JU hosts Drake in crucial PFL matchup
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“It’s the biggest game of our season so far.”

Those words were uttered by JU head coach Kerwin Bell this week as he prepared his JU football team for Saturday’s matchup against Drake in a battle of Pioneer Football League unbeatens.

Kickoff is set for Noon at D.B. Milne Field, with the game being broadcast on 1010XL and ASun.TV starting at 11:30 a.m. with Bono’s Barbecue Pregame Show. It will also be “Beaches Appreciation Day” as anyone with an ID that shows they live east of the Intercoastal waterway will be able to purchase tickets for $5.

JU (4-1, 2-0 PFL) has been rolling on offense, racking up more than 500 yards in each of the last three games. A big part of that has been the aerial show under the direction of Josh McGregor. He has authored three straight 300-yard outings, including a career-best 405 yards at Davidson two weeks ago.

Drake (3-2, 2-0 PFL) is coming off a 42-0 drubbing of Marist at home last week to officially throw their hat into the PFL title race. Last year, the Bulldogs lost to Butler in the season finale with the title hanging in the balance.

“Drake is a very good football team,” Bell said. “They are well coached, disciplined and very physical. Our guys know how important this game is to both teams, especially after last year’s game where their win took away our hopes at the championship.”

A key for Jacksonville will be the play of its defense, which has shined of late. The Dolphins have allowed less than 300 yards in each of its last three games and has recorded at least four sacks in the last two games.

While JU isn’t giving up yards, they are also creating turnovers – ranking fourth nationally in turnover ratio per game at +1.75.

“Our defensive coaches have talked all year about making big plays and creating turnovers,” Bell said. “Any time you get a turnover it is a big play, but our guys are making really big momentum turning plays and that is all you can ask for out of that group.”

Jacksonville will be looking to exorcise some demons in the game as well. The series against Drake is the second-longest in program history, with the Bulldogs owning an 8-1 lead. JU’s only win though came two years ago at home, a 41-9 victory that propelled the Dolphins to their only PFL championship.