Big plays rule in final preseason scrimmage for the Dolphins

The JU football team put the finishing touches to preseason camp on Saturday with a lot of big plays on both sides of the ball.

The offense racked up 455 yards in the air, 185 yards on the ground to score on seven of its first nine drives. The defense put up some numbers as well, racking up nine sacks – led by Shaun Lewis’ three.

One of the biggest positives was the Dolphins ability to pick up yardage in big chunks. JU had 14 plays where it gained 15 yards or more, with five plays of 25 yards or more.

“This was a great way to wrap up the preseason,” said JU head coach Kerwin Bell. “Offensively, we saw a lot of positives. We got a lot of big plays in the passing game and were able to run the ball effectively. The defense forced a lot of pressure and flew around to the ball, which is what we’ve seen throughout camp.

“We’ve made a lot of progress over the last two weeks. Now, we’ve got to come back ready to work on Tuesday in preparation for the season opener, because we know that Webber is going to be hungry for us.”

The numbers put up by the quarterbacks in the scrimmage were nothing short of amazing. Sophomore starter Josh McGregor was 7-of-8 for 109 yards and three touchdowns, leading the Dolphins to four touchdowns in five drives.

Junior backup quarterback Erik Stepelton was on target as well, completing 7-of-11 passes for 187 yards and three touchdowns. His first pass was a 70-yard toss to Tommie Rogers for a touchdown and later added a 50-yard bomb to Sam Bell for another score.

Rogers finished the day as the top receiver, catching three passes for 106 yards and two touchdowns. Larry Thompson was the only other receiver with three catches, picking up 34 yards.

Michael Clifton came on later in the scrimmage and shined, completing 7-of-9 for 121 yards, including a 75-yard toss to Matt Milton for a touchdown.

The running game shined as well, led by Rudell Small who had a team-best 78 yards on six carries with one touchdown – coming on a 38-yard run. Keith Dawson added 26 yards on six carries.

While the first team offense was putting up a dizzying array of numbers when on the field, the first team defense shined when given its chance.

The defensive line showed its strength in slowing down the run game as well as getting pressure to the quarterback. They held the offense to just 38 yards in the air while forcing one fumble to go with the nine sacks.

Seven of those nine sacks were by defensive linemen, with Layne McCombs and Taylor Marsh picking up the two for the linebackers.

The Dolphins will have the rest of the weekend off until Tuesday when they begin game week preparation for the season opener. Kickoff at Webber International is set for 5 p.m.