JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville University football coach Kerwin Bell says his team has had a bit of a chip on its collective shoulder this year and if the upcoming road trips don't do anything to broaden the chip, not much will.
The Dolphins (4-1, 3-0 Pioneer Football League) hit the road for the first of a five-game road trip spanning more than 5,200 miles when they travel to Kentucky to meet Morehead State (2-3, 1-1) Saturday (1 p.m.).
"Here's another big challenge to go on the road again,'' Bell said. "I told our defense it's going to be a challenge for them. They've done a lot of great things, but now they're facing one of the best offenses in this league, one of the top quarterbacks. It's going to test for our guys.''
Morehead State is second in the league, right behind Jacksonville, in total offense for all games and leads the PFL in passing offense. Sophomore quarterback Austin Gahafer , who started as a freshman, has thrown for 1,295 yards and nine touchdowns and is completing passes at a 62.3 percent clip (132 of 212).
Redshirt junior wide receiver Tanner Napier (20 catches, 275 yards), redshirt senior Cyrus Strahm (20-232) and redshirt sophomore Jake Raymond (24-189) are Gahafer's preferred targets.
Jackosnville junior safety Terrance Bryant (Fort Walton Beach, Fla.) knows he and his secondary mates are going against a high-powered passing game with Gahafer's ability combined with the catching crew.
"They have a good quarterback back there,'' Bryant said. "He played last year and he's pretty shifty back there. Their receivers are pretty tall and they run their routes well. They are crisp route runners who can find ways to get open. They're disciplined.''
Despite his team's strong start, Bell hasn't been happy all week with the Dolphin offensive performance in last week's 29-14 win over Drake.
"We don't stand for what we did last Saturday we're a little bit embarrassed the way we performed.,'' he said. "Twenty-nine points aren't enough for us, we've got to play better.''
He does, however, like the attitude his team has shown so far.
"We've had a great chip on our shoulder and the word is don't lost that chip,'' he said. "Human nature is a scary thing. When people start having success, people start talking about you, you can't take it to the cocky level. You take it to the confidence level where you know you're going to get it done but still respect your opponent. If you do the work during the week and you go through the process of getting yourself ready, then you can have the confidence all you want because you'll go out there and play well because you have prepared yourself.''
The game can be heard on 92.5FM with Scott Manze with the pregame show starting at 12:30 p.m. Download the app on your smart phone and catch the Dolphins in action anywhere in the nation.
- With last week's win, Jacksonville is now on a four-game run, the longest since a six-game win streak in 2012.
- The win over Drake gave coach Kerwin Bell his 40th Pioneer Football League victory at JU.
- JU leads the PFL in total offense at 424.8 yards per game. The Dolphins also lead the league in fourth down conversions (six of eight, 75 percent)
- Quarterback Kade Bell (Fleming Island, Fla.) has 12 touchdown passes, ninth best in the nation and first in the PFL. He passed the 5,000-yard career passing mark against Drake.
- Linebacker DJ Howard (Daytona Beach, Fla.) was named PFL co-Defensive Player of the Week.
- For the second week, the Dolphins have received votes in The Sports Network FCS poll.