasn’t been where Neal Brown has liked it over the first few weeks, so he wasn’t shocked that Jones got the ball. It’s also harder than most people think to kick away from somebody, especially when the other returner is playmaker Jabir Daughtry-Frye.
“It’s really hard,” Brown said. “It’s really hard not kicking to somebody, honestly. It sounds good in theory, but it’s just difficult. I think they do what we do when we play a good returner. We test the waters. I think they tested the waters.”
Brown entered the week convinced that Jones would get another shot based on his team’s performance in the kicking game through the season’s first four games.
“We blocked a lot better on the kickoff return team than we have in the last two weeks,” Brown said. “They may have watched us block and thought ‘well we’ll just run by these guys.’”
By the end of the play, it was Jones that was running by guys for his fourth career return touchdown, putting Troy up 7-0 early and paving the way for the Trojans’ fourth win of the season.
The Trojans take on the Georgia State Panthers this Thursday night and when Jones lines up to return a kick the question will once again come up. Will he get a chance? Tune in on Thursday to find out.