DAVIDSON, N.C. – Jacksonville University quarterback Rylan Wells rushed for a career-best 110 yards and two scores on 12 carries and threw for 211 yards and a touchdown on 13 completions in a 35-17 Pioneer Football League win at Davidson Saturday at Richardson Stadium.
Jacksonville (4-3, 3-1) rolled up 558 yards of total offense and possessed the football for 37:06 in winning its eighth straight game against Davidson (2-7, 0-6). The Dolphin defense held the Wildcats to just one score in the second half and just 79 rushing yards on 22 carries. Jacksonville went 8-13 on third downs and held Davidson to a 3-12 effort.
"We adjusted to the styles of play we were getting on both sides of the football at halftime," said Head Coach Ian Shields. "That was a good team win. We didn't play our best but the arrow is certainly pointing up on this team."
Jacksonville ran for 340 yards on 60 rushes, led by Wells and Jake Brito's 17 carries for 72 yards. Wells went 13-19 passing and his favorite target was Brian Burnett, who caught five passes in consecutive games and led JU with 101 receiving yards.
Leading 14-10 at the break, the Dolphins controlled the opening drive of the second half with a well-balanced, 11-play, 75-yard drive on the first of a trio of third quarter scoring marches. Wells capped the march with a two-yard plunge.
The Jacksonville defense forced a punt on the ensuing possession, and steamed 85 yards on eight plays to take a 28-10 lead on Irvin Riley's first career score with a five-yard rush.
Jaris Scott cut into the Dolphin momentum with a 73-yard catch-and-run from Stockton McGuire on the first Davidson offensive play following Riley's score, however the shift of excitement was short-lived for the hosts, as the Dolphins amassed yet another scoring drive. This time, it only took four plays to find the end zone when Burnett blazed 38 yards on a receiving touchdown to end the third quarter.
Jacksonville's first trip to the end zone came off an impressive drive. Following an Armani Sampson endzone interception of McGuire, the Dolphins marched 14 plays and 80 yards to take the lead on a seven-yard rush from Pernell Rattraywith 2:52 remaining in the first quarter.
Davidson followed with an 11-play, 75-yard drive that concluded with a Keylan Brown third-and-goal six-yard run.
It briefly looked like a similar offensive shootout in last week's win at Morehead State, with JU answering on a seven-play, 73-yard scoring march. Wells finished the drive on forceful 15-yard rushing score, and ran for 69 yards on just seven carries in the first half.
"The game is slowing down for Rylan. He's a calm, cool customer who is getting more comfortable in our system," said Shields.
Davidson was held to a field goal on the following drive, ending the first half scoring with a 35-yarder by Trevor Smith with 7:06 remaining in the half.
Jacksonville returns home with a 1 p.m. kickoff against Drake on Nov. 5.