Game features top WR-CB matchup
By Michael Casagrande
Special to the Ledger-Enquirer
BATON ROUGE, La. — It was the wide receiver on cornerback matchup of the year.
Julio Jones on Patrick Peterson: Round III.
Though Jones got the better of his worthy opponent on several plays, the game went to the Tigers for the first time in the three showdowns with Peterson.
In the end, Jones caught 10 passes — not all with Peterson lined up across from him — for a team-high 89 yards and a touchdown in the Tide’s 24-21 loss to LSU.
Without addressing his battle with Jones, the All-American Peterson said Saturday’s win was a statement to the nation who doubted the Tigers.
“We took that to heart, watching GameDay and leading up to this weekend,” said Peterson, who had eight tackles and broke up three passes. “Seventy percent of America doubted us to even be on the field with Alabama. We definitely took that to heart. We came out here and played hard every single snap.”
Jones was not made available to reporters on a day that started with a missed opportunity.
That shot came on the second snap of the game when Peterson lined up across from Marquis Maze. Alabama’s leading receiver found a huge gap in the defense, but quarterback Greg McElroy scrambling under pressure, didn’t spot Jones until the defense closed in and batted away the pass.
Later in the quarter, though, Jones bettered Peterson on consecutive plays.
First, he caught a fade on the LSU sideline for 19 yards with Peterson in his face. On the following play, McElroy hit Jones on a quick slant for 9 yards with Peterson jamming him. Four plays later, Trent Richardson’s 1-yard touchdown reception put the Tide ahead 7-3 with 12:55 left to play before halftime.
A third-quarter screen pass to Jones then moved his name up in the record books. He now stands second in career receptions at Alabama with 156, passing Freddie Milions (152) while still trailing DJ Hall (194).
Peterson was flagged for pass interference midway through the third quarter while guarding Maze without safety support.
Tide punter Cody Mandell neutralized Peterson as a punt returner with a few high and long boots. Peterson ended up with two returns for 22 yards and ran two kickoffs back for 45 yards total.