SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 08, 2001
Eighth-ranked Dolphins Crush No. 3 Davidson, 45-3
Sept. 8, 2001
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Senior running back Brent Alexander (Tampa, Fla.) ran for a career-high 102 yards, and the JU defense returned three interceptions for touchdowns, as the eighth-ranked Dolphins crushed No. 3 Davidson, 45-3, ending the Wildcats' nation's best 18-game win streak Saturday afternoon in Pioneer Football League action at D.B. Milne Field. JU improves to 2-0 for the first time since its inaugural season in 1998, while going to 1-0 in conference play. Davidson falls to 1-1 overall, 1-1 in PFL play after losing its first game since a 17-13 loss to Emory & Henry on Sept. 25, 1999.
For the second straight week, the JU defense set a school record by limiting the Wildcats to just 167 yards of total offense, including a school-record 40 yards rushing on 23 attempts, and only nine first downs. The Dolphins also picked off a school-record five passes, two of which came from senior free safety Tyrone Wright (Jacksonville, Fla.), who now has 10 career interceptions. Offensively, JU rushed a school-record 51 times for 222 yards, the fourth-highest total in school history, while Alexander became the first Dolphin in 24 games to rush for more than 100 yards, dating back to Nov. 7, 1998.
Following two stalled drives to start the game, the Dolphins exploded for 21 first-quarter points. Junior free safety Jeremy Kearson (Pembroke Pines, Fla.) sparked JU when he stepped in front of Paul Nichol's pass at his own 19-yard line and returned it 81 yards - the longest in school history - for the score. On the very next possession, senior quarterback Gary Cooper (Jacksonville, Fla.) scored from one yard out to cap a 10-play, 71-yard drive and give the Dolphins a 14-0 lead. Sophomore linebacker Matt Marshall (Winter Haven, Fla.) capped the JU scoring in the first stanza with a 17-yard interception return for a touchdown.
The Dolphins extended their lead to 28-0 on a five-yard touchdown run by sophomore running back Emmett Akins (Largo, Fla.) with 2:29 to play in the half. On the very next possession, junior cornerback Linj Shell (Orlando, Fla.) picked off Nichols at the 45-yard line and returned it for a touchdown to give JU a 35-0 halftime advantage.
Davidson got on the board with a 36-yard field goal by Daniel Hanks with 10:45 to play in the third, but the Dolphins answered when Alexander squirted up the middle for a career-long 73-yard touchdown run to extend the JU lead to 42-3. Junior Chris Brown's (Hernando, Miss.) 31-yard field goal with 58 seconds to play in the third quarter capped the scoring.
Akins finished the day with 60 yards on 18 carries, while junior Gil Jackson (Chicago, Ill.) carried the ball 13 times for 51 yards in the fourth quarter in his first action at running back. Senior defensive end Justin Yowell (Parkland, Fla.) and senior linebacker Dan Irby (Wauchula, Fla.) each had five tackles to pace the Dolphin defense, which used more than 30 players on the afternoon.
Freshman running back John Leverett had 10 rushes for 40 yards to lead the Wildcats, while Nichols finished the game 12-for-32 for 86 yards. Davidson used three quarterbacks in the game. JU returns to action on Saturday, Sept. 15 at 1 p.m. against Morehead State in a Pioneer Football League South Division showdown at D.B. Milne Field.