JU falls in PFL title game to San Diego, 23-14
Quarterback Josh McGregor threw for 214 yards Saturday.
Quarterback Josh McGregor threw for 214 yards Saturday.
SAN DIEGO, Calif. – San Diego scored 17 first half points and held on to beat Jacksonville University 23-14 and win a share of the Pioneer Football League title here Saturday.

The Toreros (9-2, 7-1) withstood a second-half charge from the Dolphins (7-4, 6-2) and sealed the game with a 63-yard pass from quarterback Mason Mills to running back Kenny James who slipped behind the defense and made a juggling running catch before scoring.

“It’s very disappointing day but the better team won today,’’ coach Kerwin Bell said. “They got us in a one-dimensional game and that was the difference.’’

In fact, the Dolphins had but 33 yards rushing and quarterback Josh McGregor was sacked seven times. McGregor ended the day going 22 of 36 passes for 214 yards and one touchdown. McGregor broke the PFL record for completions and wound up with 116 career touchdown passes, sixth all-time in the FCS.

San Diego pulled to a 7-0 lead after the Toreros’ punter Ernie Collins hammered a 62-yard punt which pinned JU at its own 2. After a Dolphin three-and-out and a punt, San Diego started a drive from JU’s 30 and took six plays to get in when running back Kenny James went in from the 1.

The Toreros scored again after JU quarterback Josh McGregor was ruled to have fumbled trying to escape a rush and San Diego recovered at the JU 29.

JU coach Kerwin Bell heatedly contested the call and was hit with a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty which moved the ball to the Dolphins’ 14. Four plays later, Kenslow Smith scored from the 3.

“It was the key play of the first half,’’ Bell said. “You could see he was down but they (the officials) didn’t like that I was challenging it. They said they couldn’t overrule it.’’

McGregor hit wide receiver Adrian Riley on a 35-yard score with 7:21 to play in the second for a 17-7 deficit. The Dolphins dominated the third quarter and came back to 17-14 when senior J.J. Laster scored from the 1 with 1:10 to go in the quarter.

Laster ended with 46 yards rushing and ended the season with 10 rushing touchdowns and one by receiving for the year.

Laster, from Graceville, Fla., ended the season with 610 yards rushing.

- Jim Nasella