SATURDAY, OCTOBER 26, 2002
Dolphins Come Back To Beat Charleston Southern, 24-21
Oct. 26, 2002
CHARLESTON, S.C. - Senior wide receiver Jon Turner (Melbourne, Fla.) caught nine passes for 149 yards and two touchdowns, while freshman quarterback Mike Sturgill (Vero Beach, Fla.) completed 21-of-34 passes for 277 yards and two scores, as JU scored 17 unanswered points to post the greatest comeback win in school history, 24-21, over Charleston Southern Saturday afternoon on Homecoming at CSU Stadium in Charleston. The win snaps a five-game slide by the Dolphins (2-5), who are in the midst of a four-game road swing, including three games in 12 days. It is also the fourth win all-time for JU over a scholarship opponent, but the first victory over a Division I-AA scholarship program. JU will play again on Thursday against Florida International on the Sunshine Network at 8 p.m.
"This might be the greatest win in the five-year history of the program," said head coach Steve Gilbert. "To go on the road and beat a I-AA scholarship team after starting the season 1-5 says a lot about the heart and character of our football team. We really took it to them today and I am so proud of the effort, enthusiasm and intensity we showed."
JU erased an early 21-7 deficit by dominating the second half on both offense and defense. Sturgill's eight-yard touchdown pass to Turner with 27 seconds to play in the third quarter proved to be the gamewinner. Sturgill and Turner also hooked up for the two-point conversion to extend the Dolphins' lead to 24-21. Turner, who had a 26-yard TD reception in the first quarter, became the Dolphins' all-time leader with 13 career touchdowns receptions and set the school single-season record with 47 receptions.
The JU defense did the rest in the second half limiting the Buccaneers to just 118 yards of total offense following the break and held off two CSU scoring threats in the fourth quarter, the last coming with 1:31 remaining in the game when CSU's Adam Resnick missed a potential game-tying 31-yard field goal attempt. Junior free safety Charlton Williams (Lynn Haven, Fla.) had two of the Dolphins three interceptions, as JU harassed Charleston Southern backup quarterback John Muller into 9-of-23 passing and three interceptions.
"I credit Jacksonville for playing extremely hard," said CSU head coach David Dowd. "They took it to us pretty good in the second half and we didn't respond very well." After falling behind 21-7 following, the Dolphins methodically creeped back into the game behind a career-best three field goals from freshman kicker Ross Shmunes (Jacksonville, Fla.). Shmunes connected from 27, 32 and 26 yards, the last of which brought the Dolphins within striking distance at 21-16 with 3:07 to play in the third.
For the fourth straight game, JU fell behind 14-0 in the first quarter following a 27-yard touchdown pass from Darren Swiggett and a two-yard touchdown run by Theo Warren. JU answered on 4th-and goal from the Buccaneer 26 when Sturgill found Turner with 1:32 to play in the first quarter. Swiggett responded with a 36-yard touchdown pass to Brad Moultrie just three plays later, but that would be it for Charleston Southern. JU trailed 21-10 at the half following Shmunes' first field goal, a 27-yarder, with 58 seconds to play.
After the Dolphins climbed to within 21-16 on Shmunes' 26-yarder, JU held CSU on three plays. Freshman Marshall Trace (Tamarac, Fla.) blocked Resnick's punt, the Dolphins' fifth punt block of the season, and Boshawn Mack (Miramar, Fla.) returned it to the Buccaneer 15-yard line to set up the winning score.
Redshirt freshman running back Chad Davis (Tallahassee, Fla.) had 132 all-purpose yards to lead the Dolphins, including 47 yards rushing, 39 yards receiving and a 46-yard kickoff return. Redhsirt freshman linebacker Brandon Torre (Tallahassee, Fla.) paced the injury-riddled Dolphin defense with a career-best seven tackles, including a sack and three stops behind the line of scrimmage. Sheldon Evans had 98 yards rushing to lead Charleston Southern, while Aaron Dunklin caught four passes for 104 yards. CSU did hold the Dolphins to just 48 yards rushing and sacked Sturgill five times.