If ever there has been a highly important non-championship-game-implications season finale for the JU football team, it would be Saturday at D. B. Milne Field when Drake comes to town.
Let’s start with Senior Day when 17 players will be making their final stand for the Dolphins and caps a quite emotional week for the team which included each senior speaking to the team after practices.
Not only is it emotional for the team, but coaches, too.
“It’s a very emotional week for me,’’ JU coach Kerwin Bell said. “It hurts to see them end their careers here. We like to have our seniors go out winners so I am looking for everyone to play their best game.’’
While the game has no Pioneer Football League championship implications for the Dolphins (7-3, 5-2) it certainly does for the Bulldogs (7-3, 6-1) who, with a win, would share the title with at least Butler (if needed, San Diego will play a make up game at Marist on Dec. 1).
Seeing how Drake ended JU’s record 16-game PFL win streak last season and owns a 9-2 series advantage, this would be good time for the Dolphins to get a little revenge and have Drake feel that “there goes our championship hopes’’ feeling.
“We’ve experienced that at Butler (two weeks ago) where you get that pit in your stomach that you walk around with three, four or five days and we don’t want to have that feeling to end the season,’’ Bell said. “We’ve got a chance to spoil their season and they’ve been a thorn in our side the last couple of years.’’
In order to do that, the Dolphins are going to have to overcome a loaded team that has the reigning PFL Offensive Player of the Year in senior quarterback Mike Piatkowski.
“He’s real methodical and call a lot of his own plays,’’ Bell said. “They’ll take their shots but he dinks and dunks down the field. It’s hard to get to him because he gets rid of it so fast but we’ve got to get in his face and cause him to get disrupted.’’
Piatkowski has thrown for 2,996 yards and 20 touchdowns this season with only nine interceptions.
Nonetheless, Bell says, the Dolphins might have a shot if they can stay away from missed assignments which caused two touchdowns for Campbell last week.
“We can’t bust, they’re too good a team and we’ve got to make them earn everything,’’ he said. “We had too busted assignments last week and it’s pretty simple, we’ve been working on it since preseason.’’
Offensively, the goal is simple. More production.
“We’ve thrown one touchdown in three games and have got to get some production out of our passing game,’’ Bell said. “We have got to have more balance and we’ve got to have some explosive plays in the passing game.’’
Kickoff is set for 1:06 p.m. and the game will be shown on CW17 television. It also will be broadcast on 92.5FM radio with the pregame show beginning at 12:30 p.m.