Scoring a touchdown in a National Championship is always a special.
For Irish wideout TJ Jones, it would have been extra special Monday night because of his family’s history.
But the Notre Dame junior came up just short of the goal line on two occasions in Notre Dame’s 42-14 loss to Alabama at Sun Life Stadium. Despite the lopsided loss, Jones played well---bringing in a career high 7 receptions for 90 yards.
It was a great way to honor his dad Andre, who passed 19 months ago of a brain anyersum at the age of 42. Andre was a star linebacker on Notre Dame’s last national championship team in 1988.
“You know I just wanted to perform for not only my family, my team but my dad most of all—because I know how much he wanted to be here,” TJ explained after the game. “It’s something—win or lose—I wanted to leave it all on the field.”
TJ says he thought about his dad a lot during the course of the game.
“When times when adversity hit and people were in the dumps, I knew he wouldn’t want me to slump, he wouldn’t want me to get into a rut,” TJ says. “I tried to keep a positive attitude, build the team back up and kept a smile on his face.”
“I just pictured his smile. I pictured him joking—telling me, ‘take it easy—let the game come to you instead of trying to force it.’”
TJ has one more year left at Notre Dame—yet another year to make his dad proud.