SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 13, 2010
#22 Jacksonville claims 2010 PFL Championship with 31-24 win over Campbell
Rudell Small has scored a lot of touchdowns in his career at Jacksonville University.
But the most important of his career was his latest, a 3-yard run with 1:43 left to lift the Dolphins (10-1, 8-0 PFL) to a 31-24 victory over Campbell and a share of the 2010 Pioneer Football League Championship.
The touchdown capped a huge day for the JU senior. Playing in his final home game, Small rushed for 114 yards and one touchdown, while catching a team-high six passes for 43 yards.
“It’s hard to win a championship and we had to earn it today,” said JU head coach Kerwin Bell. “You have to give credit to Campbell. They played a great game and executed their game plan.
“Our guys knew at halftime what they had to do. They knew it was going to be given to them. We played at a much higher level in the second half and were able to win the game.”
Clinging to that seven-point lead, Campbell’s final drive lasted just one play as quarterback Daniel Polk was sacked by Rolando Fines, fumbling the ball in the process with Andre Addison recovering the ball for JU and sending a crowd of 5,160 at D.B. Milne Field into celebration.
“Our defense really stepped up in the second half,” Bell said. “We didn’t tackle well in the first half and Campbell took advantage. We did a much better job in the second half and made some big plays that turned the momentum for us.”
Trailing 17-14 at halftime, Jacksonville scored on the opening play of the second half as Colby Walden returned the kickoff 82 yards for a touchdown – the Dolphins first TD on a kickoff return since 2001.
Campbell took a 24-21 lead with 9:17 left in the game when Polk hooked up Mike Stryffeler on an 18-yard touchdown pass. The Dolphins, who had already seen Josh Hostetler miss a field goal and not get to attempt one because of a low snap, saw Hostetler answer with a 42-yard field goal to tie the game at 24 with 7:13 left in the game.
Needing a stop, JU forced the Camels into a 3-and-out, setting up the game winning drive that started at the Campbell 46-yard line.
The Dolphins offense racked up 395 yards on the day, with 235 coming on the ground, with J.J. Laster adding another 93 yards on eight carries. Battling illness, Josh McGregor completed 16-of-25 for 160 yards and one touchdown.
Campbell (3-7, 2-5 PFL) opened the game with a 14-play, 67-yard drive that consumed more than eight minutes and ended with a Rashaun Brown three yard touchdown run.
That drive sparked the Camels to a 17-14 lead at halftime, thanks to a 3-yard touchdown run by Carl Smith and 25-yard field goal by Adam Willets.
JU kept pace in the first half with Rodney Sumter scoring on an 11-yard touchdown reception from McGregor to tie the game at seven. JU tied the game at 14 when McGregor scored on a 4-yard run with 8:45 left in the half.
The Dolphins will enjoy their bye week with rest and recuperation while anxiously waiting the FCS playoff selection show next Sunday at 10 a.m. on ESPNU.