Dolphins Ready to Battle No. 3 Southeastern in 2014 Opener Saturday Night

Dolphins Ready to Battle No. 3 Southeastern in 2014 Opener Saturday Night

 

 

The 2014 football season has arrived for Jacksonville University and the Dolphins are poised to make a statement as they travel to Louisiana to face third ranked Southeastern on Saturday evening.  

'Fin Facts

  • 2014 marks the 17th year for Jacksonville University football and the eighth under Head Coach Kerwin Bell
  • Jacksonville has eight starters back on offense, including nearly the entire receiving core from an attack that ended 2013 ranked third in the nation with 41.8 points per game. The Dolphins were also top 10 nationally in total offense (5th; 522.7 ypg), passing offense (6th; 331.5 ypg) and red zone offense (7th; .886)
  • On defense five starters return, but more importantly the Dolphins welcome back four 2014 opening day starters that missed last season to injury
  • This marks the second season the Pioneer Football League regular season champion will receive an automatic bid to the FCS playoffs
  • Jacksonville was picked third in the preseason PFL coaches poll. The Dolphins received the second most first place votes.
  • Three players were named to the Preseason All-PFL squad: WR Andrew Robustelli (51 receptions, 1,063 yards, 11 TDs) was named to The Sports Network's Preseason All-America squad as well. Lineman Maroa White (55 tackles, 9 sacks) and linebacker Mike Klein (76 tackles) complete the selections
  • The Dolphins are receiving votes in the preseason FCS Top 25Coaches' Poll

The Series

  • This is the fourth all-time meeting between the two teams with Southeastern holding a 3-0 series lead
  • The two teams previous met in 2003 (Hammond, La.), 2004 (Jacksonville, Fla.) and 2006 (Hammond, La.). A 2005 meeting was canceled due to Hurricane Katrina


Radio Coverage

  • 92.5 FM (Scott Manze)
  • Download the 92.5 app on your smartphone and listen to the game anywhere in the nation


The Opponent

  • Southeastern is coming off an 11-3 season highlighted by a Southland Conference championship and advancing to the quarterfinals in their first-ever NCAA Football Championship Subdivision playoff appearance
  • The Lions are the favorite to repeat as the Southland Conference champions and currently sit at No. 3 in both the FCS Coaches and Sports Network polls
  • The Lions return 15 preseason All-Southland Conference players from last season's team. Walter Payton Award candidate and SLU senior quarterback Bryan Bennett leads an explosive offense, while junior defensive back Harlan Miller, a Buck Buchanan Award candidate, is among the leaders of a deep, talented defense

Up Next

  • The Dolphins will be idle next weekend before opening the home portion of the 2014 slate on Sept. 13 against San Diego.

 

Offensive Notes

All-American Robustelli Leads Deep Receiving Core

  • Senior wide receiver Andrew Robustelli (Sarasota, Fla.) rewrote a number of Jacksonville University records a year ago, now the rest of the nation is starting to take notice. Robustelli was named a preseason All-American by The Sports Network and the Beyond Sports Network as well as a preseason third team pick for The Sports Network
  • A preseason second team pick for BSN, Robustelli is looking to build on a 2013 season in which he ranked nationally in receiving TDs (15th; 11 TDs), receiving yards (21st; 1,063 yards) and yards per game (13th; 96.6 ypg).
  • Last season he was named to Walter Camp's 2013 Football Championship Subdivision All-America team, the College Sports Madness All-American FCS Football Second Team and the Beyond Sports Network All-American Fourth Team
  • As a team the Dolphins return 9 of their top 10 receivers based on receptions a year ago

Top Returning Receivers
Player     Pos.     Yr.     '13 Stats
Andrew Robustelli    WR    Sr.    51 rec., 1063 yards, 11 TDs
D'Andre Randle    WR    Sr.    50 rec, 865 yards, 9 TDs
Andy Jones    WR    Jr.    31 rec, 457 yards, 2 TDs
Yeovanti Williams    WR    R.-Jr.    14 rec, 228 yards, 2 TDs
Dorrian Guy    WR    Sr.    9 rec, 156 yards, 2 TDs*
*missed eight games to injury

Bell Back to Ignite Offense

  • Redshirt-junior quarterback Kade Bell (Fleming Island, Fla.) returns for his third full year under center
  • Despite missing three games to an emergency appendectomy three games into the middle of last season, Kade, the son of Head Coach Kerwin Bell, threw for 25 touchdowns and over 2300 yards in eight games
  • Bell had four games with four touchdown passes in 2013, including the season opener at Delaware
  • He led the league in total offense per game last year, was second in passing yards, third in TDs and third in pass efficiency


Caudio & Bryant to Carry the Backfield

  • Junior Frantz Caudio (Fleming Island, Fla.) and sophomore Ulysses Bryant (Jacksonville, Fla.) will carry the load in the backfield for the Dolphins again in 2014
  • Caudio is looking to build upon a strong finish to 2013 when he totaled 305 yards rushing and four TDs over the final three games of the season
  • Bryant meanwhile led the Dolphins with 710 yards in 2013 giving him the second most by a JU freshman running back in school history (747; Greg Portee, 1998)
  • Junior Orlando Thomas (Ocoee, Fla.) who ran for 392 yards in the backfield last fall has been moved out to wide receiver for 2014

 

Defensive Notes

Dolphins hope to Squash 2013 Injury Bug

  • The Dolphins defense had the unfortunate pleasure of keeping the JU Athletic Training staff on speed dial in 2013 with the injures that depleted the roster throughout the season
  • Best news with the start of 2014 is that injuries have healed and four key players who missed the majority if not all of the past year are back in the starting lineup

Returning From Injury
Player     Pos.     Yr.     Notes:
Jordan Dewhirst    LB    R-Sr.    2012 1st Team All-PFL
            Led JU with 57 total tackles in 2012
            Injured in 2013 season opener
Tre Davis    LB    R-Jr.    2012 2nd Team All-PFL
            2nd on JU with 53 tackles in 2012
            Missed all of 2013 to injury
Terrance Bryant    DB    Jr.    Missed all but 3 games in 2013
            Was also leading PR in 2012
TJ Jenkins    DE    R-Jr.    Missed all of 2013 to injury
            25 tackles, two sacks in 2012

Klein & White Anchor Defensive Returners

  • Both Second Team All-PFL picks a year ago, senior Mike Klein (Edgewater, Fla.) and junior Maroa While (DeLand, Fla.) are the only two returners on defense from 2013 that started all 11 games a year ago
  • White ranked 10th in the nation a year ago with an average of 0.82 sacks a game, totaling nine on the season. His sack total was also the highest by a JU player since the legendary Shaun Lewis had 10 in the 2008 season
  • Klein finished with a team high 76 tackles ranking him 16th in the PFL

Top Returning Defenders
Player     Pos.     Yr.     '13 Stats
Maroa White    DE    Jr.    9 sacks, 12 TFL
Mike Klein    LB    R-Sr.    76 tackles, 7 TFL. 3 PBU
Grady Redding    LB    So.    67 tackles, 5.5 TFL
Anthony Joiner    LB    R-Sr.    43 tackles, 4 TFL
Schon Thomas    CB    R-Sr.    28 tackles, 5 PBU