Time’s up: Crucial week for JU as PFL play opens
Tick, tock, tick tock …. Ennnnnnntttt. Time’s up.

The JU football team’s early season is done (with a 2-1 record) and now it’s show time and on to Pioneer Football League conference play and the team could have picked an easier place to be this Saturday.

The Dolphins will be going to one of the toughest places to play, and a place where they've never won, when they travel to Dayton for a 1 p.m. kickoff.

“We’re in a crucial stage of our season,’’ coach Kerwin Bell said. “We’re going to one of the toughest places to win in this conference.’’

The Flyers host their games in Welcome Stadium, interesting in that they aren’t too welcoming at home. Since moving to the facility in 1974, they are 194-40-2 and three of those wins have come against JU.

On top of that, signs this will be a competitive game come from history.

Since the PFL returned to single division play in2006, JU has a 5-1 record in league openers and Dayton is 4-2 and each has a four-game league-opening win streak to defend.

The Dolphins have been plagued in the early season by offensive miscues normally associated with a younger team.

“We’re doing those little things that a young team does that we have got to correct before we play Dayton,’’ Bell said. “We are going against a well-coached team and we’ve got to be much better in those areas, fundamentally sound, and be much cleaner. We have to stay away from the big loss of yardage, big penalties and there’s a lot of work to do.’’

JU also is plagued by not knowing what the quarterback situation is this week.

Starter Kade Bell was knocked silly against Webber International last week and his status is unknown. Sophomore Trevius Folston backs him up.

Before leaving the Webber game, Bell was 10 of 19 passing for 200 yards and a pair of touchdowns and Folston followed going 20 of 33 for 209 yards and a touchdown. Each threw a scoring toss to PFL co-Offensive Player of the Week wide receiver D’Andre Randle.

The Dolphin defense, which is first in the country in pass defense efficiency and fifth in overall pass defense, will be trying to stop the Dayton rushing attack which has averaged 111 yards per game.

“Defensively, you’ve got to be ready to hang your hat and play as well as you have all season,’’ Kerwin Bell said. “We have got to clean up some areas. We’re going to stay up all night trying to get it done because we understand this is a crucial week.’’

The game will be broadcast on 92.5FM and on 1010XL.com with veteran play-by-play caller Terry Norvelle announcing. The pregame show begins at 12:30 p.m.

- Jim Nasella