D’Anthony Jones ‘brings the juice’ for the Houston Cougars

Houston Cougars defensive lineman D’Anthony Jones helped lift UH to a 34-27 win over the Rice Owls on Sept. 24 at TDECU Stadium. (Courtesy Houston Athletics)

D’Anthony Jones ‘brings the juice’ for the Houston Cougars

Defensive lineman D’Anthony Jones was the spark the Houston Cougars desperately needed in Saturday’s win against Rice.

With the score tied at 27 and about five minutes left in the game, Rice’s offense started a drive from its own 18-yard line. After a five-yard gain on a first-down rush, Jones went to work, pushing through Rice linemen en route to grasping Owls quarterback TJ McMahon for a 12-yard sack.

“He’s a different guy,” Ceaser said. “He brings a lot of juice, and he’s a real funny guy, a really good guy to be around.”

McMahon fumbled the ball on the hit, but the Owls managed to retain possession. Now pinned back at their own 11, Rice offensive linemen once again tried to contain Jones as he bulldozed his way towards McMahon. The 6’2″ defensive lineman grasped McMahon for another hit, and he fumbled again.

“It’s what he’s known for,” fellow defensive lineman Nelson Ceaser said postgame. “He got off the rock. He made a great play.”

This time, the ball bounced and rolled out of the reach of any Rice players and into the hands of Ceaser, who scooped up the football and returned it for a touchdown that helped UH go up 34-27, which was the final score of the game.

“He can change the game, and clearly, he changed this game with two strip-sacks in a row,” Houston head coach Dana Holgorsen said on Monday. “Obviously a huge, huge, huge play in the game. Play of the game.”

Jones’ impact on the Cougars extends beyond the football field, Ceasar said. Jones is always looking out for others on the team. On the field, he is always bringing energy to the rest of the team, Ceaser added.

Now that Houston’s defensive line will be shorthanded going forward after losing a key leader in defensive end Derek Parish, Jones, along with others on the position group, will need to step up to fill the void left by Parish.

The key for Jones in the future will be for him to maintain a high level of play on a regular basis, his head coach said on Monday.

“We talk to D’Anthony a lot about consistency,” Holgorsen said. “Playing, practicing with more consistency … just need a little bit more consistency with him, which he is doing a good job of, and he is trending in the right direction.”

Around the AAC

Across the American Athletic Conference, Cincinnati receiver Tyler Scott was named the league’s offensive player of the week. He had 10 catches for 185 yards and three touchdowns in the Bearcats’ 45-24 win over Indiana.

Bearcats (3-1) linebacker Ivan Pace was named the conference’s defensive player of the week. He finished the game against Indiana with 15 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, and 2.5 sacks.

SMU (2-2) suffered a loss to TCU, 42-34. South Florida (1-3) was run over by Lousiville 41-3. Temple (2-2) shut out Massachusetts, 28-0. Memphis (3-1, 1-0 AAC) beat North Texas in a high-scoring affair, 44-34.

Central Florida (3-1) beat Georgia Tech, 27-10. Tulsa (2-2) lost to Ole Miss 35-27. Navy (1-2, 1-1 AAC) scored a win against East Carolina (2-2, 0-1 AAC), 23-20. Southern Miss beat Tulane (3-1), 27-24. The Green Wave will be the Cougars’ next opponent.

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