Dolphins run past Marist, 56-14
The fans that came to JU’s Homecoming game against Marist were looking to see the Dolphins vaunted aerial attack on display.

Instead, Jacksonville (7-1, 5-0 PFL) showed off its rushing attack by racking up a school-record 433 yards en route to a 56-14 win over Marist (2-5, 1-4 PFL) at D.B. Milne Field.

J.J. Laster rushed for 177 yards on 11 carries with two touchdowns while Rudell Small had 168 yards on 21 carries with three touchdowns to become the first JU running backs to record a 100-yard game since 2004.

The 433 yards rushing shatters JU’s previous school record of 398 set against Greensboro in 1998 and is the fourth-highest single-game total in the country this season.

“We knew they were going to drop a lot of guys into pass coverage, so we took what they gave us,” said JU head coach Kerwin Bell. “We’ve got two good running backs and our offensive line did a great job of opening holes for them to run through today.”

While JU was running for five touchdowns, the defense did its part as well. Jacksonville limited the Red Foxes to 242 yards of total offense and only 40 yards on the ground. Topping it off was Jordan Dewhirst’s school-record 100-yard interception return for a touchdown in the fourth quarter, the second pick-6 for the Dolphins this season.

The defense controlled the line of scrimmage, racking up three sacks and eight tackles for a loss from seven different players. Rolando Fines led the team with five tackles and one quarterback pressure.

“Our defense continues to step up its game each week,” Bell said. “They created a couple of turnovers today and we got a score on the interception. Any time you’re getting points from your defense, it’s a big bonus.”

Small started the scoring for JU with a 1-yard run on the opening drive and Laster made it 14-0 when he scored on his first carry of the game – a 71-yard run.

Small and Laster both got a touchdown in the second quarter as well, Small from a yard out and Laster from three yards out as JU held a 28-7 lead going into halftime.

Small wasn’t going to let Laster have the only long TD run of the game, scoring on a 64-yard run late in the third quarter to spot JU a 42-7 lead.

JU got its first touchdown pass of the game on the opening possession of the second half when Josh McGregor hooked up with Josh Philpart from six yards out. McGregor finished the game 11-of-17 for 100 yards while Philpart had four catches for 25 yards and one touchdown.

Erik Stepelton came off the bench in the fourth quarter and hooked up with Rodney Sumter on a 38-yard touchdown pass to finish off JU’s scoring.

Shockingly, Small was the leading receiver for JU on the day – making four catches for 53 yards. Laster had just one catch for three yards.

Marist got two touchdown passes, the first being Tommy Reilly’s 60-yard toss to Fitzpatrick in the first quarter and the last being Chuckie Looney’s 18-yard pass to Joe DeSimone in the fourth quarter.

Jacksonville returns the road for its next two games, starting with an “air raid” on Morehead State next Saturday. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.