MONDAY, NOVEMBER 22, 2004
JU Places 10 on Pioneer Football League All-Conference Teams
Nov. 22, 2004
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Jacksonville University had 10 football players earn Pioneer Football League All-Conference honors for the South Division, including seven players on the All-PFL First-Team. Three additional Dolphins earned Honorable-Mention All-PFL honors, as announced by the league office today. JU went 2-1 in PFL South play and earned a share of the regular-season title, but Morehead State represented the South in the PFL title game by virtue of winning the head-to-head tiebreaker with the Dolphins.
Senior tight end Justin Knowles (Perry, Fla.) and sophomore offensive tackle Pat Rich (Sarasota, Fla.) were first-time honorees on offense, while senior defensive end Jason Bense (Tallahassee, Fla.), junior linebacker Brandon Torre (Tallahassee, Fla.) and senior free safety Drew Stafford (Rockville, Md.) were first-time honorees on defense. In addition, junior punter/kicker Ryan Feely (Odessa, Fla.) and freshman Nate Conner (Middleburg, Fla.) earned First-Team All-PFL honors for special teams.
Junior fullback Steven Battle (Jacksonville/Raines), sophomore running back Jerry Brant (Jacksonville/Raines) and sophomore cornerback Bryan Flowers (Delray Beach, Fla.) all earned Honorable Mention ALL-PFL honors for the South Division.
Knowles was one of the league's best blocking tight ends as JU ran for 180.8 yards per game, which ranked fourth in the PFL. He also caught 10 passes for 100 yards. Rich also had a key role in the Dolphins' offensive success as JU averaged 321.6 yards of total offense per game. His run blocking was a key in Brant's breakout sophomore season in which he averaged 80.2 yards per game on the round.
On the defensive side of the ball, Torre led the team and ranked sixth in the PFL with 92 tackles (9.2/game), including 7.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage and 3.5 sacks. Bense finished the season with 23 tackles, but had a team-high 8.0 tackles for loss and 5.5 sacks, which ranked second in the conference. Stafford was second on the team and seventh in the PFL with 86 tackles (8.6/game) in his first season as a starter, while tying for the team lead with two interceptions.
The Dolphins nearly swept all special teams honors as Feely led the PFL and ranked 18th nationally in punting, averaging 40.9 yard per kick, while nailing 14 punts inside the 20-yard line and forcing eight fair catches. He also tied a school record with a 69-yard punt. Feely connected on 19-of-21 point-after attempts and nailed five field goals, including a pair of career-long 38-yarders. Conner was fifth in the conference in kick returns, averaging 21.0 yard per return. He also caught 13 passes for 194 yards and three touchdowns as a true freshman.
No. 2 Drake (10-2) won the Pioneer Football League championship after defeating South Division champion No. 9 Morehead State, 20-17, in the fourth PFL Championship game on Nov. 20.