Jones eclipses 100-yard plateau for first time

Sunday, October 21, 2007
Southeast Missouri State running back Mike Jones carried the ball during the fourth quarter Saturday at Houck Stadium. Jones, a freshman, rushed for 131 yards on 14 carries. (Aaron Eisenhauer)

The freshman running back achieved the feat in his second start.

Mike Jones enjoyed his first 100-yard rushing game on the collegiate level.

But what kept Saturday from being a perfect day for Jones was the absence of a Southeast Missouri State win.

Jones, a true freshman tailback, made his second career start a memorable one with 131 yards and his first two college touchdowns, but the Redhawks suffered a 31-17 homecoming loss to Murray State.

"It felt great, but it just wasn't enough," said Jones, who carried 14 times and averaged 9.4 yards per attempt. "If we would have won, it would have been perfect.

"It's a tough loss."

Southeast coach Tony Samuel has raved about Jones since preseason practice, but the native of Paducah, Ky., was hampered during the early part of the year by a turf toe injury.

In the first five games, Jones carried just once for minus-2 yards.

Jones, a 6-foot, 225-pounder, made his first college start last week at Eastern Kentucky after leading rusher Timmy Holloman was declared ineligible after being found in violation of unspecified NCAA regulations.

Jones had a solid debut against Eastern Kentucky, rushing for a game-high 64 yards on 15 carries.

He more than doubled that yardage output Saturday, including a 59-yard run early in the third quarter that led to his 3-yard touchdown run, which tied the contest 7-7.

Jones added a 2-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter that cut Murray State's lead to 24-17, but the Redhawks got no closer.

"Mike had a very good game," Samuel said. "He has a chance to be a great one."

Jones almost came back to haunt what is basically his hometown school, as Murray State is located not far from Paducah, Ky.

Jones said he considered attending Murray State, which recruited him, "but coach Samuel and the rest of the [Southeast] coaches made me feel like this was the place I needed to be."

With Holloman virtually certain to not play any more this year, Jones figures to receive plenty more chances to make his mark during his rookie campaign.

"He's got a bright future," Samuel said.

Spada nails career long

Southeast sophomore kicker/punter Doug Spada missed only his second field-goal attempt of the season, a 40-yarder into a swirling wind on the final play of what ended up as a scoreless first half.

But Spada made up for that by nailing a career-long 50-yarder early in the fourth quarter, pulling Southeast within 17-10.

Spada, who is 11-of-13 on field goals this season, again had to battle a swirling wind on his long kick, which eclipsed a 49-yarder he made earlier in the year.

"It was a real nasty crosswind," said Spada, who added of his miss: "It was a tough wind, but I picked my head up a little bit."

Spada also continued his solid punting, averaging 44.9 yards on seven attempts and putting six inside the 20-yard line. He entered the contest with a 42-yard average and now has pinned 19 punts inside the 20.

Noteworthy

* Southeast sophomore cornerback Salim Powell intercepted a pass and recovered a fumble, while sophomore cornerback Eddie Calvin had an interception and was credited with breaking up four passes.

Calvin, who is generally matched up with the other team's top receiver, held Ohio Valley Conference receptions leader Rod Harper to one catch for 25 yards, but that went for a touchdown.

* Southeast senior Elton Peterson averaged 30.5 yards on six kickoff returns, including returns of 46 and 51 yards in the fourth quarter that helped give the Redhawks a chance to rally.

Peterson also rushed for 44 yards on 10 carries.

* Senior tight end Joseph Tuineau, true freshman wide receiver Miles Edwards and sophomore wide receiver Brad Stewart each had three catches to lead Southeast.

* Sophomore linebacker Jared Goodson and junior safety Kendall Magana had 11 tackles apiece to pace the Redhawks.

* Junior Vincent Anderson, playing his second game at safety after spending the first five contests at wide receiver, had nine tackles and broke up two passes.

Anderson still leads the Redhawks in receptions with 12.

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