THURSDAY, AUGUST 21, 2003
Football To Face Toughest Schedule Yet in 2003
Aug. 21, 2003
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The JU football team will face its toughest schedule ever in 2003 with six scholarship opponents, five games against teams from the Pioneer Football League and a road schedule which includes more than 6,600 miles of travel. The Dolphins, which also play live on the Sunshine Network for the second straight season, are 11-14 all-time against similar non-scholarship opponents and have five wins over scholarship programs. JU's three wins last year came against scholarship programs - Charleston Southern (I-AA), Lenoir-Rhyne (D-II) and Edward Waters (NAIA).
The Dolphins, which are entering their sixth season of football at the NCAA Division I-AA non-scholarship level, will face six scholarship opponents, including Division I-AA Florida International (56 scholarships), Southeastern Louisiana (50 scholarships), who is coached by former Kentucky coach Hal Mumme, and first-year program Coastal Carolina (35 scholarships). Other scholarship programs include Division II Wingate (25 scholarships) and Lenoir-Rhyne (25 scholarships) from the South Atlantic Conference, as well as Webber International, a first-year NAIA program.
JU's league schedule features five games, three of which count toward the PFL South standings. The Dolphins host Davidson and defending PFL South champion Morehead State at Milne Field, as well as Valparaiso (Ind.) from the PFL North. PFL road contests include a return trip to Des Moines, Iowa, to take on Drake, which handed JU its only shutout (42-0) back in 2000, as well as return trip to Austin Peay, where the Dolphins clinched the PFL South title in 2001.
"Our goal is to reclaim the PFL South title," said head coach Steve Gilbert, who has directed the Dolphin program since its inception in 1997. "The division is up for grabs, but we have proven that we can beat anyone on our schedule."
After opening the season at Lenoir-Rhyne, the Dolphins will play three consecutive home games before traveling to Iowa on Oct. 4 to face No. 14 Drake. JU will then play its three PFL South games against No. 5 Davidson, No. 10 Austin Peay and No. 4 Morehead State (homecoming), two of which are at Milne Field. The Dolphins' final three games are against scholarship opponents, including a Thursday night (Oct. 30) game on TV at Florida International, followed by JU's first trip to Southeastern Louisiana, where the Lions have reinstated football for the first time since 1985. The Dolphins close the season against Webber International on Nov. 15 at Milne Field.
All totaled, the Dolphins will travel 6,660 miles on their five away games in 2003, including trips to North Carolina, Tennessee, Iowa and Louisiana.
The winner of the North and South Divisions of the PFL will meet in third annual league championship game on Nov. 22 at the home field of the North champion. JU fell to No. 1 Dayton, 46-14, in the inaugural PFL Championship Game in 2001 in Dayton, Ohio.
The Dolphins hold their first scrimmage of the 2003 season on Saturday at 9 a.m. at the Ashley Sports Complex on the JU campus.
Jacksonville University 2003 Football Schedule