Julio Had Good Statistics In Loss

There might have been a little conversation about Julio Jones this week, except for a couple of minor details. One, another receiver playing in the game was more spectacular than Jones. More important, Jones was on the wrong end of a spanking.

Alabama junior wide receiver Julio Jones has been the favorite whipping boy of various journalists and broadcasters for the past year and a half. Oh, sure, there were occasional retreats from criticism, such as when he had a handful of clutch catches in Alabama's come-from-behind win at Auburn last year. Everyone, though, seems to have a better prospect for all-star recognition.

Not counting coaches and players, that is. Julio (one name suffices) is a major player when opposing teams are scheming against Alabama. And even with the pressure to play the runs of Bama tailbacks Mark Ingram and Trent Richardson, Julio draws special attention. Two defensive backs tracking Jones is one reason Bama quarterback Greg McElroy was able to connect with Darius Hanks on a 51-yard touchdown against South Carolina Saturday.

It was an overall miserable effort by the Crimson Tide in the 35-21 loss to the Gamecocks at Columbia, Bama's first loss of the season. But Jones had a very fine day.

Unfortunately, in addition to the loss, South Carolina's Alshon Jeffrey, the leading receiver in the Southeastern Conference going into the game, had an excellent afternoon, too. Jeffrey had seven receptions for 127 yards and two touchdowns and he had three spectacular catches.

Thus, Julio's eight receptions for 118 yards and a touchdown went almost unnoticed.

Even what has become his normal lapse and drop of an easy pass wasn't a problem because five plays later, on a third-and-goal from the eight-yard line, McElroy rifled a high pass deep in the end zone and Jones went up for it and pulled it down for his third touchdown of the season.

The game marked the sixth time Jones has had receptions for over 100 yards. His top two performances came in 2008, accounting for 128 yards against LSU and 124 in the SEC Championship Game against Florida. Last Saturday's total was his third best career effort.

Jones now has 32 receptions for 440 yards and three touchdowns in helping Bama to a 5-1 record (2-1 in SEC games).

Jones was also used on kickoff returns (he didn't have a return as all kicks went to Trent Richardson), but was not used on punt returns Saturday. Marquis Maze handled punt returns. Jones had been day-to-day with a knee injury up until a couple of days before the trip to South Carolina.

Next up for Bama and the Crimson Tide is Saturday's homecoming game against Ole Miss.

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