Make a key catch?
You got it.
Recover a critical fumble?
Morph into a defensive back?
Jones pushes to get the Hoosiers (5-4) to a second straight bowl game, something that hasn’t happened since the early 1990s, and it starts by accepting enough responsibility for three players.
“I’ve got to be a wide receiver leader. I play on kickoffs, punt returns, and sometimes I have to play defensive back and get a few pass breakups. I’m an offensive leader. A team leader. It goes on. I have a lot of roles, but I’m OK with that.”
Jones has been solid all season (he has 40 catches for 681 yards and two touchdowns), but has gone into over-drive the last few weeks, flying all over the field to play his best ball in his final season.
“He’s been playing great as a senior down the stretch,” coach Kevin Wilson said. “He’s had a lot of juice and energy.”
For Jones, it’s about ending with a bang.
“Once you realize your time is coming to an end, you have no choice. Whatever this team needs, I’ll do. If they need me to play defense, I will. If they need special teams, I will. Even when I’m tired, I don’t have a choice. We have to win.
“I can’t complain. I hate losing that much. Coach told me (NFL scouts) are looking at what I do on special teams as well as receiver. I’m willing to do whatever it takes.”
Jones is part of a strong receiving group that also includes Mitchell Paige, Nick Westbrook, Luke Timian, Donovan Hale and, more and more, Camion Patrick.
“I have the best receivers in the nation,” quarterback Richard Lagow said. “We have great chemistry. We have a great relationship on and of the field. I spend most of my time with those guys. We started clicking on the field when we started clicking off the field.”
Despite the well-documented offensive struggles, IU is positioned to have a 3,000-yard passer, a 1,000-yard rusher and at least one 1,000-yard receiver.
Lagow has thrown for 2,574 yards, 15 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Devine Redding has rushed for 793 yards. Westbrook has 41 catches for 708 yards.
Lagow, who threw two interceptions against Rutgers, is tied with Purdue’s David Blough for the most picks by a Big Ten quarterback.
“You have to forget about it, and move on,” Lagow said. “College football is crazy. Some wild things happen. You just have to keep playing.”
Next up is No. 12 Penn State (7-2), which has won five straight games, in part because it has finally found an offense (103 points in the last two games).
The Nittany Lions utilize a spread attack with Big Ten rushing leader Saquon Barkley (1,055 yards, 11 touchdowns) and dual threat quarterback Trace McSorley.
“It’s a very balanced attack,” defensive coordinator Tom Allen said. “They have maybe the most complete running back in the Big Ten. He has tremendous speed. And because of the quarterback’s skill set and his ability to run and throw, it makes it tough.”
The Nittany Lions will come after Lagow. They have 18 sacks in their last three games.
IU needs one more win to become bowl eligible. Wilson doesn’t want that to become a distraction.
“(The players) are going to read things, hear things, everybody has Twitter, everybody follows whatever, so they’re going to hear comments,” Wilson said. “You just have to make sure the comments don’t distract you from doing your job.
“This is a strong challenge. It’s going to take our best effort.”
UP NEXT: Penn State at Indiana
Kickoff: Noon, Saturday
TV: ABC (ESPN2)
ONLINE: For more on sports, follow Pete DiPrimio via Twitter at www.twitter.com/pdiprimio