Football ends road schedule at North Greenville on Saturday

Oct. 26, 2006


Complete Release in PDF Format
Download Free Acrobat Reader

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 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 35-50 (.411) mark at JU, including a 25- 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 76-99 (.434) in 17 seasons as a collegiate head coach.

Horton earns PFL weekly honor, again
In his first full season under center, junior Chris Horton has developed into one of the top offensive weapons in the PFL.
He received PFL "Offensive Player of the Week" for the second time this season after leading the Dolphins to a 28-24 come-from-behind win at Morehead State on Oct. 21. Horton, who connected on 20-of-37 passes for a career-high 331 yards, tied his program record by throwing four touchdown passes in the contest.
On the game-winning drive, Horton went 4- for-6 for 57 yards, including a nine-yard rush on third and seven, as the Dolphins converted on all three third-down conversions with less than five minutes remaining.
In 10 career starts, Horton has led the Dolphins to a 6-4 record. Included in the mix is a 5-1 mark in the PFL.
Horton initially tied the 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.

Other offensive milestones
As the dust settled following the win over Morehead State, the stat sheets were distributed and the number crunching began.
In the midst of junior Chris Horton's career day, junior receiver Nate Conner and sophomore receiver Geavon Tribble set some marks as well.
Tribble, who caught one pass in five games last season, finished with five catches for 159 yards, tying for the second highest mark in program history. He also tallied three touchdowns to tie Eldin Ferguson (Butler - 9/24/05) for the program record.
Conner racked up career highs for catches (10) and yards (117). The duo also became the first Dolphin duo to tally over 100 yards receiving in the same game since Brett Palmi (113) and Rico Tillman (103) accomplished the feat against Mississippi College on Sept. 25, 1999.

JU in the national rankings
After starting off the PFL season at 4-1, JU had found its way into the national rankings.
JU is now 10th in The Sports Network Top- 10 Poll, Don Hansen's Top-12 Poll and the College Sports Report Top-20 Poll as of Oct. 23.
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. This is the second straight week the Dolphins have been recognized in the top 10.
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.

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 1,945 yards and is only 38 yards from overtaking Brent Alexander for the number two spot with three games left in his Dolphin career. He is 407 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 1998.
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 carries.
Thus far in 2006, JU is 3-0 when Brant surpasses the 100-yard mark.

Turning it up a notch
On quite a few occasions this season, the Dolphins' defense has strapped their helmets a little tighter and raised the energy level in the second half.
The trend began after allowing 35 points, 147 rushing yards and 292 yards of total offense in the first half against SE Louisiana on Sept. 16. The Dolphins rebounded in the second half by allowing only six points, 81 rushing yards and 131 yards of total offense.
Against Butler on Sept. 23, 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 on Sept. 30, 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.
After two weeks, the Dolphins got back on track by allowing only 113 yards of total offense in the second half against Morehead State.

Sack Attack
Helping the Dolphins in their second half domination has been their ability to get to the quarterback.
After tallying 15 sacks and only 13 turnovers (5 INT, 8 fumbles) last season, the defense picked up its efforts to create turnovers but couldn't get to the quarterback early on.
With seven games under their belts, the Dolphins have forced 13 turnovers (5 INT, 8 fumbles) to go along with 10 sacks. Looking more closely, you will notice that seven of those sacks have come in the last two weeks (3 vs. Dayton, 4 at Morehead State).
Senior nose guard Ryan Young and junior defensive end Sean Heverin each lead the squad with two sacks apiece.

"Big Uglies" healed up
After losing three starters on the offensive line at Butler, the Dolphins are as close to full strength as possible with the return of sophomore right tackle Michael Aguilar last weekend.
With his return, senior right guard Josue Sanchez moved back to his natural position after playing right tackle (two) and left tackle (one) for the past three weeks.
Sophomores Joe Vitale (center), Zach Huffmon (right tackle) and Chris Tessitore (right guard) have also filled into the starting lineup during that time.
To make up for the loss of junior center Rusty Stiglitz (knee), sophomore Steve Reynolds will fill in at the position for the third week. In his first start, Reynolds helped pave the way for senior running back Jerry Brant's career-high 224 yards against Dayton. The Dolphins are 2-0 since his move to the head of the class.
The Dolphins currently rank third in the conference in rushing offense (187.9 ypg), scoring offense (24.8) and total offense (368.8).

Forcing the issue
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.
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 is 1-1 this season when the defense does not force a turnover (Davidson, Morehead State).
The Dolphins rank second in the conference against the run (87.0 ypg) and toal defense (314.8) and is third in scoring defense (21.4 ppg).

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 50 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, three sacks, a pass deflection, two quarterback hurries and two forced fumbles.

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 Oct. 14.
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.
Noel leads the conference with eight passes defended (2.25 per game) and is eighth in the PFL with 36 tackles (26 solo). He is also tied for the team lead with an interception. Last season, he appeared in five games as a true freshman and finished with seven tackles.

Conner named Special Teams POW
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.
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.
In seven games, Conner is third in the PFL and is eighth in the nation in all-purpose yards with an average of 158.4 yards per contest. He is also second in the conference with an average of 9.43 yards per return.

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.

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 35-50 (.411) record in 85 games. The Dolphins are 20-23 all-time at Milne Field, 13-25 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 Football League.

D.B. Milne Field
The Dolphins are 20-23 (.465) 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 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 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 (UCF).

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).