TROY, Alabama – Troy’s Marcus Jones dazzled under the lights Saturday night as he returned his third kickoff of the season for a touchdown and also returned an interception for a touchdown in Troy’s Sun Belt title clinching victory at Arkansas State. He has been named the Sun Belt Conference Special Teams Player of the Week for his efforts, the league office announced Monday.
Jones, a native of Enterprise, Ala., etched his name in the Troy record book with a 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown which put Troy on the board in the second quarter. His third return for a score this year is tied for the third most nationally and ranks as the most in a single-season in Troy history; the true freshman is already tied for the school career mark.
Jones enters bowl season fourth nationally averaging 32.88 yards per kickoff return, the best in Sun Belt Conference history and the second-best average in school history, while his three kickoff returns for a touchdown rank as the second most in league history.
He also made the play of the game on defense for the Trojans midway through the fourth quarter. Arkansas State recovered a fumble deep in Troy territory and the Red Wolves were facing a first down from the 16-yard line. Justice Hansen fired into the end zone and Jones intercepted the pass and returned it 100 yards for a touchdown to extend Troy’s lead to 24-13. It was the longest defensive touchdown in Troy’s FBS history and one of just three 100-yard interception returns nationally this season.
This is Jones’ second Sun Belt weekly award as he earned special teams honors after returning two kickoffs for touchdowns at Coastal Carolina.
Troy finished the regular season 10-2 and won its record sixth Sun Belt Conference title. The Trojans are heading to the New Orleans Bowl where they will take on C-USA West Division champion North Texas.