Dolphins fall to #3 Appalachian State, 45-14
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The JU football team came looking for respect in its second trip to face national power Appalachian State.

The Dolphins (1-1) did more than that, putting a scare into the third-ranked Mountaineers before a late push by ASU (2-0) to take home a 45-14 win in front of 30,000 at Kidd-Brewer Stadium.

ASU got another stellar performance from quarterback Andre Presley. The junior threw for three touchdowns and 285 yards while rushing for 101 yards.

“I was really proud of our effort today. We were right there with the number three team in the country with five minutes left in the third quarter,” said JU head coach Kerwin Bell. “We’ve closed the gap with them, but they are an awfully good program.”

Trailing 17-7 at the half, JU got a stop to start the final 30 minutes and cut the deficit to three on a 2-yard run by J.J. Laster with 10:02 left in the third quarter.

ASU pushed the lead back to 10 on the ensuing possession, going 88 yards in 11 plays, with Devon Moore scoring from two yards out to make it 24-14 with 5:45 left in the third.

That was all the momentum the Mountaineers needed. ASU finished the game by scoring 28 unanswered, including two late touchdowns in the fourth quarter with the game already in hand.

“We missed a few plays there at the end of the first half that could have made the game a little bit different,” Bell said. “They are tough to stop on offense and we were out of gas there in the fourth quarter.”

ASU’s offense rolled up 620 yards, the fourth-highest total ever allowed by JU. A lot of those yards came on third down, as the Mountaineers were 11-of-14 on the third down conversions, eventually holding the ball for more than 32 minutes, wearing down the JU defense.

“When you keep getting them in third down situations and can’t get them off the field, it gives them more and more confidence,” Bell said. “We got two turnovers today and they made a lot of big plays to keep us in the game early, so there a lot of positives for us to take out of this.”

The Dolphins got off to a rough start in the first quarter for the second straight week, trailing 10-0 at the end of the first 15 minutes with only one first down and just 25 yards of total offense.

Jacksonville got on the board when Rudell Small scored on a 30-yard toss by Josh McGregor to cut the deficit to 10-7 with 7:56 left in the first half.

ASU, which got a field goal with 1:38 left and a 41-yard touchdown pass from Presley to Brian Quick to end the first quarter, ended the half with Presley hooking up with Quick again from 15-yards out to make it 17-7 at the half.

Jacksonville finished the game with 257 yards of total offense, with 181 of that coming through the air. McGregor completed 13-of-30 passing for 169 yards and one touchdown with one interception.

JU’s leading receiver was Small, who caught three passes for 46 yards and a touchdown. The ASU defense keyed in on the all-time leading rusher, holding him to 30 yards on 12 carries. Laster led the Dolphins ground attack with 44 yards on eight carries.

Josh Philpart was held without reception, snapping his streak of 20 straight games with a catch.

Two years ago, JU fell to the then No. 1 Mountaineers, 56-7. That JU team went on to win the Pioneer Football League title.

Jacksonville will open its home schedule on Saturday night at 7 p.m. when the Dolphins host Webber International at Skinner-Barco Stadium on the campus of The Bolles School.