Dolphins Celebrate Homecoming With 31-22 Win Over Wagner

Nov. 11, 2000

Box Score

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Junior quarterback Gary Cooper completed 13-of-26 passes for a season-high 201 yards and two touchdowns, while running for another score, as Jacksonville University defeated Wagner, 31-22, on Homecoming Saturday afternoon at D.B. Milne Field.

Cooper completed passes to 11 different receivers, including a season-long 54-yard touchdown bomb to junior wideout Brett Palmi (Lakeworth, Fla.) and a 15-yard scoring strike to wide receiver Jonathan Turner (Melbourne, Fla.). The Dolphin defense, meanwhile, held the high-octane Seahawk offense to 265 yards. With the win, JU improves to 3-6 on the year while Wagner falls to 6-4.

Junior linebackers Tommy Swindell (Edgewater, Fla.) and Daniel Irby (Wauchula, Fla.) combined for 14 tackles and two sacks, including two tackles behind the line of scrimmage and a pass defensed by Irby. Defensive tackle Justin Yowell (Parkland, Fla.) added two sacks (-20 yards) to increase his school-record of career sacks to 18.

Wagner drew struck first, scoring on a 20-yard pass from Aaron Smith to Chuck Kinsley with 6:27 left to play in the first quarter to take a 7-0 advantage. JU came right back with a 13-play, 78-yard drive to tie the game on a three-yard scoring run by tailback Jon Underhill (Plantation, Fla.) with 31 seconds to play in the opening stanza.

The Dolphins extended the lead to 10-7 on a career-long 35-yard field goal by Brett Keener (Melbourne, Fla.) to take a 10-7 lead at the half. Cooper opened the second-half scoring on a 54-yard scoring strike to Palmi with 9:19 to play in the third to give JU a 17-7 lead. But the Seahawks answered with a five-play, 61-yard drive capped by a seven-yard TD pass from quarterback Aaron Smith to Daryn Plummer to pull Wagner within three, 17-14, with 7:23 to play in the third quarter.

After a muffed punt return by Wagner's Ryan Castellani that was recovered by JU's Dave Reida (Palm Harbor, Fla.), the Dolphins extended their lead to 24-14 on a two-yard quarterback sneak by Cooper to open the fourth quarter. JU cornerback Russell Cheatham (Rockledge, Fla.) forced Smith to fumble, and intercepted a pass in the fourth quarter, as the Dolphins halted Wagner's comeback attempt.

Linebacker Jeremy Balina led the Wagner defense with a game-high 15 tackles, including three of the Seahawks' eight sacks, and seven tackles behind the line of scrimmage..

The Dolphins return to action on Saturday, Nov. 18 when they take on Monmouth in the final home game of the season at 1 p.m. at D.B. Milne Field. The football game will be part of a tripleheader as the women's basketball team tips off against Davidson at 5 p.m. and the men's squad hosts Coastal Carolina at 7:30 p.m. Both basketball games will be played in Swisher Gymnasium.