WVU can't keep up with Joneses
Corby, Julian Jones lead Missouri past Mountaineers
Posted: Saturday January 09, 1999 07:34 PM
TUCSON, Arizona (CNN/SI) -- One Jones ended his college career with a bang while another just jumpstarted his career with a stellar performance.
In what promised to be one of the better pre-New Year's bowls, Corby and Julian Jones, no relation, boosted Missouri to an impressive win in the desert.
Corby Jones rushed for three touchdowns and Julian Jones intercepted a pass and blocked a punt for a safety as the No. 23 Tigers (8-4) held on to beat the Mountaineers 34-31.
"There's not much you can say," said Corby Jones, whose father Curtis, a Missouri assistant coach, died of a heart attack in July. "We just did this for my dad and for the team."
Julian Jones, who also had 10 unassisted tackles and a 39-yard free kick return that helped set up a score, was named the game's outstanding player.
"Julian played a fantastic game," Missouri coach Larry Smith said. "There he was thrown into a tough position, and he responded."
The sophomore started at cornerback because senior Wade Perkins was suspended for the game for unspecified team rule violations.
"I was sad for Wade because I knew it would have been his last game," Julian Jones said. "I tried to come in and do the things that he would have done for our team, because he is a big-time player."
West Virginia's Marc Bulger completed 34 of 51 passes, both Insight.com Bowl records, for a school-record 429 yards and four second-half touchdowns to bring the Mountaineers back from a 21-point deficit.
Bulger's four touchdown passes tied an Insight.com Bowl record. His leading receiver, Sean Foreman, caught an Insight.com record 11 passes for 189 yards.
Bulger's 9-yard scoring pass to Amos Zereoue cut Missouri's lead to 31-24 with 10:27 to play, and his 1-yard touchdown toss to David Saunders made it 34-31 with 2:11 to play.
But Missouri's Dwayne Blakley recovered the onside kick attempt and the Tigers ran out the clock.
West Virginia (8-4) lost its eighth consecutive bowl game, tying South Carolina's NCAA Division I record. South Carolina's skid ended with a victory over West Virginia in the 1995 Carquest Bowl.
"In the second half, our game plan was perfect," Bulger said. "If we could have played like that in the first half -- I think that we clearly were the better team -- but we didn't. And the streak continues."
Corby Jones and Devin West, in their final collegiate game, led a 76-yard, 14-play fourth-quarter drive that consumed 6:43 before stalling at the West Virginia 1. Brian Long's 18-yard field goal with 3:44 to go put the Tigers up 34-24. A facemask personal foul penalty kept the drive going.
"That really, really put it to us," said West Virginia coach Don Nehlen, who didn't like the call. "But there's not much I can say. We didn't play very well early. We dug ourselves a hole. We made mistakes, and then the penalties."
West, the No. 5 rusher in Division I-A who was held in check most of the night, pounded West Virginia's defense for 46 yards in 12 carries in the critical drive. He finished with 125 yards in 31 attempts. Zereoue, the nation's No. 6 rusher, managed just 32 yards in 22 carries.
Special teams dominated much of the game. Missouri's Jeff Marriott blocked a field goal attempt and Carlos Posey returned the ball 70 yards for a score, West Virginia's Boo Sensabaugh blocked a punt to set up a Mountaineers' score, then Ricardo Rhodes returned a kickoff 60 yards to set up a Missouri touchdown.
The Tigers, who appeared in their first bowl game in 13 years last season, won a postseason game for the first time since the 1981 Tangerine Bowl.
Missouri took a 7-0 lead with 9:17 left in the first quarter when Marriott blocked a field goal try for the second time this season, a 48-yard attempt by West Virginia's Jay Taylor, who had been bothered by a hip injury all year. Posey scooped up the ball near the sidelines and raced untouched for the score.
On West Virginia's second possession, Bulger's pass bounced off wide receiver Khori Ivy's hands and was intercepted by Julian Jones at the Missouri 42. It was the first career interception for Jones.Missouri led 24-3 at the break and 31-10 with 5:11 left in the third quarter.
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