Catches 12 passes for 221 yards
By Michael Casagrande
Special to the Ledger-Enquirer
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — A week after seeing limited action with a recently broken hand, Julio Jones was back in heavy rotation Saturday night.
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It was heavy enough to break the school’s single-game receiving yards record.
Catching 12 passes for 221 yards, Jones’ left hand didn’t keep him from breaking David Palmer’s record set 17 years ago against Vanderbilt.
The onslaught started early.
The Alabama leading receiver had three passes thrown his way in the Crimson Tide’s opening possession, catching two. The third catch was off target and bounced off his hands on third-and-6.
By the end of the first quarter, he had five catches and 44 yards. At halftime, his stat line included eight catches for 107 yards.
“We’re going to need him because they’re playing a lot of man-to-man and they’re doing a lot of pressuring,” Tide coach Nick Saban said at halftime.
And he responded right away.
He hauled in a 38-yard pass on the first play of the third quarter and a 19-yarder two plays later to set up Mark Ingram’s 1-yard touchdown run that put the Tide ahead 20-10. His big game Saturday pushed him past Ozzie Newsome (2,070) and into second place on the all-time receiving yards list. Jones had 2,075 at halftime but still trails DJ Hall, who leads with 2,923.
Jones left last week’s game against Mississippi after having three passes thrown his way and catching one. The third bent the index finger on his left hand, stretching the stitches from the surgery he had earlier in the week to add a plate and screws to the hand.
The injury was initially suffered early against South Carolina, but Jones played through it, catching eight passes for 118 yards and a touchdown.
Jones also returned to the kickoff-return team after not playing special teams last week. The regular punt returner, Jones again yielded to Marquis Maze against the Vols.