One Last Ride For Jones and Senior Dogs

P.J. Jones walked into the Seal center following his final Friday practice in Starkville with a smile on his face. The durable defensive tackle was asked to look back over his time at Mississippi State and to put into focus what a win next week would mean to the Bulldogs. While Jones is proud of what has taken place this fall, the four year veteran points out that the story is still being written.

Yes, the 2014 Dawgs have accomplished many things none of their predecessors did, including the program's first ever #1 ranking. Mississippi State became the first team in college football history to earn a #1 ranking in the college football playoff poll and the first Magnolia state squad to ever win ten regular season games.

The team has a chance to end the campaign with a record 11th win, which is what Jones and his teammates are focused on right now.

"We have one more and are working hard to win the last one," said Jones.

Georgia Tech and their option offense brings some unique challenges into next week's Orange Bowl contest.

"Coach (David) Turner has worked a lot with us on dealing with cut technique," said Jones. "The scout team is doing the best they can to get us ready, but there is nothing like live reps in a game.

"It's just different, because that team across from you is fighting to win and we're fighting to win. It's going to be a lot more physical and a lot more intense when we play the Bowl game."

The Yellow Jacket offense has impressed Jones and his position mates in their film review of the Georgia Tech scheme.

"They run everything at a very high level and at a very fast pace," said Jones. "I feel like we're going to be prepared to play and I believe that our defense is ready to show up and play a good game."

The Bulldog front seven have been especially stingy against the run this year allowing just over 125 yards per game. Georgia Tech is second nationally in rushing offense with just over 333 yards per game.

The Capital One Orange Bowl has the makings of a very physical contest that boils down to a battle in the trenches and that appears to be the kind of game the Bulldogs want.

"This is really my type of game," said Jones. "I am not going to say that I am the best pass rusher, but I think I specialize in stopping the run. I have a big body and I can move.

"Stopping the run is what we want to do. They preach that here. If you can't stop the run, they you never really get the chance to pass rush. Everybody wants to establish the run, so we want to kill that and force teams to throw the ball and be one dimensional."

Jones cut his teeth as a true freshman and helped lay the foundation for great football to come in Starkville.

"When I first got here, this building wasn't even here," explained Jones. "We have come along when in my time here at Mississippi State.

"I am just so proud of this team and the fact that we're making history. We are the first Mississippi State team to ever be #1 and I am happy to have been a part of that. Being a part of history is pretty cool."

Jones looks back to his recruitment and sees that many of the recruiting pitches he heard during the process rang true when it came to Mississippi State.

"You know everybody says the same things," said Jones. "It didn't matter if it was the school up north (Ole Miss), Alabama, LSU or Mississippi State, everybody said the same things. There was just something about Mississippi State that felt like a family to me.

"I try to tell the recruits that come in here now to not get attached to coaches, because coaches leave. Look around and get to know the people who will always be here. Look at your teammates and get to know the people you're going to be going to war with.

"I felt welcomed here and that's why I came here. Mississippi State is my home."

The Orange Bowl will be the final game in Bulldog uniform for Jones, but he hopes to continue his playing career even after he has take off the Maroon and White for the final time.

"I will have a chance to get some rest and rest this old body of mine after the bowl game," said Jones with a laugh. "Then I will start getting ready for the pro days and all of that. I played in the SEC West, so I feel like I can give the NFL a try. You just never know what might happen."


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