Dolphins go to the air as they face Valparaiso on Saturday
Riding high after its fourth straight win and being on the verge of cracking the top 25, the JU football team will put its share of first place in the Pioneer Football League on the line at Valparaiso on Saturday.

Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. (EST) and will be broadcasted on 1010XL starting at 1:30 p.m. with the Bono’s Barbecue Pregame Show with Barry Milligan will be calling all the action.

Jacksonville’s (5-1, 3-0 PFL) winning streak has caught attention nationwide, with the Dolphins moving up to 29th in the Sports Network/Fathead.com poll, 32nd in the FCS Coaches Poll and 16th in the Bilo Performance Index.

The Dolphins look to keep the momentum going, starting with an offense that has produced at least 490 yards in each of the last four games.

“We’re excited to get some recognition from the national media, but we’re long way from accomplishing anything,” said JU head coach Kerwin Bell. “’Our focus is on winning the next game and staying on the path to the PFL championship.”

One of the constants this season has been the big play ability of the defense.

JU is ranked fourth nationally in turnover-ratio per game (+1.75) and showed the prowess against Drake, picking off three passes. Jordan Dewhirst picked one off in the second quarter and returned it 30 yards for touchdown.

While Dewhirst was able to return his for a score, the last pick was just as important. Lacy McDougald stepped up with an interception to end Drake’s final drive and preserve a 39-34 win.

As the defense continues to improve, the offense keeps on rolling.

Jacksonville had a balanced attack, rushing for 170 yards and getting 320 yards in the air. Rudell Small rushed for 124 yards on 29 carries, his first 100-yard effort in four games.

Leading the aerial attack was the trio of Rodney Sumter, Elliott Finkley and Josh Philpart. Each had four catches in the game, with Sumter getting the only receiving touchdown on a 30-yard pass.

Finkley gained 77 yards on four catches to become the ninth receiver in JU history to record 1,000 receiving yards in their career. Philpart meanwhile increased his school-record career total of catches to 119 and continues his quest for the school’s career receiving yards record.

“Last week we were really balanced on offense,” Bell said. “We wanted to establish a physical presence with our running game and we were able to break some big runs. When we get the running game going, it allows us to do more things in our passing game and we’ve got a lot of people who can make big plays when we get them the ball.”


  • The Dolphins fourth straight win ties for the second-longest winning streak in program history. The longest is seven set by the 2008 team that won the PFL title.
  • JU is tied with Dayton atop the PFL standings at 3-0 after the Flyers beat San Diego 21-20. The two teams will not play each other this season.
  • Jacksonville is off to its best start in program history – overall and in conference play.
  • Josh McGregor needs four yards for 7,000 passing yards in his career. He is ranked in the top 10 nationally among active quarterbacks in career passing yards and leads the active quarterbacks in career passing efficiency rating.