Dolphins Sully Campbell Homecoming in 3OT Thriller

Photo: Bennett Scarborough
Photo: Bennett Scarborough

BUIES CREEK, N.C. – Turnovers were the straw that broke the Camels' back, as Jacksonville University roared back from a 14-point deficit to defeat Campbell, 54-48, at Barker-Lane Stadium in triple overtime.

Lamar Washington, Prince Gray and Irvin Riley recorded touchdowns in the extra periods, before the Dolphin defense forced a four-and-out on Campbell's final opportunity.  

By the end of regulation, Jacksonville was credited with four forced turnovers and scored 10 points on the miscues.  In the decision, it improves to 9-0 all-time versus Campbell.

 "I'm just so proud of this team," said Head Coach Ian Shields. "After what happened last week, to get beat by San Diego by 53 points, we needed this. I'm proud of the leadership. All the guys bought in, and it was a heck of an effort by both teams, two good football teams."

A pair of interceptions thrown by each quarterback in the opening half were critical to the game's action.

Jacksonville's first pass attempt landed in the hands of Campbell's Donta Simmons, and resulted in six points for the home side a play later. The teams traded turnovers from there on, halting progress and solid field position with each takeaway.

Thomas Oporto was the first Dolphin to nab an interception, sliding under a Camel receiver in his first game back from injury, and CJ Lewis repeated the act just before halftime. The picks concluded Campbell drives on the Dolphin 26 and 28 yard line, respectively.

The Camels led Jacksonville, 17-10, at the break. Dolphin points were recorded in the second quarter on a 20-yard field goal by Javier Arce-Ramirez (11:27) and a 17-yard rush by Keenan Simpson (4:15).

After trading interceptions in the first half, the teams traded touchdowns to start the second.

The Dolphins' second touchdown of the day was backed, in large part, by the legs of Rylan Wells.

On third down with four to go, the quarterback marched 40 yards downfield to move the chains to Campbell's 16 yard line, before capping the drive with a one yard, rushing touchdown.

Wells is now fifth all-time in program history with 19 career rushing scores.   

He continued to spark his team's efforts on a critical fourth down opportunity, where he notched a first down on a fake punt. A snap later, Pernell Rattray found the end zone from 19 yards out.

The Dolphins stared a one-possession deficit for much of the third quarter, until Crandall Maines' forced fumble with 46 seconds remaining in the frame. His strip sack put the Dolphins at the Campbell 27, and led to Washington tying the game at 31-all.

The score marked the first stalemate of the day since the scoreless open.

Back-to-back fumbles, the latter a strip by Emon Smith and recovery by Tommy Mack, opened the door for JU's first lead at 34-31.

Campbell tied the game on the ensuing drive to give Jacksonville the ball with 2:29 remaining.

Ironically enough, on this date, 17 years ago, Jacksonville handed Stony Brook a 17-14 loss at home in double overtime. It was the last time JU pushed a game to an extra period.

"It was a little bit of a track meet," said Shields. "Both teams had a hard time getting stops, but one play was the difference and we made one more than they did."

The Dolphins return to D.B. Milne Field for their next two games versus Valparaiso (Nov. 4) and Stetson (Nov. 11).