Seventh-Ranked Dolphins Celebrate Homecoming With 20-13 Win Over Virginia-Wise

Oct. 20, 2001

Final Stats

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Senior D.J. Walton (Miami, Fla.) returned a muffed punt 17 yards for a touchdown, and junior wide receiver Jon Turner (Melbourne, Fla.) hauled in a 43-yard game-winning touchdown grab, as seventh-ranked JU halted a two-game losing streak with a 20-13 win over Virginia-Wise on homecoming at D.B. Milne Field on Saturday. With the win, the Dolphins improve to 5-2 on the season, setting a new school record for wins in a single season, besting their 4-5 record in 1998. JU, which has now defeated two scholarship teams this season (Lenoir-Rhyne), also improves to 3-1 all-time on Homecoming.

A week after totaling just 74 yards of total offense in a 35-12 loss at Florida Atlantic, the Dolphins ran up 473 yards of offense against Virginia-Wise (3-4), which had defeated JU three straight times prior to today. Sophomore Emmett Akin (Largo, Fla.) ran for 75 yards on 17 carries, while quarterback Gary Cooper (Jacksonville, Fla.) ran for a career-high 71 yards and Brent Alexander (Tampa, Fla.) 55 yards as the Dolphins racked up 236 rushing yards on the afternoon. Cooper also completed 10-of-19 passes for 187 yards and a touchdown, including the gamewinner to Turner.

Wise tied the game at 13 on a 53-yard interception return by Deandre Lewis with 6:51 to play in the third quarter, setting up the game-winning drive by the Dolphins. JU took over at the Highland Cavalier's 47-yard line with 2:25 to play in the third, but it took only three plays before Cooper hit Turner for the Dolphins 20th play for 30-plus yards on the season and fourth of the game.

JU jumped out to a 3-0 lead following a Chris Brown (Hernando, Miss.) 26-yard field goal with 7:07 to play in the first, capping a 16-play, 57-yard drive. On Virginia-Wise's first possession, punter Andrew Thompson dropped the snap and then tried to kick it away on the run. The ball was fielded by Walton on the fly at the 17-yard line and returned for a touchdown to give JU a 10-0 lead. The Highland Cavaliers answered on their next possession with a nine-play, 89-yard drive capped by an 11-yard touchdown run by Ray Graves to cut the JU lead to 10-7. Brown added a 19-yard field goal with 2:13 to play in the half to give the Dolphins a 13-7 halftime advantage.

Turner finished the day with three catches for 74 yards, while Walton had two catches for 61 yards and junior tight end Andrew Bianchi (Tallassee, Ala.) two catches for a career-high 31 yards. All-American linebacker Tommy Swindell (Edgewater, Fla.) led the Dolphin defense with nine tackles, including two behind the line of scrimmage.

JU returns to action on Saturday, Oct. 27, at 12:30 p.m. against Stony Brook in Stony Brook, N.Y. It will be the fourth straight scholarship opponent for JU.