KNOXVILLE, Tenn. | As the Tennessee crowd filed out of Neyland Stadium in the fourth quarter, Alabama wide receiver Julio Jones made another catch, his 12th of the night, good for 47 yards down the field.
The Alabama fans took the stadium from the home team fans, cheering out Jones’ name.
“They weren’t booing me,” Jones said. “They just call me, ‘Juuuu.’”
For the junior out of Foley, it was a record night. Though Jones didn’t have any touchdowns against Tennessee, he made 12 catches for 221 yards. His performance ranks second in Alabama history for most catches in a game. Former wide DJ Hall holds the record with 13.
Jones now holds the record for the most yards receiving in a game, breaking David Palmer’s record of 217 yards against Vanderbilt in 1993.
Jones said breaking the record felt all right, while giving credit to the offensive line and quarterback Greg McElroy.
“It’s just a goal, but now I just have to try and match that, just week in and week out,” Jones said.
Two weeks ago against South Carolina, Jones broke his left hand early in the game and had surgery on it the next day. But the next Saturday against Ole Miss, Jones was back in the game for a bit.
After the Tennessee game, Jones said his hand hurt, but he played through it.
“It hurts,” he said. “Everybody hurts. It’s football. So, you just have to be a man and go out there and play. It’s just something you have to block out. It isn’t only me out there playing. Ten other guys are out there counting on me to make plays.”
Head coach Nick Saban said Jones did a fantastic job against the Tennessee defense.
“They were playing him man-to-man,” he said. “They were helping in the middle with a safety. They did a really good job a times, but they were really kind of squatting on the routes, so we had no choice but to try to throw it over their head. Greg made some great throws, and Julio made some great catches.”
For most of the night, the Tennessee defense was playing man-to-man coverage, and Jones said coming into the game, the Tide was expecting it.
“They played man on [Georgia wide receiver] AJ Green, so we figured they’d play man on me,” he said.
Safety Robert Lester, who graduated with Jones from Foley High School, said he’s always expected great things from the wide receiver.
“Julio has been a great athlete,” Lester said. “Me and him playing at the same high school, I was just waiting for him to have an outbreak like that because I know he’s capable of it. I was just sitting there waiting for it to happen.”