Before the season even began, cornerback Cyrus Jones felt confident about his ability to return some punts for touchdowns this season.
Jones felt so confident he made a deal with linebacker Reggie Ragland before the season opener.
“Me and him made a plan I told him ‘you go to take eight back on punt return,’” Ragland said. “Cyrus talks too much. He said, ‘OK, I’ll get it done.’”
Even a quiet day for Jones would be something he would remember, but Jones made sure his final game in Bryant-Denny Stadium would be something everyone would remember in the 56-6 win over Charleston Southern on Saturday.
Jones scooped up a punt at the end of the first quarter and returned it 43 yards for his second punt return touchdown in two weeks. In case that wasn’t good enough Jones took his second return of the day 72 yards to become the first Alabama player, since records were kept in 1944, to return two punts for a touchdown in a single game.
“[I’m just] glad I could go down in the record books somewhere,” Jones said. “It meant a lot, just going out with a bang my last game in Bryant-Denny. I was looking forward to it I knew it was going to be kind of a bitter sweet moment.”
Jones’ day didn’t end with his role on special teams. His three tackles for loss led the team and he threatened to score a defensive touchdown when he recovered his own forced fumble and carried it down to the Charleston Southern six-yard line.
“I did [think I was going to score when I caught the pitch]. I was saying the whole game I was going to try to jump his option,” Jones said.
The two non-offensive touchdowns Jones scored gave Alabama eight on the season. That’s the second-most non-offensive touchdowns scored in a single season since Nick Saban came to Tuscaloosa. If Alabama records three more, the team will tie the mark set by the 2008 group.
Other seniors also had their moments. Jake Coker hooked up with fellow senior Richard Mullaney for a 21-yard touchdown pass that required Mullaney to just get his foot down inside the end zone after he made a backwards leaping catch.
“I had no idea where I was, it hurt coming down,” Mullaney said. “[When I saw the replay] I was excited.”
He’s not a senior, but running back Derrick Henry might have played his last snap in Bryant-Denny Stadium today.
Henry carried the ball nine times for 68 yards and two touchdowns.
His ninth and final carry against Charleston Southern’s defense was his shortest run of the day, but it was still a special one. The two-yard run into the end zone was Henry’s 21st rushing touchdown this season, tying him with Trent Richardson who set the current single-season school record for rushing touchdowns in 2011.
“He works hard, he’s got a great attitude, he cares a lot about the team [and] he’s a great competitor,” Saban said. “Hopefully he will be able to continue to finish the year [just as productive].”
Henry didn’t get the chance to take sole possession of the record on Saturday, but he will have plenty of opportunities going forward. Alabama has at least two games remaining including the Iron Bowl and a postseason appearance, but Henry and the Crimson Tide will see the field an additional four times if they win out.
“I think it’s important that our defense play as well as they are capable of playing against what I know is a very difficult offense to defend [next week],” Saban said. “[We have] one of the best rivalries in the country next week.”
Source:: The Crimson White Sports