Jones' Return Bright Spot in Tough Day for Gophers

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Freshman Marcus Jones provided a couple of bright spots in an otherwise forgettable day for the Golden Gopher football team.

Go Gophers! Marcus Jones
Go Gophers!
Marcus Jones returned a kick 92 yards for the touchdown.
Go Gophers!
With the Gophers trailing 45-3 in the third quarter, the freshman out of Wake Forest, North Carolina fielded a kickoff and scampered 92 yards up the field to pay dirt to notch the Gophers first touchdown of the afternoon.

Jones' impressive return Saturday comes a week after he had a long kick return for a TD negated by a penalty at Michigan. Filling in for the second straight week for the injured Troy Stoudermire, Jones had 5 returns for 159 yards, including the 92-yard touchdown.

"On special teams we try to get big plays," said Jones. "At the time it gave us a little energy, a little motivation to keep playing when the odds were stacked against us."

Coach Kill, who has praised the freshman for his tenacity all season, gave him credit after the game.

"It was a big play," said Coach Kill. "The kids kept playing, and that's all we can do -- we have to keep coaching them and they have to keep playing."

But like it was for the rest of a young Gophers squad, Saturday was a learning opportunity for Jones. After being hit hard from behind after an incomplete pass during the fourth, Jones reacted with a shove and was flagged for a personal foul penalty. Kill said he pulled the freshman aside after the play.

"I called him over and said 'Those are things you can't do'," Kill said. "He was frustrated... You bring him over to the sidelines and say 'Look where we are now... You're playing hard and you're trying hard, but that's not very smart.'"

Jones also recounted the moment late in the game.

"Coach Kill said, even though you dropped the ball, it would have just been a loss of down... Now you set us back, and the very next play we gained 15, 16 17 yards and didn't get the first down.

"That showed me I had to learn from my mistake, and not make those kind of mistakes, no matter what situation we're in in the game." Jones said.

"We're teaching right now," said Kill. "That's all we can do, and that was a teaching moment for Marcus, and I'm certainly very confident he'll learn from that."

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