Dolphins travel to open conference play at Davidson
The longest-running rivalry in JU football history will add another chapter on Saturday as the Dolphins travel to open Pioneer Football League play at Davidson.

The matchup features the top two-leading rushers in the PFL – JU’s Rudell Small and Davidson’s Kenny Mantuo. Small is averaging 100.3 yards per game while Mantuo is averaging 108 yards per game.

Kickoff is set for 1 p.m., with the game being broadcast on 1010XL with Barry Milligan calling the action. The Bono’s Barbecue Pregame Show opens the coverage at 12:30 p..m.

“This is where our season really starts,” said JU head coach Kerwin Bell. “When you get into conference play, the games take on greater importance. Davidson is always a good team and they are going to be ready to play.”

Mantuo saved the Wildcats (1-2, 1-0 PFL) last week, rushing for 181 yards on 34 carries and scored the game-winning touchdown in the final minute to give Davidson a 28-27 win over Campbell. It was his fifth career 100-yard outing.

Small meanwhile was rushing for 153 yards and one touchdown last week against Webber International, the 15th time in his career that he has rushed for 100 yards in a game.

“When you have a physical running back, it can set the tone for your offense,” Bell said. “Our defense knows they have a tall task in slowing their back down.”

With this being the 13th meeting all time between the two teams, the last two have been memorable.

In 2008, JU opened its PFL schedule at Davidson with the Wildcats rallying for a 38-35 win. Jacksonville led 35-14 late in the third quarter before the wild rally in the final few minutes. JU bounced back to win its final seven games and the PFL championship.

Last season, Jacksonville built a 27-7 lead at home against the Wildcats only to see Davidson make one last ditch effort in the fourth quarter, that came up just short as the Dolphins held on for a 27-21 win.

“The last two games against them have been close – where one play here or there decides the game,” Bell said. “That’s one of the things we’ve emphasized to the guys this week – every play is important. You’ve got to play hard and put everything on the line every play.”