Friday, January 1st, 2016

Jones Earns McKnight Trophy

Alabama defensive back Cyrus Jones was present the McKnight Trophy as the defensive MVP of the 80th Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic following the Crimson Tide's 38-0 victory over Michigan State.

In the third quarter, Jones recorded a 57-yard punt return for a touchdown which was the fifth longest in Cotton Bowl history. In the past 20 seasons, Jones is the only FBS player to record a punt return TD and an interception in a bowl game. The Crimson Tide senior also had 80 punt return yards, ranking Jones as the third player to do so in bowl history.

The Alabama defense held Michigan State to 29 net rushing yards and 1.1 yards per rush. The Crimson Tide's shutout of Michigan State was the first in the Cotton Bowl, since 1963 when LSU blanked Texas. Additionally, the 38-point win was the third-largest point differential in Cotton Bowl history.

Alabama head coach Nick Saban commented on Jones’ punt return performance this season.

“He's done a great job. I mean, we've had really good punt returns this year. Unfortunately, for us, about half of them have been called back because of penalties,“ Saban said. “But Cyrus has done a really good job all year, A, of fielding the ball which is the most important thing and being a tremendous threat with a big play that we've had several of this year.”

The Alabama senior leads the nation in punt return touchdowns with four and ranks fourth in the Southeastern Conference in punt-return average.

“Coming in, being an offensive player and making that transition, it was tough at first,” Jones said. “But just with the support of my teammates and Coach Saban and Coach [Kirby] Smart believing in me that I could be a good defensive back and just trusting them that if I just followed their lead and just do the right things and work hard, I could be a great player, you know? And I just followed their lead and did anything I could do to try to help the team. So, it's all a credit to the people around me the results I'm getting right now.”

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