Kentucky was a breakout game for Jemalle Cornelius

When Andre Caldwell was lost for the rest of the season during the second half of the Tennessee game last week, Coach Urban Meyer made it a point to say it is time for Junior Jemalle Cornelius to step up and make himself known. On Saturday, it took less than a football half for Kentucky and the Gators for that point to be cemented by Cornelius.

Cornelius actually made a couple of big catches in the Tennessee game after the injury to Caldwell. However, against Kentucky, he became the "go-to" guy. Cornelius finished with 138 yards on eight catches, leading the Gators in reception yards and recording his personal game high in the process. Cornelius, always the consummate team player, was undoubtedly happy after the game.

"It felt good," he said. "When you are part of the team, you want to do something to contribute. Fortunately I did the opportunity to do that today and it felt real good. Coach always talks about you have to be ready when they call your number. That's what I tried to do in preparing this week. I knew I was going to get some opportunities. I still have to make some improvements to get better."

Meyer was also quite happy about the game Cornelius had. He needed the junior to step up and that's exactly what he did on Saturday.

"I thought Jemalle Cornelius played brilliant," Meyer said. "One guy goes down -- Bubba Caldwell -- the next guy comes in and we challenged him to go harder, and he did."


Jemalle Cornelius #6 of the Florida Gators runs with the ball during the game against the Kentucky Wildcats on September 24, 2005 at Commonwealth Stadium in Lexington, Kentucky. Florida won 49-28. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

"I love Jemalle Cornelius, I love that kid," continued Meyer. "You talk about all the right things. He is about all the right things. I am so proud of him. He has a big ole smile on his face and he had his best day as a Gator."

Meyer was really pleased with his offense in the first half when they scored on seven consecutive possessions to take a 49-7 lead. Cornelius says it's just a matter of time before the Gator offense really gets it cranked up.

"We knew we could do it, it's just a matter of getting it rolling," he said. "It just proves that once we get going, its hard to stop. We just have to build off of this. I think we played off a lot of confidence. Scoring on seven drives in a row like that, it does a lot for the o-line, for the receivers and all. Just knowing you can do it, does a lot for the confidence. Now that we know we can do it, we need to raise the bar and live up to it every game."

The Gators were hoping to get a lead early and get a chance to play some of the players that haven't had much of a chance this season. With a 49-7 halftime lead, a lot of the younger players were in the game early in the second half.

"I think for the most part we did good," Cornelius said. "(Kenneth) Tookes got in and got a catch, Gavin (Dickey) got in there. We rotated a lot of young guys in, (Nyan) Boateng and (Louis) Murphy got to play."

The less inexperienced receivers got some time in real game situations on Saturday and that is in major part because of the play of Jemalle Cornelius. Coach Meyer and the Florida Gators are now looking for Cornelius to step up every game.


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