Football faces Davidson at 1 p.m. on Saturday

Oct. 5, 2006


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After winning back-to-back road games for the first time since 2001, the JU football team will continue conference action against Davidson at Richardson Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 7, at 1 p.m. The Dolphins, who are in the final game of a season-high four-game road trip, will be in search of the program's first three- game winning streak on the road.
The game will be broadcast live on ESPN 1460 WZNZ with Barry Milligan returning for a second tour of duty as the "Voice of the Dolphins." The contest can also be heard live on as part of the JU Sports Network.

Head coach Steve Gilbert
Head coach Steve Gilbert is in his ninth season at Jacksonville, his 10th year overall. The 49- year-old Freehold, N.J. native, hired in February of 1997, has built the program from the ground up. He has posted a 33-49 (.402) mark at JU, including a 23- 21 mark against similar non-scholarship programs and 10 wins against scholarship teams.
Gilbert, who was named the 1996 NCAA Division III Coach of the Year after leading Ursinus College to its first-ever NCAA playoff berth, led the Dolphins to their first winning season in 2001 (6-5) and the PFL South Division Championship with a perfect 3-0 mark in divisional play. Gilbert has a career record of 74-98 (.430) in 17 seasons as a collegiate head coach.

Brant breaks out, again
After a slow start to the 2006 season, senior running back Jerry Brant has hit his stride with back-to-back 100-yard performances to lead the Dolphins to a 2-0 record in PFL play.
Against Valparaiso, he tallied a career-high 159 yards on 23 carries and two touchdowns (53, one). He also caught a 43-yard touchdown pass to total 201 yards of total offense. Against Butler, he gained 101 yards on 19 carries.
In the JU career record book, he needs only 51 yards to surpass Jon Underhill for third place in the all-time rushing list. He has also surpassed the 100- yard mark nine times in his Dolphin career.

JU in the national rankings
After starting off the PFL season at 2-0, JU has found its way back into the national rankings in 2006.
The Dolphins rank 10th in The Sports Network Top-10 Poll and Don Hansen's Top-12 poll and are seventh in the College Sports Report Top-20 poll.
JU had spent 15 consecutive weeks in The Sports Network I-AA Mid-Major Top-10 Poll, reaching as high as No. 2 on Oct. 1, 2001. The Dolphins also entered The Sports Network Top 10 in 2003 with a No. 9 ranking on Sept. 29 following a 3-1 start. The Division I-AA Mid-Major polls includes the 22 programs of the MAAC, NEC and Pioneer Football League, which play at a non-scholarship or limited scholarship level.

You gotta love the "Big Uglies"
Heading into the Valparaiso contest, the Dolphins were faced with a major dilemma. On the offensive line, senior All-American left tackle Pat Rich, junior center Rusty Stiglitz and sophomore right tackle Michael Aguilar were not available for the contest due to injuries.
To compensate for the changes, senior right guard Josue Sanchez was moved to left tackles which made junior left guard David Locander the only starter to remain in his original spot. Making their way into the starting lineup was sophomore Joe Vitale (center), sophomore Steve Reynolds (right guard) and sophomore Zach Huffmon (right tackle). Also mixed into the rotation was sophomore Chris Tessitore (right guard) to allow Reynolds time at center.
The makeshift line, which only had five days to practice as a unit, made a major statement against the Crusaders. Not only did the Dolphins rush for a season-high 239 yards, including a career-high 159 yards by senior running back Jerry Brant, but the "Big Uglies" did not allow a sack in the contest and were flagged for only two penalties (false start, illegal motion).

Defense prefers late domination
The Dolphin defense made some changes during the Southeastern Louisiana contest and the results were noticeable as JU won the second half battle by a score of 7-6 and have won two consecutive PFL contests.
After allowing 35 points, 147 rushing yards and 292 yards of total offense in the first half against SE Louisiana, the Dolphins rebounded in the second half by allowing only six points, 81 rushing yards and 131 yards of total offense.
Against Butler, the Dolphins allowed only 26 yards rushing and 167 yards of total offense as the unit dominated the entire contest. In the second half, JU did not allow a score and the Bulldogs generated only six yards rushing and 67 yards of total offense.
Against Valparaiso, the defense shut out an opponent in the second half for the second straight weekend. After allowing 84 yards rushing and 248 yards of total offense in the first half, the Dolphins worked their magic again in the second frame with only 68 yards rushing and 101 yards of total offense allowed.
In two PFL contests, JU is allowing only 12 points per contest and is ranked second in conference play with an average of 255.5 yards of total offense per game.

Ward of the state
One of the major holes to be filled for the Dolphins in 2006 was left by all-time leading tackler Brandon Torre in the linebacker corps. Torre, who finished with 277 career tackles, was a mainstay on the strong side and a fierce competitor despite his lack of outstanding athletic ability.
Starting in Torre's place and making a name for himself has been sophomore Winston Ward. In three games, Ward had racked up 10 tackles, a tackle for loss, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Against Valparaiso, the Orlando native tallied a career-high 14 tackles (11 solo) and 1.5 tackles for loss.
Ward is currently tied for fourth in the conference with 9.5 tackles per game in PFL play. Overall, he ranks 16th and is 10th amongst PFL linebackers with an average of six tackles per game.

cing the issue
Another bright spot for the Dolphins in 2006 has been the playmaking ability of the defense, which has forced nine turnovers in four games.
A major point of emphasis during preseason camp, the Dolphins have set a goal of causing three turnovers per contest.
Among the season-high five turnovers forced by JU against Gardner-Webb (four fumbles, one interception), two of the fumbles came inside the Dolphins' own five-yard line in back-to-back possessions by the Bulldogs.
Against Valparaiso, the Dolphins chalked up another interception and forced a fumble.
The Dolphins also forced a fumble against SE Louisiana and Butler.

ional spotlight
Junior Nate Conner has made plays as a receiver but is most lethal when he is sitting under a ball for a return on special teams.
In four games, Conner leads the PFL and is fifth in the nation in all-purpose yards with an average of 164.5 yards per contest.
At Butler, Conner racked up 247 yards of total offense (70 receiving yards, 176 return yards) en route to PFL Special Teams Player of the Week accolades. Included in the receiving performance was a 64-yard score in the first quarter.
Conner earned all-PFL honors as a freshman after finishing with 21.0 yards per return, including a career-high 66-yard touchdown return against Austin Peay on Oct. 16, 2004. He expanded his talents to punts as well in 2005 as he finished with 13.0 yards per return, including a season-high 67-yard touchdown at Austin Peay on Oct. 22. Conner also finished with an average of 30.4 yards per return with a season-high 46-yard return against Morehead State on Oct. 8.

Horton earns PFL weekly honor
The incumbent starter heading into the 2006 season, junior Chris Horton has picked up where he left off at the end of last season in which he took over the starting role in the final three games.
In seven career starts, Horton has led the Dolphins to a 3-0 mark in the PFL.
In 2006, Horton has become more of a threat through the air by tying a program record with four touchdown passes in a 31-7 win at Butler. Although he completed only 9-of-16 passes for 156 yards, Horton had touchdown strikes of 64, 44, 18 and six yards to earn PFL Offensive Player of the Week honors on Sept. 25.

As we make our way to the trenches, you will find the heart and soul of the Dolphins' defensive attack in 2006. Senior nose guard Ryan Young and junior defensive tackle Kiel Pierce have been a one- two punch on the defensive front for three years .
With a defense that got younger in a hurry, the duo will be faced with the largest role of their tenure: create havoc at the point of attack.
In 2005, the twosome combined for 64 tackles, seven tackles for loss and a sack and helped pave the way for linebacker Brandon Torre to set the program record for tackles. Young ranked third on the squad with 40 tackles (20 solo) and registered at least five tackles in 5-of-8 contests. Pierce finished with 24 tackles (13 solos) and one sack.
In 2006, the duo has combined for 24 tackles, four tackles for loss, a sack, two pass deflection, two quarterback hurries and two forced fumbles.

Curry named PFL Special Teams POW
Freshman place kicker Donovan Curry was named PFL Special Teams Player of the Week after tallying seven points, including a pair of field goals, in a 41-13 loss to Southeastern Louisiana on Sept. 16 at Strawberry Stadium.
Curry, who connected on his first collegiate field goals in the contest, nailed a 23-yard attempt to put the Dolphins on the board first. He ended the half with 37-yard attempt to match the longest made field goal by former kicker Ryan Feely in 2005. Curry also added an extra-point in the third quarter to finish the perfect night.
Against Butler, Curry put up seven more points to help the squad to its first win of the season. Included in the mix was a career-high 39 yard field goal, which was the fourth longest kick in program history.
A three-year letterwinner as a kicker at Eastside High School in Gainesville, Curry also played four years of soccer for the Rams. He won the kicking job during fall camp in a four-man freshman tryout.

Pinpoint Joe
Probably the biggest shoes, and leg, to replace will be those left by All-America kicker Ryan Feely.
Feely earned first team all-conference honors for the second straight year after ranking sixth in the nation with 42.8 yards per punt.
The competition to replace Feely began with four true freshmen during preseason camp. The man who emerged from the rubble is Joe Recktenwald.
The Deland, Fla., native had his best performance at Valparaiso after finishing with 360 yards in nine attempts (40 yards per kick), including four punts inside the 20-yard line.
Through four games, Recktenwald ranks fourth in the conference with an average of 35.4 yards per punt.

Rich named Pre-Season All-American
Dolphin senior offensive lineman Pat Rich was tabbed second team I-AA Mid-Major Preseason All-America by Don Hansen's Football Gazette.
Rich, who was named team captain in the spring, earned honorable mention Division I-AA Mid- Major All-America accolades by College Sports Report at the end of the 2004 season.
A two-time first team all-Pioneer Football League selection, Rich has developed into the anchor of the Dolphin line since playing in all 11 games as a true freshman in 2003. During that season, the Dolphins produced a school-record 4,463 yards of total offense, 2,103 rushing yards and running back Emmett Hunter rushed for a program-record 1,467 yards en route to All-America honors. As a sophomore, Rich had a key role in the Dolphins' success in the rushing attack as JU ran for 180.8 yards per game, fourth-best in the PFL. Last season, the Dolphins set the program record for total offense (585 yards) against Butler as well as the second highest total offensive output (578 yards) and the second highest rushing total (371) against North Greenville.

Jacksonville University Dolphins
JU is entering its ninth season of intercollegiate football at the NCAA Division I-AA non- scholarship level and has a 32-49 (.390) record in 81 games. The Dolphins are 19-23 all-time at Milne Field, 12-25 on the road and 1-1 at neutral sites.
After competing as an independent for the first three years of the program, JU is in its sixth season as a member of the Pioneer Football League.
Former Dolphin players who have reached the professional ranks include Micah Ross, a wide receiver and special teams player (Jacksonville Jaguars, San Diego Chargers, and Carolina Panthers) and Linj Shell, a corner with the Cologne Centurions (Philadelphia Eagles) of NFL Europe.

JU in the Pioneer Football League
JU went a perfect 3-0 in the South Division en route to the 2001 PFL South championship in its first year in the league. Amongst teams which are still in the PFL, the Dolphins are 8-16 in five seasons.
The Dolphins are 4-9 (.308) against opponents from the former North Division (2-0 vs. Butler, 0-5 vs. Drake, 0-2 vs. Dayton, 0-1 vs. San Diego, 2-1 vs. Valparaiso) and 6-7 (.462) all-time against the former PFL South teams (5-3 vs. Davidson, 1-4 vs. Morehead State).

D.B. Milne Field
The Dolphins are 19-23 (.452) all-time at D.B. Milne Field in six-plus seasons of football. In 2003, JU started 3-0 at home for the first time ever and finished the season with a program-best four home wins. The Dolphins' record was a standing-room- only crowd of 4,890 in the inaugural game against Davidson on Sept. 12, 1998.

JU selected fifth in new PFL Poll
JU was selected to finish fifth in the restructured Pioneer Football League in the preseason coaches' poll.
The PFL, which featured a north and south division the past five seasons, will revert back to a single division comprising eight teams in 2006. Due to the loss of a league championship game, the PFL regular-season winner will face the winner of the Northeast Conference in the inaugural Gridiron Classic.
Defending champion San Diego was predicted to finish first with five first-place votes (45 points) and Dayton earned two first-place votes for a total of 43 points. Drake rounded out the top three with 37 points and three-time defending South champion Morehead State was picked fourth with 32 points.
JU, which received one first-place vote, ranked fifth with 26 points ahead of Davidson (17), Valparaiso (15) and Butler (9).

New additions to the staff
Three new faces will grace the Dolphin sidelines in 2006 with the additions of Brian Ferguson (RB), Scott Hughes (WR) and Lt. David Hills as a volunteer kicking specialist.
After announcing the promotion of fourth- year coach Luther Price from wide receivers to defensive backs, special teams and recruiting coordinator this summer, second-year coach Thomas Wagers moves from tight ends to quarterbacks and third-year offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Andy McLeod will incorporate tight ends.
The trio replaces Jason DesJarlais (Yale), Chris Norris (Southeast Missouri) and Ryan Silverfield (Central Florida).

Strength of schedule
The Dolphins' 2006 schedule features one of the toughest schedules in program history, including only four games being played at D.B. Milne Field.
Gardner-Webb, a scholarship program from the Big South, will be the home opener for the Dolphins on Sept. 2. JU will embark on a four-game road trip which begins with another scholarship program, Southeastern Louisiana, on Sept. 24.
The squad will open Pioneer Football League play with three road games against Butler (Sept. 23), Valparaiso (Sept. 30) and Davidson (Oct. 7), before returning home against PFL power Dayton on Oct. 14.
The Dolphins head back to the road for two weeks beginning with three-time PFL South Champion Morehead State (Oct. 21) and North Greenville (Oct. 28).
Jacksonville closes out its home slate on Nov. 4 against defending PFL champion San Diego before ending the year against Drake (Nov. 11).
The Dolphins have nine wins all-time against scholarship opponents, including seven in the last four seasons. JU's last win was against Webber International in 2004.