NEWBERRY, S.C. – The Jacksonville University defense had three second half interceptions and recorded a key fourth down stop in the fourth quarter as the Dolphins escaped with a 17-14 win over Newberry Saturday.
The Dolphins, who improved to 2-0 for the first time since 2001, and Wolves (1-1) combined for 601 yards on offense but had a combined 18 punts and the game came down the JU defensive end TJ Jenkins stopping Newberry quarterback Braxton Ivery on an attempted fourth down run at the Wolves' 44-yard line with 2:03 to play. From there, Jacksonville ran the clock out.
"It was a fabulous job by the defense,'' Head Coach Kerwin Bell said. "We didn't have the same juice today as last week for some reason.''
Jacksonville scored for the last time when it took a 17-7 lead with 7:38 to play in the third quarter as quarterback Kade Bell hit sophomore Jamal Adjamah on a 79-yard screen pass, the longest play of the season for the Dolphins.
Newberry put the pressure on Bell in the third quarter causing him to fumble twice while scrambling. The second miscue, as Bell was being sacked, led to Newberry quarterback Braxton Ivery scoring in two plays on an 8-yard run pulling the Wolves to within three at 17-14 with 4:48 to play in the third.
"We had some missed opportunities,'' quarterback Bell said. "I missed some throws and we had some drops … there is plenty to work on.''
For the second consecutive game, the Dolphins scored first when Bell hit Andy Jones on a 21-yard pass with 5:51 to play in the first quarter. The score ended a short three-play 24-yard drive which was set up by a fumbled Newberry punt.
Place kicker Brandon Behr added a 34-yard field goal later in the quarter for a 10-0 lead.
Jacksonville couldn't shake the pesky Division II Wolves and Newberry struck on a 30-yard touchdown pass from Zach Blair to Cole Watson. A 50-yard field goal attempt by Dolphin kicker Brandon Behr was blocked as time expired in the half and the Dolphins went to the break with a 10-7 lead.
During the first half, the Dolphins converted on only two of eight third-down attempts. Bell threw for 157 yards, 115 of them going to Jones.
Bell ended completing 20 of 42 passes for 296 yards and the two touchdowns while Jones led all receivers with seven catches for 135 yards.
Jacksonville is off next week and travels to Marist Sept. 26.