JU stretch run begins with tough Toreros
The first of a four-game set of head knockers to end the JU football season kicks off Saturday and everything, including the Pioneer Football League title, is up for grabs the next several weeks.

Step one is when San Diego (3-3, 2-1) comes calling at 1 p.m. at D B. Milne Field. The Toreros ko’d JU title hopes in last season’s final game with a 23-14 win in California.

JU coach Kerwin Bell sees many similarities in the teams.

“They have three good phases to their team, like we do, and they are the closest to us with that, along with Drake,’’ he said. “They’re really good on defense, offensively they play a pro style like we do and are balanced in their run and pass game and their special teams are special and create a lot of field position.’’

The Toreros pounded Campbell, 44-0, last week when freshman running back Dallas Kessman came back from a shoulder injury and tied a school record with four rushing touchdowns.

The USD running game revolves around four backs including Kenny James who had 126 yards rushing in last year’s win against the Dolphins.

“Whoever’s got the hot hand is who we are going with,’’ San Diego coach Ron Caragher said. “It’s nice to have more than one guy.’’

Bell is aware of USD’s want of offensive balance and he is wary of James, who saw limited action last week.

“If they can run with success they will continue with it,’’ Bell said. “We were like a MASH unit last year out there on defense, we’re a different team. James is the head of the snake for them. We’ve got to cut the head of the snake there. He led the nation last season in total yards per game. He is a dynamic player.’’

The JU defense has given up less than 95 rushing yards a game the last six games while making its way to the top of the PFL with Butler and Drake.

Offensively, JU, too, will look for some balance with running back Eric Baker, who has had a pair of 100-yard games back-to-back and quarterback Kade Bell, who has completed 60 percent of his passes this season with 12 touchdowns, leading the way.

“It will be two good teams, well rounded, with a lot of good athletes on the field,’’ Kerwin Bell said. “I always said at Florida that Auburn always matched up with us athletically, that’s our feeling toward San Diego.’’

Caragher said his philosophy is the game that week is the most important but acknowledged his team can’t afford a misstep.

“If we want to stay in the conference race we have to go out and play a solid game and come home with a win,’’ he said.

The game will be televised on CW17 and the radio broadcast can be heard on 92.5 FM and The radio pregame show with Terry Norvelle and former JU quarterback Josh McGregor begins at 12:30 p.m.