NEWARK, Del. -- Jacksonville built a 14-0 first quarter advantage but was unable to keep the momentum going Thursday night, In front of 19,120 at Tubby Raymond Field, Delaware came from behind to hand the Dolphins a 51-35 defeat in the 2013 season opener for both teams.
"I loved the way we hung together, made plays and stayed in the football game," said JU head coach Kerwin Bell. "We're going to be a good team. I loved our effort and the way we played. We hung in there together tonight. We have enough weapons and we continue to develop as a team we have a chance to have a good season."
Sophomore quarterback Kade Bell (Fleming Island, Fla.) threw for 261 yards and equaled a career best with four touchdowns on 18 of 34 of. Junior wideout Andrew Robustelli(Sarasota, Fla.) had a career night totaling five catches for 101 yards and two touchdowns.
JU built the 14-0 lead on a pair of TD passes from Bell to Robustelli and to sophomore D'Andre Randle (Miami, Fla.). The Dolphins set up both scores by taking advantage of fumbles on special teams. The first was recovered by senior Andre Addison (Cresent City, Fla.) on a punt giving the Dolphins possession inside the UD 20.
After the 21 yard strike to Robustelli, DJ Howard (Daytona Beach, Fla.) forced a second fumble on the ensuing kickoff setting up JU on the 13 yard line. One play and seven seconds later, Bell found Randle for the score and brought the hometown crowd to a hush.
Using a misdirection offense the Blue Hens climbed back in during the second quarter scoring on back-to-back possession to even the score at 14-14.
Bell then found Robustelli over the middle for a career long 57-yard reception and a 21-14 JU lead. UD answered back once again to tie the game at 21-21 in the closing minutes of the first half.
Delaware would continue to keep the JU defense off balanced and controlled time of possession in the third quarter by a 10:00-5:00 margin. With their offense in the driver's seat, the Blue Hen's scored 17 unanswered points to grab a 38-21 lead in the opening seconds of the fourth quarter.
"There were a couple of tough turnovers we had on offense there in the second half that hurt," added Bell. "If we wouldn't have had those we might be able to make a little more of a game of it there at the end."
JU didn't give up the fight using a 63-yard interception return by Antonio McRae (Palatka, Fla.) and a 36 yard pass from Bell to Andy Jones (Clermont, Fla.) to keep it close in the fourth quarter.
Ed Foley (Port St. Lucie, Fla.) led the defense with a career best 12 tackles. Addison and Mike Klein (Edgewater, Fla.) also had career high posting 10 tackles each.
Jacksonville returns to action next Saturday, Sept. 7 at Jacksonville State. Dolphin fans can listen on 92.5 FM as the new voice of JU Football Richard Miller brings you all the action.