Jernigan has big game in Troy loss

Published 11:58 pm Wednesday, January 6, 2010

In the Trojans’ final game of the season against Central Michigan in the GMAC Bowl all eyes were on each of the team’s offenses.

As the game went on however, all eyes quickly focused on one part of the Trojans’ offense.

Junior Jerrel Jernigan has played hard the entire season.

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However, in last night’s bowl game, he seemed to play on an entirely different level.

“I just wanted to go out and play hard, the same thing I do every time I get on the field,” he said.

“I felt like we had to match [Central Michigan’s big plays on offense] with our own big plays, and I felt like I had to step up.”

The wide receiver did more than just step up for the Trojans.

Jernigan was the go-to guy throughout the night for Troy, and it seemed to be Jernigan who had the ball in his hands every time Troy needed a big play.

In the losing effort, Jernigan finished with 350 all-purpose yards.

157 of those yards came on kick returns, while 154 came off his nine receptions.

Jernigan also added 39 rushing yards on six carries.

“I thought we played pretty well during the game, our offense was really clicking in the second half, but we just couldn’t get it done in the end and it hurts,” he said after the game.

For the season, the junior finished with 62 receptions for 947 yards and four touchdowns and had a career-high in average yard per catch with 15.3.

He also finished with 227 yards and one touchdown on the ground thanks to a career-high in carries with 34.

Even though this season has come to an end for Jernigan, the future looks bright for both him and his teammates.

“We have a lot of good players coming back next season,” he said.

“We are losing a lot of leadership, but I know the guys returning will put a lot of work in during the offseason to help Troy get back to a position we were in this season.”