JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville wasted no time and raced out to an early lead that it never relinquished in a 58-13 dismantling of Valparaiso to close its season. The Dolphins (9-2, 6-2) lead 41-6 at the half behind big plays on offense, defense, and special teams, and ended the day with 576 yards of total offense.
"We battled the whole year and it all comes back to that senior class with great leaders. They are powerful guys who never gave up in tough situations," said Head Coach Kerwin Bell. "I knew that we were going to bring our A-game for our seniors and we did."
The Dolphins scored their first of seven touchdowns on a 42-yard strike from Rylan Wells to Austin Leach with 09:49 in the first quarter, which was set up by Josh Celerin's first interception of the season. On the ensuing possession, Jacksonville blocked its first punt and returned it for a score since its 2010 matchup at Valparaiso when Armani Sampson raced 56 yards to the house with 06:49 in the first quarter.
After a 39-yard field goal by Valparaiso's (1-9, 1-7) Jacob Newman, Ulysses Bryant rumbled in from 27 yards out for his fourth rushing touchdown of the season.
Newman again was true from 33 yards with 03:40 left in the half, but Jacksonville scored twice late on a 32-yard touchdown reception by Andy Jones and a 30-yard field goal by Brandon Behr, which moved him past Dylan Lynch for the Jacksonville career record. Jones would finish with four receptions for 79 yards.
Adjamah and Orlando Thomas each hit pay dirt on rushing touchdowns to open up the third quarter, and Brandon Behr hit his 27th career field goal from 20 yards out with 14:38 in the fourth quarter to give the Dolphins a 58-6 lead.
Adjamah would finish with 93 yards on just seven carries and Thomas led all rushers with 116 yards on six rushes. Wells went 15-26 through the air to nine different receivers for 280 yards and two scores and no interceptions.
The Jacksonville defense held Valparaiso to 8-20 on third downs and had two sacks, giving JU a sack in each of its last 33 games.
The Dolphins finished 9-2 for the second consecutive year and the senior class, 16 of which were honored in a pregame ceremony, concluded their career with 30 wins, good for third most in program history.