Alabama RB Cyrus Jones goes out with a bang in record-setting day

first_imgAlabama defensive back Cyrus Jones (5) warms up before the A-Day Spring Game at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala. on Saturday April 18, 2015.Alabama defensive back Cyrus Jones (5) warms up before the A-Day Spring Game at Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Ala. on Saturday April 18, 2015.TUSCALOOSA — No matter how hard he tried, Cyrus Jones couldn’t have dreamed of a better Senior Day than the one he had at Bryant-Denny Stadium on Saturday.In just one half of play, the Baltimore, Maryland, native returned two punts for touchdowns, forced a fumble, recovered a fumble and had three tackles (all for loss) as No. 2 Alabama walloped Charleston Southern 56-6.“Every player has that moment or has had that moment in their career where you just feel like it’s on that day or that play,” Jones said. “In basketball, you see guys who are streaky shooters where they see one go in and they keep on shooting because they feel like they can’t miss. Definitely kind of had that feeling tonight.”In records dating back to 1944, this is the first time Alabama has had two punt return touchdowns by the same player in one game. After notching his first last week against Mississippi State, Jones now has three punt return touchdowns.But Jones still has work to do if he hopes to accomplish the goal he and teammate Reggie Ragland set for him early this season. Ragland, who said Jones is “starting to get in a groove,” set the bar at eight punt return touchdowns for Jones.With the possibility of at least four games left (Auburn, SEC Championship Game, two playoff games), Jones isn’t shying away from the ambitious feat.“You never know what can happen in these last four games, man,” Jones said with a smile. “I’m on a streak right now, and I’m trying to keep it going.”After the pregame festivities were over, the Tide made quick work of its Iron Bowl tuneup scoring 49 points in the opening half.Alabama’s first drive went 64 yards in nine plays, and was capped by a 17-yard touchdown run from Derrick Henry. Henry has now scored a rushing touchdown in 16 straight games.After Alabama’s defense forced Charleston Southern to punt, Henry scored his second touchdown of the day to cap a 10-play, 55-yard drive which put the Tide up 14-0.The score gave Henry his 21st rushing touchdown of the season and tied him with Trent Richardson (2011) for Alabama’s single-season touchdown record. He finished the game with 68 yards and the two scores on just nine carries.On its third drive, Alabama struck with its passing game struck as Jake Coker hit Richard Mullaney in the back of the end zone for a 21-yard touchdown to make it 21-0. Mullaney was able to drag his left foot in bounds before falling out of the back of the end zone.Alabama’s special teams joined the scoring party as Jones returned a punt 43 yards to make it 28-0. The punt-return score was one of two on the day for Jones and the third of his career.“Cyrus has got really good running skills as he was a receiver when he first came here, and he did a really good job at that,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said. “Last two weeks, we’ve made some big plays in the punt return game, and I think that’s something that we want to continue to build on.”On Alabama’s next offensive possession, Coker threw a strike to freshman Calvin Ridley for a 30-yard touchdown, pushing the Tide’s lead to 35-0. Coker finished 11-of-13 for 155 yards and two touchdowns while Ridley lead the receivers with four catches for 49 yards and the score.Later, Jones would strike again, returning a punt 72 yards to make it 42-0.On Charleston Southern’s next drive, Jones intercepted a pitch and returned it inside the 10-yard line. Jones was credited with a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery.“Throughout the game, I said I was going to try to jump his option,” Jones said. “We were timing it pretty well, and playing it well the whole game. I knew if I just jumped it as soon as he pitched it, I could make a play.”Tide freshman Bo Scarbrough finished it off with a 1-yard touchdown to make it 49-0. The score was the first of Scarbrough’s career. Scarbrough lead the Tide with 69 yards and the score on 10 carries.“I was really pleased with the way our guys came out today,” Saban said. “Sometimes we have played a little lackluster in games like this, especially this time of year. With the players, I told them if you’re not inspired to play every play that you play, then you’re kind of cheating yourself because you’re not who you are and how you compete.“I certainly was pleased with the way we went out there and executed well.”Charleston Southern recorded its score early in the fourth quarter as quarterback Kyle Copeland slipped into the end zone from 3 yards out. The Buccaneers’ two-point conversion attempt failed as Tide linebacker Shaun Dion Hamilton intercepted the pass.The Tide scored just once in the second half on a 6-yard run from true freshman Damien Harris. The touchdown was the first of Harris’ career.“The outcome was probably what we expected,” Charleston Southern coach Jamey Chadwell said. “I was hoping we would put up a little more of a fight there in the first half. Our other guys came out and competed in the second half, which was good to see. Our main goal was to come in here and not get hurt, not get injured. I think we accomplished that. They’re obviously a good team.”Alabama travels to Auburn for the Iron Bowl next Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. on CBS.last_img

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