JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A third quarter Jacksonville University comeback came up short as Dayton used 27 second quarter points to pull past Jacksonville, 36-16, Saturday at D.B. Milne Field. The Pioneer Football League loss ended a 10-game home conference win streak for the Dolphins.
"When you lose the turnover battle five to nothing, you're not going to beat a good football team and defending conference champion," said Head Coach Ian Shields. "We need to bounce back and show some resolve, and we will, to get ready for Morehead State next week."
Justin Horton had a career-high two sacks and 10 tackles, and Grady Redding led the Dolphins with 11.5 stops. Ulysses Bryant carried 14 times for a season-best 87 yards. Rylan Wells went 7-16 for a touchdown and three interceptions, and Ryan Giaratano averaged 41.8 yards-per-punt on five attempts.
Jacksonville (2-3, 1-1) commanded the start of the game. Javier Arce-Ramirez finished an opening eight-play 53-yard drive with a 25-yard field goal to lift JU up 3-0 early in the first quarter. The Dolphin defense got out to a hot start and allowed only nine yards in the first quarter, and held Dayton (5-2, 3-1) to 0-3 on third downs.
The second quarter belonged to the visitors. Dayton's Alex Jeske found Matt Tunnacliffe in the left corner of the end zone for Dayton's first third down conversion and score on a third-and-goal from the nine with 13:37 in the second quarter.
The Flyers recovered a fumble on the ensuing kickoff and Tucker Yinger slipped 17 yards to the endzone for the lead.
Dayton scored twice with under a minute left in the half. Jeske found Adam Trautman for a 15-yard catch-and-run. The subsequent PAT was blocked by JU's Tyler Havenner, ending a streak of 71-consecutive conversions by William Will.
After another fumble on a kickoff return, Jeske hit Jack Euritt in the end zone and Dayton led 27-3 heading into halftime.
Jacksonville gained life in the third quarter. After a Will field goal to move him past Billy Cundiff for first all-time in the PFL, Rylan Wells connected with Pernell Rattray for a 78-yard touchdown pass.
Prince Gray returned a Dayton punt for 65 yards to set up a two-yard carry touchdown for Wells to bring the Dolphins back within two scores, 30-16.
Will added two field goals, from 47 and 34 yards, for the only scoring of the fourth quarter.
Jacksonville continues PFL play with a road tilt at Morehead State on Oct. 22 at 1 p.m. in Morehead, Ky.