Originally created 10/12/03

This Jones will go down in history

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - It will go down with the other remarkable plays in school history, with the special moments that even casual Georgia fans remember.

There was Belue to Scott in 1980. There was the flea flicker that beat Alabama in '65. There was Theron Sapp against Georgia Tech in '57 and Belue to Arnold in '78 and Michael Johnson's game-winner against Auburn last year and Herschel running over Bill Bates in this stadium in '80.

From now on, Sean Jones will be a part of that group.

He'll be included because he picked up a bounding football, ran 92 yards and scored a touchdown on the final play of the first half of the team's 41-14 rout of Tennessee on Saturday night. He'll be included because of the abruptness of the play, because a Tennessee touchdown seemed a sure thing, because his sprint to the checkerboard changed the game.

The play was that unique and memorable, that amazing and unexpected.

Not that Georgia fans shouldn't expect those kinds of heroics from Jones. He has been spectacular this season, one of the defense's top performers from his safety position.

Thomas Davis has made the hits and David Pollack has grabbed the headlines, but Jones has been right there all season, picking off passes and bringing down running backs and batting down field goals.

But this was his most special moment, his masterpiece.

The Bulldogs led 13-7 and Tennessee quarterback Casey Clausen was driving the Volunteers. They were up against the clock, but they moved quickly and efficiently with a lot of help from Georgia, which committed three personal foul penalties.

Running back Cedric Houston rushed 2 yards to the Georgia 1 and Clausen picked up nothing on a quick sneak, setting up fourth-and-goal with seven seconds left. The Volunteers called timeout and decided to run.

It seemed innocent enough. All Clausen had to do was to take a few steps back, allow fullback Troy Fleming to run past and hand the ball to Jabari Davis.

Only this time, either Clausen was slow or Fleming too quick, because somehow, some way, Fleming nicked the ball and it flew up and landed on the turf a few yards behind the action.

Davis was there first, but he couldn't pick it up. It seemed he merely slowed it for Jones, who scooped up the ball and set a world record for the slowest 92-yard run. Surrounded by a pack of friendly white shirts, he skipped and pranced and certainly took his time getting to the end zone, relishing every second of the return.

And just like that, in the most improbable of seven seconds, Georgia turned what could have been a 14-13 deficit into a 20-7 halftime lead.

It was the start of a rout, of a blowout that turned Neyland Stadium into a half-empty quiet concrete shell. By the end of the third quarter, Georgia led 41-7.

Tennessee had seen this kind of freakiness before.

Just this year, Clausen hit receiver James Banks on a 48-yard touchdown pass on the final play of the first half in the Volunteers' 24-10 victory over Florida on Sept. 20.

And in 1998, the year Tennessee won the national championship, Arkansas quarterback Clint Stoerner was running out the clock when he fumbled and the Volunteers recovered and went on to take a 28-24 victory that preserved the undefeated season.

This time, though, it was Georgia on the receiving end, the Jones' time to shine. This time, he brought the hobnail boot.


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