Dolphins Hold Off Lenoir-Rhyne In Season Opener, 20-16

Sept 1, 2001


HICKORY, N.C. - Junior wide receiver Jon Turner caught five passes for a school-record 206 yards, including the gamewinner with 9:27 to play in the game, as the Dolphins came from behind to defeat Lenoir-Rhyne, 20-16, in JU's season opener at Moretz Stadium in Hickory, N.C. It was the first-ever win for JU over a scholarship program and broke the Dolphins' seven-game road losing streak.

Senior quarterback Gary Cooper threw for 291 yards and two touchdowns as the Dolphins racked up 415 yards of total offense - the sixth most all-time at JU. The JU defense, meanwhile, set a school record by limiting the Bears to just 170 yards of total offense on 66 plays, while recording five sacks and 10 tackles for loss.

With the Dolphins trailing 16-13 with 9:27 to play in the game, Turner broke free down the sideline and caught a 62-yard touchdown bomb from Cooper to give the Dolphins the lead for good. Turner also had catches of 62, 40, 32 and nine yards as JU erased an early 10-0 deficit.

Senior wideout Brett Palmi added two catches for 71 yards, including a 53-yard touchdown grab that got the Dolphins on the board with :45 to play in the first half.

Lenoir-Rhyne jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead on a 93-yard punt return for a touchdown by Paris Edwards with 5:42 to play in the first. The Bears added a 34-yard field goal following a Cooper interception early in the second quarter, and a 21-yard field goal at the 5:42 mark of the third to take a 13-6 lead.

Senior running back Brent Alexander, who led the Dolphins in rushing with 75 yards on 10 carries, answered with a squirting, 38-yard touchdown run to tie the game at 13 only :44 seconds later. A 39-yard field goal by Bryce Rieger with 10:29 to play in the game gave the Bears the lead again, 16-13, but JU's sixth big play of the contest gave the Dolphins the lead for good.

JU ran out the final 8:51 with a 23-play drive as sophomore running back Emmett Akins carried the ball 11 times for 39 yards on the Dolphins' final drive.