Jones ready to move forward after clearing 100-yard hurdle

Jones ready to move forward after clearing 100-yard hurdle
September 5, 2013, 11:00 am
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- In his first three years on campus, Notre Dame wide receiver T.J. Jones didn't break the 100-yard barrier.

But in the first game of his senior year, the Notre Dame captain blew by that mark, catching six passes for 138 yards as the Irish rolled to a 28-6 win over Temple.

Before Saturday, Jones had a couple of brushes with the century mark, going for 97 and 90 yards last season against Wake Forest and Alabama, respectively.

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"There were times where I'd be at that yard mark and they'd take me out for the last couple drives -- I'd ask to go back in and they wouldn't let me," Jones said. "It was definitely like man, you come from high school where you're used to having 100-yard games every game to not having one in three years, so it was good to get it out of the way."

For Jones, who's been touted by coach Brian Kelly as the next great pass-catcher at Notre Dame and a potential first-round pick next spring, hitting that mark had some significance.

Jones has always been a crisp, clean route-runner, but hasn't shown the game-breaking skill he put on display against Temple. It was just the second game of his career in which he caught three or more passes and averaged 17 or more yards, with the other time coming back in 2010 against Michigan (three catches, 73 yards).

The key, Jones explained, is he's feeling more comfortable playing at 195 pounds. He played at that weight last year, but "it was kind of heavy on me, wearing me down."

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Jones is playing his final year at Notre Dame with a bit of a chip on his shoulder. In fall camp, he alluded to the media's doubts of his ability and said he wants to assure financial stability for his family.

On the flip side, Jones said he's similarly motivated by the top-receiver, first-round expectations placed on him from his coach.

"Coach Kelly's my guy," Jones said. "If he feels that way about me, then that's more motivation for myself to push harder to kind of fulfill his expectations."