Football Falls To Davidson, 37-29, in PFL South Division Action

Oct. 11, 2003

Box Score

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Senior running back Emmett Hunter (Largo, Fla.) rushed for 156 yards as the Dolphins racked up 519 yards of total offense, but it wasn't enough to overcome three JU turnovers and a career-best 259 yards rushing by Davidson running back John Leverett as the Wildcats held on to beat JU, 37-29, Saturday afternoon in the Pioneer Football League South Division opener for both under torrential rains at D.B. Milne Field. The Dolphins, who have lost two-straight after suffering their first home loss this season, fall to 3-3 overall, 0-1 in league play. Davidson improves to 3-4 overall, 1-0 in PFL play with its seventh-straight road win and its first win at Jacksonville in three tries.

JU trailed 30-6 with 5:36 to play in the third quarter when the Dolphins started their comeback attempt. A bad snap over punter Jack Rice's head resulted in a JU safety to cut the lead to 30-8. The Dolphins then marched 53 yards and scored on a 35-yard touchdown pass from Mike Sturgill (Vero Beach, Fla.) to Richard Gayle (North Port, Fla.) with 52 seconds to play in the third, cutting the Wildcat lead to 30-15. Davidson answered two plays later when quarterback Damion White hit wideout Brett Dioguardi for an 83-yard bomb to extend the lead back to 37-15 with 8:52 to play.

The Dolphins responded with a four-play, 80-yard drive as Sturgill hit sophomore wide receiver Julio Santiago (Jacksonville/Bolles) for his first career touchdown catch from 21 yards out to make it 37-22 at the 4:50 mark of the fourth quarter. Davidson managed one first down conversion on a roughing the punter penalty, but JU recovered a Leverett fumble on 4th-and-1 from the Dolphin 48-yard line with 1:06 remaining. Six plays later, Sturgill hit Santiago again for a 29-yard scoring strike with 10 seconds to play in the game. The Dolphins recovered Ryan Long's (Jacksonville/Orange Park) on-sides kick attempt at their own 32-yard line, but failed to score on the game's final play.

Sturgill finished 19-of-38 for a season-high 292 yards and three touchdowns, but tossed three interceptions which led to 14 Davidson points. Sturgill also ran for a career-best 57. Gayle caught four passes for a career-best 90 yards, while senior wideout Travis Lewis (Crescent City, Fla.) had seven receptions for a career-best 124 yards. Santiago also hauled in five passes for 70 yards and two scores. Hunter has now rushed for 548 yards and five touchdowns in the last three games.

White completed 13-of-25 passes for 283 yards and three touchdowns for the Wildcats, who had 546 yards of total offense and scored five times on drives of five-or-less plays. Sophomore linebacker Alex Arinsmier, filling in for starter Raleigh Robinson, had a game-high 15 tackles to lead the Wildcat defense.

JU returns to action next Saturday at Austin Peay in the Dolphins' only PFL South road game of the season. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m.