NEWARK, Del. – You can't put a price tag on experience. The memories are not fond enough to place at the end of a MasterCard commercial, but the Jacksonville football team is hoping the second go-around at Delaware Stadium ends in a Hollywood-quality finish.
Tubby Raymond Field at Delaware Stadium holds a raucous 22,000 fanatics on game day and with a fan base antsy to break a four-year drought from the FCS playoffs, there's no reason to think the Blue Hen faithful won't stretch their vocal cords to the limit at tonight's 7 p.m. kickoff.
Quarterback Kade Bell and the Dolphins won't be fazed. Just two years ago, the Dolphins fell 51-35 to the Blue Hens in a game that players and coaches are quick to tell you that just a handful of plays separated Jacksonville from a monumental road victory.
"Playing there before gives you a lot of confidence. We went up there and put some points on the board but turned it over some. If we cut down on the turnovers, move the ball and let our defense keep us in the game we'll have a chance to surprise some people," said Bell.
In that game, the Dolphin offense paved its way into the single–game record books with 611 yards, five touchdowns, and 33 first downs. The points, total yards, and touchdowns stand fifth all-time and the 33 first downs are third-most in program history.
Tonight's game will be far from a game of chicken. Delaware, a Colonial Athletic Association scholarship football squad that went 6-6 last year, again features behemoths on both sides of the line of scrimmage. The offensive line averages close to 6-5, 285 pounds and the defensive lineman average out at 6-2, 280 pounds and would be more if not for 250-pound end Vince Hollerman.
The veteran Dolphins, however, feel better suited to counter their opponent this game with a larger offensive line, better defensive depth, speed, and playing experience. Jacksonville will look to create a balanced attack on offense and roll in many players on defense to stay fresh.
"If you can establish a balance with your system you'll have a chance against anybody. We're going to play fast," said Head Coach Kerwin Bell.
A Dolphin triumph tonight would give Jacksonville its first win in a kickoff game since a 2010 road win at Old Dominion. Fans can catch the action online starting with a pregame show at 6: 30 p.m. on http://mixlr.com/judolphins/.
"We're ready to go up there and give them our best shot," said Kerwin Bell.