JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – With one streak out of the way, the Jacksonville University football team looks to snap another and extend a third as it plays host to Drake in Homecoming Saturday.
The Dolphins (3-1, 2-0 PFL) broke a two-game losing streak to Butler last week and now look to snap a three game skid against the Bulldogs (2-2, 1-0) in the 1 p.m. game. At the same time, JU is looking to add to its 10-game Homecoming win streak.
"Snapping the streak from last week keeps the momentum going for our season,'' JU coach Kerwin Bells said. "Your confidence continues to rise, especially with a three-game winning streak. We won on the road and in our conference and before that beat a great team in San Diego, all those things keep building momentum for us.''
This week's game will give the winner a big leg up on the Pioneer Football League race with both teams unbeaten in the conference. It's also the next-to-last home game for JU which heads out for five consecutive weeks on the road beginning next week.
"This is big for us, it's Homecoming,'' Bell said. "We've only got four of these home games this year to show the fans what kind of team we have and our kids are going to be ready to play. It's like I told them: we aren't trying to find out who we are; we don't have to worry about that. We know who we are. I've seen it three games in a row out of this team. We're a disciplined team that will hit you in the mouth, play physical and we've got a great defense, a great offense and young special teams with players that are getting better and better and we'll make some plays there.''
Indeed both the JU offense and defense seem to be progressing at a good clip as the season moves on.
The offense racked up 611 yards against Butler last week and quarterback Kade Bell (Fleming Island, Fla.) has thrown for 939 yards and 11 touchdowns this season. Wide receiver Andrew Robustelli (Sarasota, Fla.) leads the receivers with 212 yards and four touchdowns.
The JU defense held the Bulldogs to seven points in the 35-7 win and has become well-versed in avoiding big plays. Butler had only two plays that went for more than 25 yards.
Even though the Bulldogs have a first-year coach in Rick Fox, Bell says he sees similarities in this year's team and the teams that have thumped the Dolphins three times.
"They're big up front, always have a back that can get tough yards and have a senior quarterback (Andy Rice) who has a lot of experience,'' Bell said. Rice has complete 83 of 147 passes for 783 yards with five interceptions and three touchdowns
The Drake defense gave up only 211 yards and recorded five sacks in its 21-6 PFL opening win over Marist two weeks ago and had last week off.