Oct. 20, 2006
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -
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After a Homecoming win at D.B. Milne Field, the JU
football team travels to Morehead State to face the
Eagles at Jayne Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 21 at 1
The game will be broadcast live on WJGR
1320 "The Patriot" with Barry Milligan returning for a
second tour of duty as the "Voice of the Dolphins."
The contest can also be heard live on
www.judolphins.com as part of the JU Sports
Network or you can watch it live on
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 34-50 (.405) mark at JU, including a 24-
22 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 75-99 (.431) in 17 seasons as a
collegiate head coach.
Brant close to another milestone
After a slow start to the 2006 season,
senior running back Jerry Brant has caught fire in the
second half to make a serious run at the top rushing
spot in JU history.
The Jacksonville native currently sits at
1,911 yards and is only 72 yards from overtaking
Brent Alexander for the number two spot with four
games left in his Dolphin career. He is 439 yards shy
of Emmett Hunter, who holds the program record
with 2,349 career yards.
Brant surpassed Jon Underhill for third place
after rushing for a career-high 224 yards on 35
carries against Dayton. He was one yard shy of the
single-game record which was set by Underhill in
Against Valparaiso, he tallied 159 yards on
23 carries and two touchdowns. He also caught a 43-
yard touchdown pass to total 201 yards of total
offense. Against Butler, he gained 101 yards on 19
Thus far in 2006, JU is 3-0 when Brant
surpasses the 100-yard mark.
Noel named Defensive POW
Sophomore cornerback Robson Noel, who is
in his first full season as a starter, has developed
into one of the top cover corners in the conference.
His hard work is starting to pay off after he
was named Pioneer Football League Defensive "Player
of the Week" with career highs in tackles (10) and
passes defended (six) while also recording his first
career interception in a 28-21 win over Dayton on
He also had to step up as the Dolphins' top
corner after a season ending knee injury to senior
corner Bryan Flowers in the first week of the season.
"Big Uglies" almost complete
After losing three starters on the offensive
line at Butler, the Dolphins will be near completion
with the return of sophomore right tackle Michael
Aguilar this weekend.
To compensate for the loss, senior right
guard Josue Sanchez moved to right tackle the past
two games after staring at left tackle for senior All-
American Pat Rich for one week.
Sophomores Joe Vitale (center), Zach
Huffmon (right tackle) and Chris Tessitore (right
guard) have also filled into the starting lineup during
To make up for the loss of junior center
Rusty Stiglitz (knee), sophomore Steve Reynolds will
fill in at the position for the second week. In his first
start, Reynolds helped pave the way for senior
running back Jerry Brant's career-high 224 yards
The Dolphins currently rank third in the
conference in rushing offense with an average of
205.5 yards per game.
Forcing the issue, again
A bright spot for the Dolphins in 2006 has
been the playmaking ability of the defense, which
has forced 13 turnovers in five 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
an interception and forced a fumble.
The Dolphins also forced a fumble against
SE Louisiana and Butler.
However, JU did not force a turnover in a
38-3 loss at Davidson.
The Dolphins bounced back against Dayton
by recording three interceptions and forced a fumble.
The fumble, which came on a sack in Dayton
territory, was recovered for the winning touchdown
against the Flyers.
JU ranks second in the conference against
the run (84.0 ypg) and is third in scoring defense
(20.8 ppg) and total defense (320.2 ypg).
JU in the national rankings
After starting off the PFL season at 3-1, JU
had found its way back into the national rankings.
JU is now 10th in The Sports Network Top-
10 Poll and Don Hansen's Top-12 Poll as of Oct. 16.
The Dolphins are 11th in the College Sports Report
On Oct. 2, the Dolphins was ranked 10th by
The Sports Network and Don Hansen's and were
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.
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 six games, Conner is third in the PFL and
is 13th in the nation in all-purpose yards with an
average of 150.3 yards per contest. He is also
second in the conference with an average of 9.9
yards per return.
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.
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 44
tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, two sacks, a pass
deflection, two quarterback hurries and two forced
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 seven10 career starts, Horton has led
the Dolphins to a 4-1 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.
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
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 34-50 (.405) record in 84
games. The Dolphins are 20-23 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. Shell is currently
a member of the Orlando Predators of the Arena
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 10-17 in five seasons.
The Dolphins are 5-9 (.357) against
opponents from the former North Division (2-0 vs.
Butler, 0-5 vs. Drake, 1-2 vs. Dayton, 0-1 vs. San
Diego, 2-1 vs. Valparaiso) and 6-8 (.429) all-time
against the former PFL South teams (5-4 vs.
Davidson, 1-4 vs. Morehead State).
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
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
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
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 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.