Football hits the road to face Gardner-Webb

Sept. 7, 2007

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - For the season opener, the Jacksonville University football team faced a run-oriented team in Bethune- Cookman.

The Dolphins will face an offensive style on the opposite end of the spectrum as JU hits the road to face Gardner-Webb, a member of the Big South Conference, at 6 p.m. on Saturday. The game will be broadcast on 1010XL, with the Bono's pre-game show starting at 5:30 p.m.

The Bulldogs (0-1) like to throw the ball - putting up 47 attempts in last week's 36-14 loss at Ohio.

"They have a lot of weapons and like to throw the ball a lot," said JU head coach Kerwin Bell. "It's a completely different style than what we played last week, but our guys are prepared for the challenge."

Saturday's contest is a rematch from last year's season opener that saw the Bulldogs come away with a 49-14 win at D.B. Milne Field. Trailing 14- 7 in the second quarter, Gardner-Webb scored 42 unanswered to seal the win.

The final game of the initial home-and- home series is the type of games that Bell wants JU to play.

"Our goal is to compete at a high level against our competition," Bell said. "This is the type of game that we can use a gauge as to where we are and how far we have to go."

The Dolphins last win over a scholarship program came in 2003 against Coastal Carolina. JU is 2-13 all time against scholarship team in the Football Championship Subdivision.


- Improvement: Coach Bell believes that his team made significant strides this week in practice and is ready to go for Saturday. "For most teams, they make their most improvements from week one to week two," Bell said. "We believe we're one of those teams and I think we had a good week of practice to get ready for this game."

- Ball control: Last week, three turnovers in the second half sunk the Dolphins hopes for an upset at Bethune-Cookman. JU was only able to force one turnover last week, and facing an up- tempo passing attack is going to give the defensive backs a lot of opportunities to make plays.

- Running backs: The Dolphins are carrying five backs for this trip and all of them are expected to see action, including highly-touted freshman Rudell Small. Tommie Rogers had an impressive showing in the season opener while Cecil Coltrane led the team in rushing yards.