MONDAY, OCTOBER 25, 2010
TOP 25: JU receives national ranking for the first time
With six straight wins and having outscored its opponents 142-21 over the last two weeks, the JU football team continued its record-setting theme on Monday when the Dolphins broke into the top 25 for the first time in program history.
Jacksonville (7-1, 5-0 PFL) jumped into the polls at No. 24 after a dominating 56-14 win over Marist that saw the Dolphins rush for a program-record 433 yards.
The Dolphins have been receiving votes since week one and cracked the top 25 after sitting on the fringe for the past two weeks, doing enough to empress the poll's panel of sports information and media relations directors, broadcasters and writers.
“This is a credit to everyone involved in our program,” said JU head coach Kerwin Bell. “The commitment made by our coaches, players and administration is remarkable, with everyone playing a major part in our success.
“The one thing we can’t do right now is focus on just being in the top 25. It’s nice to receive the recognition, but we’ve also a got a very important game to prepare for on Saturday against a Morehead State team that is going to be ready to play its best against us.”
JU’s rise has been building since its first Pioneer Football League title in 2008 as the Dolphins won their final seven games to bring home the title.
Last season, JU saw its chances at repeating slip away as the Dolphins saw three fourth quarter leads evaporate – leading to a 7-4 record.
This season, the Dolphins have left no doubt up to this point. The only blemish on JU’s record is against #1 Appalachian State – who remains undefeated at 8-0.
While most coaches talk about it being a team effort, it has never been more true than for the Dolphins.
JU’s offense is among the best the country, leading the nation in scoring and yards per game. The defense has built a reputation of making big plays when needed as the Dolphins are second in the country in turnover ratio.
“The one thing that impresses me the most about this team is its chemistry,” Bell said. “Since the beginning of spring practice last year, this group has come together to form a close bond that they can depend on each other at all times. When you have a group that trusts each other to fulfill their assignments, it gives you the opportunity to do some special things.”
The 24th ranked Dolphins will put their national ranking and share of first place in the PFL on the line Saturday at Morehead State. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m.