Football runs away from UNC-Pembroke, 55-10

Sept. 22, 2007

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Jacksonville football team's return home was sweet as the Dolphins rolled to a 55-10 win on Saturday at D.B. Milne Field, the largest margin of victory in school history.

JU (1-2) got a record tying effort from freshman running back Rudell Small. The Ocala, Fla. native rushed for 112 yards on 19 carries and five touchdowns, tying the school record set by Greg Portee in 1998.

The 45-point win surpasses JU's previous high of 41 set in a 58-14 against LaSalle for Homecoming 1998. The 55 points is the most by the Dolphins since scoring 55 points in the 2005 home opener against Butler.

"This was a good win, but we still have a lot of things to work on," said JU head coach Kerwin Bell after his first collegiate win. "Today was a great because we were able to get a lot of guys in the game and do the things we need to do to win."

The Dolphins offense compiled a total of 507 yards, with 244 of that coming on the ground. Small's rushing effort was the first 100-yard rushing day for a Dolphin this season.

"The line was able to open some holes and Rudell was able to get through them to make some big plays," Bell said.

The JU quarterback duo of Chris Horton and Erik Stepelton combined to throw for 263 yards and two touchdowns. Horton was 10-of-16 for 166 yards and one touchdown, while Stepleton came on in relief in the second half, completing 6-of-11 for 97 yards and a score.

The Dolphins' defense showed its muscles as well, limiting the Braves to 266 yards of total offense and forced two turnovers. The defense also had four sacks and eight tackles for a loss, with Joey Rumph, Quintan Salery, Joseph Fennell and Raymond Gault each recording a sack.

Robson Noel led the Dolphins with nine tackles and one forced fumble while Rumph and Salery had seven tackles apiece.

"The defense really got after it and other than one big play did their job," Bell said. "They kept their big guys in check and took them out of rhythm all day."

JU opened the game quickly, driving 63 yards in six plays for a touchdown, capped by Horton hooking up with Nate Conner for 48-yard scoring pass with just 7:54 left in the first quarter.

Leading 7-0, Small began his run to the record book with a three-yard run with 7:54 left in the first to put the Dolphins on top 14-0.

The Braves (1-3) struck back with a big play - Rashan Kennedy rushing for a 46-yard score to get UNCP back in the game, trailing 14-7.

But the Dolphins weren't going to be too hospitable, scoring three touchdowns in the final six minutes of the first half to take a 35-7 lead at the half. Small capped each drive with rushing touchdown, the first from two-yards out, the second saw him break several tackles and burst down the sidelines from 27-yards out and the final came on a four-yard scamper.

UNCP drew first blood in the second half with a 41-yard field goal from Andrew Williams, cutting the deficit to 35-10.

But Small got back into his scoring groove, running into the endzone from eight-yards out to put JU on top 42-10.

A pair of Michael Zacco field goals early in the fourth quarter gave JU a 48-10 lead, the first from 37 and the last from 31.

JU capped the scoring with Stepelton's first collegiate touchdown pass - a 27-yard strike to Greg Louissaint to provide the final margin.

The Dolphins are back in action again on Sept. 29 as they open Pioneer Football League play against Davidson. Kickoff at D.B. Milne Field is set for Noon.