JU opens conference play at Davidson
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The JU football team season begins in earnest this weekend when the Dolphins open Pioneer Football League play on the road at Davidson.

Jacksonville (2-1) comes into PFL play with momentum, scoring 31 points in the second half to race past Webber International, 41-0, for the second largest margin of victory in program history. One of the heroes of the game was kicker Josh Hostetler, who made two field goals and was perfect on all four extra point attempts, earning him PFL “Special Teams Player of the Week” honors.

“This is a nice honor for Josh to be recognized for a great night,” said JU head coach Kerwin Bell. “When we can’t complete a drive, it’s nice to have a guy that we can depend on to get points on the board for us.”

Davidson (1-2, 1-0 PFL) is coming off a last-second thriller at Campbell, winning 28-27 on Kenny Mantuo’s 1-yard run with 30 seconds remaining in the game.

The rivalry with Davidson is the longest-running series in JU history, dating back to the program’s first game. Saturday’s game will be the 13th meeting all time, with the series tied at six after Jacksonville’s 27-21 win at home last season.

“Davidson is well coached team that is fundamentally sound and doesn’t beat itself,” Bell said. “They have a tremendous running back and don’t give up a lot of big plays on defense. It’s always tough to win on the road, especially in conference play as Davidson was our only loss when we won the league two years ago.”

Picked to finish third in the coaches poll, the Dolphins are looking to get off to a positive start in PFL play. JU has won its PFL opener the last two years and has won three of its last four league starters.

“It’s important to get off to a fast start in conference play,” Bell said. “Every game means more now because a conference championship is on the line each week.”

Jacksonville will be looking to keep its offense rolling. Last week, JU rolled up more than 500 yards, with Rudell Small rushing for 153 yards and Josh McGregor airing it out for 327 yards. Aiding the aerial attack was the depth at receiver as 12 different Dolphins caught a pass in the win.

While the offense was putting up video game-like numbers, the defense was dealing out big hits and big plays. JU held the Warriors to just 223 yards of total offense and forced five turnovers.

“Anytime you shut a team out in college football it’s special,” Bell said. “That’s a tough task against an offense as versatile as Webber’s. You really have to give credit to our defensive coaches, who have done a great job of getting that group ready to go each week.”

Kickoff for Saturday’s game is set for 1 p.m., with the game being broadcast on 1010XL. Coverage begins at 12:30 p.m. with the Bono’s Barbecue Pregame Show.