Two-for-one win as Dolphins drop San Diego

Ulysses Bryant ran for a career-high 168 yards and two touchdowns. (Photo by Skip Tapp - Widespread Photography)
Ulysses Bryant ran for a career-high 168 yards and two touchdowns. (Photo by Skip Tapp - Widespread Photography)

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- If there ever was a time for a two-for-one win for Jacksonville University, it would have been Saturday.

And in beating Pioneer Football League rival San Diego the Dolphins got their two-pack as they also successfully christened their newly renovated D. B. Milne Field complex in one swoop.

A defense that put a vise on the Toreros and a quick striking offense, were the ingredients the Jacksonville University football team used to get its PFL season off to a solid start in the Dolphins' 35-18 win.

The Dolphins (1-1, 1-0) scored on their second and fourth drives to jump to a 14-0 lead only after the defense forced a fumble and three punts on San Diego's first four drives.

Senior wide receiver Andrew Robustelli (Sarasota, Fla.) had the honor of scoring the first touchdown at the new complex on a 16-yard pass in the first quarter and a 5-yard run from sophomore Ulysses Bryant (Jacksonville, Fla.) in the second.

Bryant who scored again in the third quarter, rushed for a career-high 168 yards on 28 carries. The Dolphins had 297 yards on the ground on 57 carries.

"It didn't feel like that much,'' Bryant, who seemed more than mildly surprised at his effort, said. "I was a little sluggish early and it really didn't seem like I had that many yards. I have nothing but love for the offensive line.''

The line led the charge of what became a Dolphin fast strike offense. Of the team's five scoring drives, none lasted more than four minutes.

"We weren't as good as good as we wanted to be,'' head coach Kerwin Bell said. "Our running game was exceptional and (quarterback) Kade Bell (Fleming Island, Fla.) made a few throws. The offensive line, the running backs, all those guys did a terrific job running the ball.

Knocking off the preseason PFL favorite Toreros was a big deal, according to Kerwin Bell.

"They're going to be a great team and it was big for us to win this at home to get off to a great start. Give our players a lot of credit; defensively, offensively, special teams, it was a complete game for us.''

Kade Bell ended the game with 150 yards passing (15-for-24) with one interception and two touchdowns. Running back Orlando Thomas had 79 yards and a score.

While the offense went to quick strike, the JU defense put a vise on the Toreros' (1-1, 0-1) offense making San Diego work for what it got. Of the 16 drives they tried, the longest was of 59 yards.

"We wanted to make them earn it,'' defensive coordinator Jerry Odom said. "The plan was to not give up the big play. They have a young quarterback (Keith Williams) who is going to be good, but we wanted him to use his feet.''

Williams was 11 of 27 for 137 yards and three interceptions along with a touchdown.

Linebacker Montaque Mack (Jacksonville, Fla.) led the Dolphins with seven tackles while redshirt senior Jordan Dewhirst had six and an interception. Freshman Brandon Roe (Douglas, Ga.) had an interception, his second in as many games.

After the Dolphins' early lead, San Diego pulled to within 14-10 but JU scored late in the third quarter (a 4-yard Bryant run) and early in the fourth (Thomas on a 23-yard run) to put the game away. Wide receiver Dorian Guy (Jacksonville,Fla.) ended the scoring with a 23-yard touchdown catch from Bell. Guy led all receivers with three catches for 70 yards.

"That drive going into the fourth quarter was big,'' Kerwin Bell said. "I knew our defense was going to be pretty good and if it keeps playing like that it's going to be tough for our next nine opponents.''

GAME NOTES

  • The 50 rushes by the Dolphins was the first time the team had gone to 50 since Nov. 10, 2012, against Campbell when JU ran 57 times.
  • The 297 yards on the ground came close for the Dolphins to go over the 300-yard mark in successive PFL games. They ended last year with 308 against Stetson.
  • Sophomore place kicker Brandon Behr (Fleming Island, Fla.) who showcased his strong leg in practice last week, was a perfect 5-for-5 with extra points.
  • Saturday's win broke a two-game losing streak to San Diego.