Halfway through season, things right on track

JU coach Kerwin Bell won his 50th game at the school earlier this season
JU coach Kerwin Bell won his 50th game at the school earlier this season

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – With halftime of last Saturday's game against Morehead State, the Jacksonville University football team hit the halfway point of its season.

With a 5-1 record overall and 4-0 in the pioneer Football League, things seem to be on track as the Dolphins head to Stetson (2-4, 0-2) this week on the second of five consecutive road trips.

"It's gone about how I thought it would,'' Jacksonville coach Kerwin Bell said. " thought we'd play better that first game (a 44-3 loss to then third-ranked Southeastern Louisiana). We got off to a rough start down 21-0 just like that. We didn't handle that well early. Once we got in the game we played pretty well to them and that gave us confidence coming out of that game.''

Bell said the team's attitude after the game was "great'' and it led to an off week of hard work which, in turn, has led to a five-game win streak.

"We worked extremely hard that off week and from there we have built consistent momentum, he said. "Beating San Diego, a really good team; coming back against Penn, an Ivy League school that hadn't been done before, I thought that built momentum and confidence.''

The team then took out Butler and Drake, two teams that have given the Dolphins fits the past several seasons.

Bell said he sensed what was to happen early on.

"Coming out of camp I felt we had an opportunity to get to 4-1 at least going into October,'' he said. "I like where we're at and I'm really pleased we showed that tenacity and that will to win. If we had won these games easily and looked great that wouldn't have impressed me as much as when we were down against Penn and seeing that determination to win.''

Another key point was against San Diego when Jacksonville had fumbles back-to-back but stayed together.

"Nobody pointed a finger, that's what I'm proud of,'' Bell said. "There are going to be some down moments. To win a championship there are a lot of ups and a lot of downs all those scenarios, and what makes me feel good about the team we have, is we are going to find a way to overcome those things because we're going to stay together.''

Now, the team has its sights set on the bigger picture.

"Our view of this season is we don't care about being 1-0, 3-0, beating this team or that team, we want to show the entire league, through the whole season's body of work what kind of team we can put together here,'' Bell said. "We're not just a bunch of individual players that everybody in the league thinks we are sometimes, that's the word. We want to show that if we play together as a team then we want to see what that body of work consists of. We're nowhere near that. We're 4-1 and that doesn't do anything for us. We need to finish 10-1 and show them the entire body of work.''

Game time at Stetson is 6 p.m.