"I played Julio two years and he probably knows how I play," said Peterson. "I know how he plays. It's gonna be another battle."
Last season's battle came down to two fourth-quarter plays, and Peterson never had a chance on the first. Peterson had helped the Tigers' secondary limit Jones to two catches for just 19 yards to that point, but Jones said he didn't realize that Peterson was on the sideline fighting cramps -- a condition Peterson has battled throughout his career.
With 10 1/2 minutes remaining, and LSU strong safety Brandon Taylor lined up on Jones, Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy looked right then turned left and fired at Jones with a screen pass. Jones made Taylor miss as he slipped up the sideline and zipped away to a 73-yard touchdown. He finished with four catches for 102 yards.
"I noticed early in the game he was cramping up," Jones said of Peterson. "I didn't know he was out, though. It was a perfect play call. It wasn't anything like I did something amazing."
The next critical play came with 5:54 left in the game with the ball inside LSU territory, McEloy fired a pass toward Jones, but just before the ball touched Jones' gloves, Peterson raced in to steal the ball for an apparent interception.
After an official review and much television debate surrounding an apparent divot by Peterson to prove he made the catch inbounds, the pass was ruled incomplete.
Tiger fans wondered if LSU could have rallied had the interception stood. Alabama went on to win 24-15.
LSU, ranked No. 10 in the BCS Standings, can salvage its season with an upset of the No. 6-ranked Crimson Tide. The Tide is favored by six points.
An Alabama win could keep the Tide on pace to play for the SEC championship, and then the national championship.
Tigers coach Les Miles said he plans to rotate players on Jones, so it's unclear how much Peterson will actually go one-on-one with Jones.
"I'm not saying that we will shadow Jones," said Miles. "It will be mix and match. Hopefully at the right times we'll have Patrick on him, and at other times we'll have other guys on him. I don't feel bad about having other guys on him."
Peterson is a skilled returner. He's fourth nationally on punt returns (19,7) and 19th nationally on kickoff returns (27.4), He also has 2o tackles and two interceptions.
"Patrick Peterson is one of the best defensive backs in the country," said Tide coach Nick Saban. "He's a physical guy, he's got great athletic ability, good size and speed for his position, but he's also a very instinctive, good player all around.
"He's got great ball skills, good ball judgment, is a good tackler and he can cover. Those are the three critical factors for a defensive back and he's got them all covered. He's also done a fantastic job this year in the return game for them being a weapon."
Patrick Peterson and Alabama safety Mark Barron will be on opposite sidelines on Saturday in Death Valley.
They're two of the 10 finalists for the 2010 Jim Thorpe Award, which is presented annually to the top defensive back in college football.
Peterson is considered the top NFL draft prospect at cornerback in the country. He leads the SEC in punt returns and has two interceptions although opposing teams don't throw in his area. He also has a blocked field goal.
Barron leads Alabama with 52 total tackles, including three for loss, and has two interceptions and one forced fumble.
SOME HITHER, OTHERS YON: The Redskins worked out quarterback JaMarcus Russell on Tuesday. He weighed 286 and wasn't the only failed first-rounder who worked out for the 'Skins on Tuesday. Former Tulane and Bills quarterback J, P, Losman got a shot, too. Former Saints defensive end Charles Grant, another former first-rounder, also worked out with the Skins...
by Ed Staton
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