After having struggled against the option all season, Notre Dame's newly aggressive defense limited the Falcons' vaunted wishbone to 286 yards. Even more impressive was the Irish's ground attack, which rolled for 410 yards. By comparison Krug's numbers—8 for 13, for 96 yards and an interception—were modest. But for the first time in a long while, such puny numbers from a Notre Dame quarterback were hardly noticed.
George Jones is running. He lowers his head, does this nutty juke in front of a green Jeep Wrangler that has come to a stop at the corner of Montezuma Road and 55th Street in San Diego and high-steps it onto a sidewalk on the other side of the street. "Been doing this my entire life," says Jones, laughing. "It's not my style, though, the dancing and spinning. My style is angry." He pauses to consider the statement and adds, "Yes, I'm an angry runner."
Jones is a junior tailback at San Diego State. Last Saturday, in a 49-10 win over Hawaii, he ran for 164 yards and broke the Aztecs' single-season rushing mark of 1,630 yards set by Marshall Faulk in 1992. He played the last three weeks despite a broken jaw. "Oh, the jaw doesn't hurt that much," says Jones, who has rushed for 1,755 yards and 23 touchdowns this fall and has one game remaining, against Colorado State this Saturday. "I know what hurt is, and this isn't it."
Growing up in Greenville, S.C., Jones was what social agencies commonly refer to as a community child, a parent-less youth who escaped the agencies' notice and slept wherever he could find a place. Occasionally, he stayed with his grandmother. Most of the time he stayed with neighborhood acquaintances. Of his parents, Jones says only, "I don't talk about them. Not to interviewers, not to friends, not to myself if I can help it."
When he was a teenager, Jones went to work at a fish restaurant. After his shift ended at midnight, he would jog the two miles back to his neighborhood, dodging imaginary tacklers in the dimly lit streets. "For those couple of miles, I was happy, just really happy dancing around and pretending," he says. "When I got home, though, that's when the hurt set in."
Soon afterward he started spending most nights in the suburban Greenville home of Monnie and Jackie Broome, whose son Nathan had befriended George in pee-wee ball. Throughout high school the Broomes were surrogate parents to Jones, though they've never become his legal guardians. Monnie and Jackie helped Jones enroll at Bakersfield ( Calif.) Junior College in 1993, where he spent two years before enrolling at San Diego State.
Initially, he had been reluctant to go to California. Jones, who had worked in a textile plant that summer, approached Monnie the day before he left for Bakersfield. "I'm not sure I want to go," Jones told him. "I think I'll just stay home and keep working in the plant." Replied Monnie, "Staying is not an option."
In retrospect, Jones says, "Going to California was the best thing for me. It's opened my eyes to the world." And it's opened the world's eyes to Jones.
Well, Not Really