SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 10, 2001
Eighth-Ranked Dolphins Fall To Drake In Regular-Season Finale, 31-23
Nov. 10, 2001
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Senior running back Brent Alexander (Tampa, Fla.) rushed for 106 yards on 14 carries to become the first player in school history to rush for 1,000 yards in a season and 2,000 yards for his career, but the Dolphins couldn't stop Drake's high-powered rushing attack as JU fell to the Bulldogs, 31-23, Saturday afternoon in the final regular-season game for both at D.B. Milne Field. The Dolphins will conclude the 2001 season with the inaugural Pioneer Football League Championship game on Nov. 17 against No. 1 Dayton at Welcome Stadium in Dayton, Ohio. With his school-record seventh 100-yard performance of the season, Alexander has rushed for 1,040 yards this season and 2,041 for his career.
JU's record-setting day also included the program's first kickoff return for a touchdown when senior Tyrone Wright (Jacksonville, Fla.) took the opening kickoff of the second half 94 yards for the score to give JU a 23-14 lead. Wright also finished the day with a game-high 11 tackles along with senior linebacker Tommy Swindell (Edgewater, Fla.).
JU managed only 207 yards of total offense, including 2-of-16 passing for 27 yards but picked off two passes and sacked the Bulldog's Ira Vandever three times (-17 yards). Drake had 465 yards of total offense, including 283 on the ground, as Vandever rushed for 113 yards and two scores, and Laron McKinnis rushed for 119 yards and a touchdown. Vandever also completed 17-of-30 passes for 182 yards and a score as the Bulldogs dominated time of possession - holding onto the ball for nearly 38 minutes.
Drake jumped out to a 7-0 lead on its first possession of the game on a 10-yard touchdown run, but JU answered just five minutes later when Alexander busted a 40-yard run for his school-record 11th touchdown of the season. The Bulldogs regained the lead, 14-7, when Vandever hit Jason Jones with a nine-yard strike with 2:22 to play in the first. JU answered again as Alexander capped a 10-play, 62-yard drive with a four-yard scamper on the Dolphins first possession of the second quarter to tie the game at 14. Junior Chris Brown (Hernando, Miss.) added a 30-yard field goal late in the half to give JU a 17-14 halftime lead.
Following Wright's kickoff return to start the second half, Drake scored 17 unanswered points and held on for the win. McKinnis scored on a 16-yard run with 10:08 to play in the third and All-American kicker Billy Cundiff nailed a 49-yard field goal to give the Bulldogs a 24-23 lead with 3:58 to play in the third quarter. Vandever added a 23-yard touchdown run on a third-and-13 play at the 13:46 mark of the third quarter to give Drake a 31-23 lead. Vandever rushed for 47 yards and converted four third-down conversions in the fourth quarter.
The Dolphins also celebrated their first full Senior Day on Saturday as 25 seniors were honored in a pre-game ceremony, including the original 13 players who have been with the program since its inception in the fall of 1997.