Photo by Rick Kimball/ISD
Notre Dame Football

Notre Dame Letting Tony Jones Jr. Out Of His Cage

October 20, 2019

Running back Tony Jones Jr. was written off by the majority of Notre Dame fans as the 2019 season kicked off in Louisville. 

The 5-foot-11, 224-pounder didn’t listen to the doubters as he went out and ran for 110 yards and one score in week one. 

Jones has continued to roll as he’s topped the 100-yard rushing mark in three consecutive games, including his 176-yard performance against USC.

“I’ve always been like this,” laughed Jones. “Coach lettin’ me out the cage a little bit.”

While Jones may have been joking, the reality is Notre Dame has let him out of the cage. Jones carried the rock 25 times against USC and dating back to last season, the Florida native has rushed for over 100 yards each time he has carried the ball more than 15 times. 

Vanderbilt 2018: 17 carries for 118 yards 
Louisville 2019: 15 carries for 110 yards and one touchdown
Virginia 2019: 18 carries for 131 yards and three touchdowns 
USC 2019: 25 carries for 176 yards

One can easily make the case Jones gets more confident and into a rhythm, but he might just be wearing out defenses by the time the fourth quarter rolls around. 

“I didn’t even notice I had 25 carries until the fourth quarter when I looked up at the screen,” said Jones. “I was like ‘Dang.’ I haven’t had that since my sophomore year in high school.

“It felt good that Coach had the confidence in me. I wanted to show him respect by pounding the rock.”

Jones was credited for five missed tackles against USC, but he also picked up a first down on 35 percent on his carries. However, Jones wasn’t taking the credit.

“I saw my line working hard,” stated Jones. “I saw my tight ends working hard. I tried to do whatever I could do.” 

He might be quick to give credit to his offensive line, but Jones also knows the work is just beginning as Notre Dame enters the stretch run.

“It just feels good I’m working hard and it’s showing out on the field,” Jones said. “I just have to keep working harder to make this game look like a regular game.” 

And when it comes to Notre Dame having a No. 1 running back, Jones is leaving that up to those above him. 

“You can tell me.”

Verify your student status
See Subscription Benefits
Trial only available to users who have never subscribed or participated in a previous trial.