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Friday, August 19, 2022

Football

‘It’s unbelievable’: Marcus Jones continues to dazzle in the return game


Marcus Jones electrified the TDECU Stadium crowds in the final seconds of the fourth quarter, returning a kickoff 102 yards to power UH over No. 19 SMU on Saturday night. | Courtesy of UH athletics

Marcus Jones electrified the TDECU Stadium crowds in the final seconds of the fourth quarter, returning a kickoff 102 yards to power UH over No. 19 SMU on Saturday night. | Courtesy of UH athletics

Everyone within the Houston football program was puzzled that the ball was kicked to Marcus Jones with 30 seconds remaining in regulation.

Even Jones himself did not expect that he would have an opportunity to return the kick.

“I didn’t think they were going to kick it to me at first,” Jones said after the game.

But as the ball flew off SMU kicker’s Brendan Hall’s foot, Jones saw that he was going to have a chance to return it and his eyes lit up.

13 seconds and 102 yards later and Marcus Jones was celebrating in the other end zone, bringing UH 17 seconds away from knocking off the undefeated and 19th ranked Mustangs.

“Whenever I saw they kicked it, I was like I was going to go ahead and return it,” Jones said. “Coach was talking about just hitting it wherever it is and basically I saw the seam and was like I got to hit it.”

Saturday night marked the fourth time this season that Jones has found paydirt in the return game, twice as a punt returner and twice as a kickoff returner.

Dana Holgorsen, who has coached some of college football’s all time great returners over his career, has never seen anyone do what Jones does on a consistent basis.

Holgorsen not only says Jones is the greatest return man that he’s ever coached, but maybe even the best the game has ever seen in its history.

“I think he’s getting to a point where I may say he’s the best returner ever,” Holgorsen said. “There’s been some good one’s but the things that he does are unbelievable. And for him to do it in both punt and kick, it’s unbelievable.”

When asked to describe what Jones does in the return game, sophomore receiver Nathaniel Dell needed just a single word to get his message across about how good Jones is — GOAT.

“I just know every time the ball touches his hands there’s a chance, a high percent, that he’s going to go take it to the crib,” Dell said. “That man special. He different.” 

Running back Ta’Zhawn Henry echoed Dell, tweeting “MARCUS JONES FOR HEISMAN!!!!!” after the win.

While Jones has proven week after week that kicking the ball to him is a massive mistake, the Cougars’ special team’s star has no problem if opponents continue to test him. 

In fact, he welcomes it.

“I’m happy when they kick it (to me),” Jones said. “I’m not one of those to (question) like why are you kicking it to me like that. Go ahead. I’m ok with it.”

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