SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 15, 2001
Third-ranked Dolphins Sprint Past Morehead St., 39-27, In PFL South Division Game
Sept. 15, 2001
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - On a day when only three NCAA Division I/I-AA football games were being played because of the tragic terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, senior running back Brent Alexander (Tampa, Fla.) rushed a school-record 30 times for a career-high 171 yards and two touchdowns, including a career-long 80-yard touchdown run, to lead No. 3 JU to a 39-27 win over Morehead State in Pioneer Football League action before 1,043 fans at D.B. Milne Field. JU, which has won three straight games for the first time in school history, improves to 3-0 overall, 2-0 in league play. The Dolphins can clinch the PFL South Division title with a win at Austin Peay on Sept. 29. Morehead State falls to 0-3 overall, 0-1 in league play.
For the second consecutive game, the Dolphins set a school record with 60 rushes for 330 yards, while racking up 504 yards of total offense, the second most all-time at JU. Senior quarterback Gary Cooper (Jacksonville, Fla.) completed 10-of-17 passes for 198 yards and three touchdowns, while rushing for 39 yards and a touchdown, as the Dolphins scored 20 points on three big plays. JU has now recorded 13 plays for 30-or-more yards on the season, nine of which have been for touchdowns.
Senior linebacker Dan Irby (Wauchula, Fla.) and senior free safety Tyrone Wright (Jacksonville,Fla.) each had six tackles to lead the Dolphin defense, while senior defensive end Scott Wilson (Holly Hill, Fla.) had five tackles and two sacks (-22 yards), despite playing with a ruptured disc in his back.
Following a scoreless first quarter, the Dolphins exploded for 19-second quarter points behind Cooper's arm and Alexander's legs. Cooper connected with senior wide receiver D.J. Walton (Miami, Fla.) for an eight-yard touchdown strike to open the scoring with 14:11 to play in the second. The Dolphins followed with a 13-play, 54-yard drive following an on-sides kick to take a 12-0 lead on a four-yard touchdown run by Alexander. Morehead State answered with its own 13-play, 76-yard drive capped by a 5-yard touchdown run by Nick Covin to cut the Dolphin lead to 12-7 with 2:01 to play in the half.
On the very next possession, the Eagles blocked Brett Keener's punt and Assamee Asad recovered it in the end zone to give Morehead St. a 14-12 lead with 42 seconds left in the half. The Dolphins were not done, however, as Cooper hit All-American wide receiver Brett Palmi (Lakeworth, Fla.) for a 38-yard touchdown pass on the final play of the first half to give JU a 19-14 halftime advantage.
The Eagles regained the lead with 8:08 to play in the third, when Cooper fumbled on a sack by defensive end Joel Wainscott and strong safety Jermiah Giron picked up the ball and went 68 yards for the score to give Morehead State a 21-19 lead. On the Dolphins' next possession, Cooper hit Palmi again for a 41-yard touchdown strike as JU took the lead for good, 25-21.
Cooper scored on a quarterback sneak to start the fourth quarter and then Alexander broke free for the second straight game and scored on an 80-yard touchdown run with 9:55 to play in the game. Alexander, who has rushed for 282 yards in the last two games, became the first JU running back to rush for a 100 yards in two consecutive games since 1998 when Jon Underhill ran for 225 yards against Greensboro (10/17) and 140 yards against Virginia-Wise (10/24).
Following an off-week, the Dolphins return to action on Sept. 29 at Austin Peay at 2 p.m. in their final Pioneer Football League South Division game of the season.