Dejected Jones continues record pursuit
By Nathan Summers and Ronnie Woodward
The Daily Reflector
Sunday, November 13, 2016
East Carolina senior receiver Zay Jones got off to a slow start in terms of receptions, but he finished with 12 catches in Saturday’s 55-31 defeat against SMU that dropped the Pirates to 3-7.
It leaves Jones eight shy of breaking former teammate Justin Hardy’s NCAA all-time receptions record. His final chance to pass Hardy at home will be next week against Navy, which precedes the team’s final game at Temple.
“There is a lot of disappointment, so the record really does take a back seat to what’s truly important,” Jones said. “You can have all that individual success, but we’re walking to the locker room and walking off the field with a loss. It really just doesn’t mean as much.”
Jones’ 166 receiving yards against the Mustangs give him 1,466 for the season. Hardy has that ECU record as well with 1,494 in 2014.
Saturday was also Jones’ 18th career 100-yard receiving game, but the top receiver ended up being SMU’s 6-foot-4 sophomore Courtland Sutton. He had two touchdowns and posted career highs with 12 catches for 166 yards.
“We had no answers for Sutton,” ECU coach Scottie Montgomery said.
Pirate outside linebacker and defensive leader Dayon Pratt did not play because of a shoulder injury.
On a day when big plays by SMU’s defense made a huge impact, the Pirates lacked in that department. ECU’s Fred Presley brought down quarterback Ben Hicks on third down during the game’s opening drive, but that was the only sack of the game for the Pirates.
SMU forced five turnovers and did not give the ball away, which helped the visitors salt away the game in the second half.
“It was really tough not having Dayon on the field with us,” said ECU co-leading tackler Jordan Williams, who had 12 stops along with fellow linebacker Yiannis Bowden. “He brings that energy, that hard-hitting energy, and he’s a great pass rusher for us.”
ECU fell to 0-6 all-time wearing white helmets.
There were two losses in 2014 and one last season and this season; white-helmet setbacks have come against Virginia Tech, Tulsa and SMU.
Last season’s ECU baseball team was recognized between the first and second quarters for its accomplishments in the NCAA tournament.
Players and coaches received rings for winning the NCAA Charlottesville Regional. The team went on to play in the Lubbock Super Regional, falling one win shy of making the College World Series.
“It’s a little bigger than our conference championship rings (from 2015),” catcher Travis Watkins said during a second-quarter interview played on the stadium video board.