Peterson Ready For Julio, Alabama

The weekend meeting between LSU and Alabama will see Patrick Peterson and Julio Jones face off for the third time.

BATON ROUGE, La. --- Nick Saban and Les Miles will meet for the fourth time on Saturday, but LSU cornerback Patrick Peterson doesn’t seem to have any interest in the coaching battle.

Instead, Peterson is focused on one name: Julio Jones.

“My freshman year he was a freshman, and it was a phenomenal battle,” he said. “Last year was another phenomenal battle, and then here we are again. It’s going to be fun.”

The matchup between the pair has pulled in a cult following around SEC camps, an annual showdown that pits one of the nation’s best receivers against one of the nation’s best cornerbacks. 

Recent history has Jones coming out on top.

In the 2008 overtime win in Death Valley, Jones hauled in seven passes for 128 yards. Last year he finished with four catches for 102 yards and the game-winning touchdown, a 73-yard fourth quarter scamper that helped keep Alabama alive in their chase for a National Championship.

Peterson, whose ongoing battle with cramps began midway through the 2009 Alabama contest, had attempted to get onto the field for the touchdown run but was waved off by an LSU assistant.

“I believe it was too late in the play,” he said. “I was going to the far corner and it was too late for Brandon (Taylor) to get off the field.

“That was the most memorable play in that game.”

Some LSU fans would argue differently, instead settling on Peterson’s interception that was ruled an incomplete pass on the drive that Alabama kicked a field goal to go ahead by nine.

A year later, No. 7 still won’t touch it.

“I wasn’t even worried about the interception,” Peterson said. “It’s erased. It’s not on the stat sheet. Whatever the call was, he said it was no interception.”

This Saturday will give Peterson his shot at redemption, an opportunity to line up against Jones for a third – and perhaps final – time. In Ali-Frazier fashion, Peterson is confident that that he’s got all the insight needed to beat the familiar foe.

“This is our third year playing against each other, and he knows how I play and I know how he plays,” he said. “Julio is a man amongst boys. It doesn’t get better. He’s physical at the line and he has great speed and hands, even though he’s got a couple of plates in it.

“Both of us will give it our A-game, and we’ll give the fans something exciting to watch.”

Thanks to the familiarity (and plenty of game tape), Peterson feels he’s closer than ever to solving the riddle that is the 6-foot-4, 220-pound Jones.

“It’s a secret about all good receivers, they only have certain routes,” he said. “Julio changed it up a little this year, but from watching film I feel confident in knowing what he will do in certain situations.”

In his last game out against Tennessee two weeks ago, Jones grabbed a career-high 12 passes for a single-game school record 221 yards. Even more impressive was that the junior reached the mark just two weeks after having surgery on a broken hand.

“He looked like (NFL wide receiver) Andre Johnson out there,” Peterson said. “He was diving all across the field and catching the ball deep and running past the corners. He definitely had a breakout game.”

Whether he matches the effort in Baton Rouge remains to be seen, but Peterson is certainly up for the challenge. On Monday head coach Les Miles said that while Peterson would lock up on Jones for much of the afternoon, sophomore cornerback Mo Claiborne and freshman cornerback Tyrann Mathieu would both have their cracks.

“I talked to both those guys today, and I told them to be expecting not only to make big plays, but if they want to guard him than I will give them a little taste,” Peterson said. “Mo’s eyes got huge when I said that, and so did Tyrann’s. I am going to be guarding Julio, but not throughout the whole game.”

Despite the hype that surrounds the matchup, the two aren’t familiar away from the field. When asked if they had ever spoken, Peterson could only recall one conversation.

“When I caught the first cramp (in 2009) they had tried to throw a hitch to him and I went down, and he asked if I was okay,” he said. “To this point it is understood. I don’t talk to him before the game and he doesn’t talk to me.

“After that first play we dap each other up and tell each other to give the crowd what they want to see.”


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