SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 07, 2002
Ninth-Ranked Dolphins Hold Off Lenoir-Rhyne For 37-27 Win in Season Opener
Sept. 7, 2002
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - JU freshman quarterback Mike Sturgill (Vero Beach, Fla.) completed 14-of-18 passes for 252 yards and four touchdowns in his Dolphin debut as Jacksonville held off a late Lenoir-Rhyne rally for a 37-27 win over the Bears in the season opener for both at D.B. Milne Field. The win is the second straight for the Dolphins over LRC and the third win all-time over a scholarship opponent.
Senior wide receiver Jon Turner (Melbourne, Fla.) continued to dominate the Bears with five catches for 151 yards, including a 65-yard touchdown grab from Sturgill, that sealed the game for the Dolphins with 5:07 to play. Turner had five receptions for a school-record 206 yards against LRC last season. Freshman running back Chad Davis (Tallahassee, Fla.) added a pair of touchdown catches and 48 yards rushing in his JU debut as seven Dolphin receivers had catches on the day. The JU offense rolled up 390 yards of total offense.
The JU defense allowed a school record 21 yards rushing on 24 carries, while picking off two passes and blocking a kick. Senior cornerback Linj Shell (Orlando, Fla.) led the Dolphins with nine solo tackles, while sophomore Quincy Harp (Jacksonville, Fla.) had six stops, forced a fumble, recovered a fumble and blocked an extra point which led to a Dolphin score.
The Dolphins seemed in control when they took a 28-7 lead after breaking a 7-7 tie with a 20-yard touchdown run by Emmett Akins (Largo, Fla.) and a pair of Davis touchdown grabs, the last of which was a 13-yarder with 20 seconds to play in the third quarter. However, Lenoir-Rhyne answered with 20 straight points. Brett Meunier hit A.J. Driver for a 43-yard touchdown grab in just two plays, and following a missed extra point, LRC trailed 28-13 with 14:30 to play. The Bears inched closer when Chris Winford blocked Brett Keener's (Melbourne, Fla.) punt and returned it 39 yards for the score to pull within 28-21 following a two-point conversion at the 6:24 mark. Shell fumbled the ensuing kickoff and Lenoir-Rhyne scored three plays later on a 28-yard pass from Meunier to Driver to pull within one. On the extra-point attempt, Harp blocked Cochran's kick and Boshawn Mack (Boynton, Fla.) returned the kick for a touchdown to give JU a 30-27 lead with 5:25 to play in the game.
The Dolphins are back in action on Saturday, Sept. 14, when open conference play with a Pioneer Football League South Division showdown at Davidson at 1 p.m.