Football knocks off Butler, 24-16

Nov. 10, 2007

Box Score

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - After watching their opponents make big plays the past three weeks, the JU football team stepped up to make some big plays of their own in knocking off Butler, 24-16, to wrap up Pioneer Football League play.

The JU (3-7, 2-5 PFL) defense picked off three passes, with James Mills record-tying fifth interception of the season icing the game. Mills tied Linj Shell's school record for picks in a season, set in 2001.

The offense also made some big plays as senior quarterback Chris Horton throwing for 206 yards and two touchdowns - including a 70-yard toss to Geavon Tribble for the first score of the game. Horton passed Gary Cooper for second on the school's all-time passing yards list and enters his final game as a Dolphin with 4,445 yards.

"I'm proud of how our guys kept fighting and made some things happen for us to win," said JU head coach Kerwin Bell. "Our defense stepped up and made forced some turnovers and we did a good job of protecting the ball and taking advantage of our opportunities.

"Now, we've got one last chance to strap it on this season. I want this to be our best week of practice as we get ready for a tough opponent in Wagner."

The JU defense held Butler (4-7, 0-7 PFL) to 281 yards of total offense - the second best performance of the season. JU's three interceptions was a new season high as well.

Offensively, JU was able to use a balanced attack against the Bulldogs. Rudell Small rushed for a game-high 87 yards on 18 carries with a touchdown while Horton and Eric Stepelton combined to throw for 273 yards.

Small also did some damage as a receiver, catching five ball for 33 yards. Tribble led the JU receiving corps with 90 yards on three receptions.

JU opened the game quickly, scoring on the second play from scrimmage as Horton hit Tribble in stride on the sideline just 55 second into the game to put the Dolphins on top 7-0.

Small then scored his eighth touchdown of the season on a 4-yard run just four minutes later to give the Dolphins a 14-0 lead.

After a Butler field goal cut the lead to 14-3, Cameron Abdallah caught a 17-yard pass from Horton with 1:54 left in the first half to give the Dolphins a 21-3 lead at the intermission.

Butler rallied in the second half, sandwiching a 27-yard field goal by Michael Zacco with an 11-yard run by Matt Kobli and a 13-yard run by Derek North. North's run with 12:19 left in the game pulled the Bulldogs within eight, 24-16.

The Dolphins' defense was able to make plays late to snuff out the rally. Robson Noel and Mills ended Butler's final two drives with interceptions to seal the win for JU.

The Dolphins wrap up their season at home next week against Wagner. Kickoff is set for Noon.