Football plays at Valparaiso on Saturday at 1 p.m. EST

Sept. 28, 2006


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After getting in the win column to open Pioneer Football League play, JU will continue conference action against Valparaiso at Brown Field on Saturday, Sept. 30, at 1 p.m. EST. The Dolphins, who played at Butler on Sept. 23, are in the midst of a season-high four-game road trip and will play in the state of Indiana for the second-consecutive weekend.
The game will be broadcast live on ESPN 1460 WZNZ with Barry Milligan returning for a second tour of duty as the "Voice of the Dolphins." The contest can also be heard live on as part of the JU Sports Network.

Head coach Steve Gilbert
Head coach Steve Gilbert is in his ninth season at Jacksonville, his 10th year overall. The 49- year-old Freehold, N.J. native, hired in February of 1997, has built the program from the ground up. He has posted a 32-49 (.390) mark at JU, including a 22- 21 mark against similar non-scholarship programs and 10 wins against scholarship teams.
Gilbert, who was named the 1996 NCAA Division III Coach of the Year after leading Ursinus College to its first-ever NCAA playoff berth, led the Dolphins to their first winning season in 2001 (6-5) and the PFL South Division Championship with a perfect 3-0 mark in divisional play. Gilbert has a career record of 73-98 (.427) in 17 seasons as a collegiate head coach.

National spotlight Junior Nate Conner has made plays as a receiver but is most lethal when he is sitting under a ball for a return on special teams.
In three games, Conner leads the nation in all-purpose yards with an average of 208.7 yards per contest. He also leads the conference with an average of 12.7 yards per punt return, including a high of 64 yards.
At Butler, Conner racked up 247 yards of total offense (70 receiving yards, 176 return yards) en route to PFL Special Teams Player of the Week accolades. Included in the receiving performance was a 64-yard score in the first quarter.
Conner earned all-PFL honors as a freshman after finishing with 21.0 yards per return, including a career-high 66-yard touchdown return against Austin Peay on Oct. 16, 2004. He expanded his talents to punts as well in 2005 as he finished with 13.0 yards per return, including a season-high 67-yard touchdown at Austin Peay on Oct. 22. Conner also finished with an average of 30.4 yards per return with a season-high 46-yard return against Morehead State on Oct. 8.

Horton earns PFL weekly honor too The incumbent starter heading into the 2006 season, junior Chris Horton has picked up where he left off at the end of last season in which he took over the starting role in the final three games.
In six career starts, Horton has led the Dolphins to a 2-0 mark in the PFL.
In 2006, Horton has become more of a threat through the air by tying a program record with four touchdown passes in a 31-7 win at Butler. Although he completed only 9-of-16 passes for 156 yards, Horton had touchdown strikes of 64, 44, 18 and six yards to earn PFL Offensive Player of the Week honors on Sept. 25.

JU in the national rankings
After kicking the full-scholarship opponents from the schedule, JU is finding its way back into the national rankings in 2006.
The Dolphins rank 11th in Don Hansen's Top- 12 poll, 12th in the College Sports Top-20 poll and are receiving votes in The Sports Network Top-10 Poll.
JU has been nationally ranked in 46 of the last 53 weeks since entering the polls at the start of the 2001 season. JU had spent 15 straight weeks in the Sports Network I-AA Mid-Major Top-10 Poll, reaching as high as No. 2 on Oct. 1, 2001. The Dolphins briefly entered the Sports Network Top 10 in 2003 with a No. 9 ranking on Sept. 29 following a 3-1 start. The Division I-AA Mid-Major polls includes the 22 programs of the MAAC, NEC and Pioneer Football League, which play at a non-scholarship or limited scholarship level.

Brant breaks out
It took three weeks, but senior running back Jerry Brant has finally broke the 100-yard barrier in 2006.
In his defense, Brant gained 88 yards and scored a touchdown against two full-scholarship opponents in the first two games. Against Butler, he gained 101 yards on 19 carries to break the 100-yard plateau for the eighth time in his career.
In the JU career record book, he needs only 210 yards to surpass Jon Underhill for third place in the all-time rushing list.

Putting the clamps down The Dolphin defense made some changes during the Southeastern Louisiana contest and the results were noticeable as JU won the second half battle by a score of 7-6 and earned its first win over Butler, 31-7.
After allowing 35 points, 147 rushing yards and 292 yards of total offense in the first half, the Dolphins rebounded in the second half against SLU by allowing only six points, 81 rushing yards and 131 yards of total offense.
Against Butler, the Dolphins allowed only 26 yards rushing and 167 yards of total offense as the unit dominated the contest.

Young timber
Freshman strong safety Jason Wood has made the most of his opportunity to replace former Dolphin Bernard Opaku in 2006.
After being converted from running back in preseason camp, Wood was inserted into the starting lineup within a week and has never looked back.
After three games, Wood leads the squad with 19 tackles (10 solo) and is tied for eighth in the conference with an average of 6.3 tackles per contest.

Nose for the ball
Freshman linebacker Allen Fennell has become the force in the middle for the Dolphins after earning the starting nod during fall camp.
Although he is still learning the intricacies of the position, his athleticism and natural instincts have made him the second leading tackler on the squad with 18 (10 solo) while also forcing and recovering a fumble through three games. He is also tied for 13th in the PFL with an average of 6.0 per game.

The power of many
One of the major holes to be filled for the Dolphins in 2006 was left by all-time leading tackler Brandon Torre in the linebacker corps. Torre, who finished with 277 career tackles, was a mainstay on the strong side and a fierce competitor despite his lack of outstanding athletic ability.
The counter balance to that loss has been a team effort in which several linebackers have rotated during games. The "team concept" approach has served the unit well as the defense has continued to make an identity for itself.
Starting in Torre's place has been sophomore Winston Ward. In three games, Ward has racked up 10 tackles, a tackle for loss, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
Also making an impact has been junior Quintan Salery. In three games, Salery has seven tackles, including two tackles for a loss.

Forcing the issue
Another bright spot for the Dolphins in 2006 has been the playmaking ability of the defense, which has forced seven turnovers.
A major point of emphasis during preseason camp, the Dolphins have set a goal of causing three turnovers per contest.
Among the season-high five turnovers forced by JU against Gardner-Webb (four fumbles, one interception), two of the fumbles came inside the Dolphins' own five-yard line in back-to-back possessions by the Bulldogs.
The Dolphins also forced a fumble against SE Louisiana and Butler.

Curry named PFL Special Teams POW
Freshman place kicker Donovan Curry was named Pioneer Football League Special Teams Player of the Week after tallying seven points, including a pair of field goals, in a 41-13 loss to Southeastern Louisiana on Sept. 16 at Strawberry Stadium.
Curry, who connected on his first collegiate field goals in the contest, nailed a 23-yard attempt to put the Dolphins on the board first. He ended the half with 37-yard attempt to match the longest made field goal by former kicker Ryan Feely in 2005. Curry also added an extra-point in the third quarter to finish the perfect night.
Against Butler, Curry put up seven more points to help the squad to its first win of the season. Included in the mix was a career-high 39 yard field goal, which was the fourth longest kick in program history.
A three-year letterwinner as a kicker at Eastside High School in Gainesville, Curry also played four years of soccer for the Rams. He won the kicking job during fall camp in a four-man freshman tryout.

As we make our way to the trenches, you will find the heart and soul of the Dolphins' defensive attack in 2006. Senior nose guard Ryan Young and junior defensive tackle Kiel Pierce have been a one- two punch on the defensive front for three years .
With a defense that got younger in a hurry, the duo will be faced with the largest role of their tenure: create havoc at the point of attack. In 2005, the twosome combined for 64 tackles, seven tackles for loss and a sack and helped pave the way for linebacker Brandon Torre to set the program record for tackles. Young ranked third on the squad with 40 tackles (20 solo) and registered at least five tackles in 5-of-8 contests. Pierce finished with 24 tackles (13 solos) and one sack.
In 2006, the duo has combined for 19 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, a sack, a pass deflection, two quarterback hurries and two forced fumbles.

How about replacing an All-American?
Probably the biggest shoes, and leg, to replace will be those left by All-America kicker Ryan Feely.
Feely earned first team all-conference honors for the second straight year after ranking sixth in the nation with 42.8 yards per punt.
The competition to replace Feely began with four true freshmen during preseason camp. The man who emerged from the rubble has been Joe Recktenwald.
Through three games, Recktenwald ranks fifth in the conference with an average of 33.4 yards per punt.

Rich named Pre-Season All-American
Dolphin senior offensive lineman Pat Rich was tabbed second team I-AA Mid-Major Preseason All-America by Don Hansen's Football Gazette.
Rich, who was named team captain in the spring, earned honorable mention Division I-AA Mid- Major All-America accolades by at the end of the 2004 season.
A two-time first team all-Pioneer Football League selection, Rich has developed into the anchor of the Dolphin line since playing in all 11 games as a true freshman in 2003. During that season, the Dolphins produced a school-record 4,463 yards of total offense, 2,103 rushing yards and running back Emmett Hunter rushed for a program-record 1,467 yards en route to All-America honors. As a sophomore, Rich had a key role in the Dolphins' success in the rushing attack as JU ran for 180.8 yards per game, fourth-best in the PFL. Last season, the Dolphins set the program record for total offense (585 yards) against Butler as well as the second highest total offensive output (578 yards) and the second highest rushing total (371) against North Greenville.

Jacksonville University Dolphins
JU is entering its ninth season of intercollegiate football at the NCAA Division I-AA non- scholarship level and has a 32-49 (.390) record in 81 games. The Dolphins are 19-23 all-time at Milne Field, 12-25 on the road and 1-1 at neutral sites.
After competing as an independent for the first three years of the program, JU is in its sixth season as a member of the Pioneer Football League.
Former Dolphin players who have reached the professional ranks include Micah Ross, a wide receiver and special teams player (Jacksonville Jaguars, San Diego Chargers, and Carolina Panthers) and Linj Shell, a corner with the Cologne Centurions (Philadelphia Eagles) of NFL Europe.

D.B. Milne Field
The Dolphins are 19-23 (.452) all-time at D.B. Milne Field in six-plus seasons of football. In 2003, JU started 3-0 at home for the first time ever and finished the season with a program-best four home wins. The Dolphins' record was a standing-room- only crowd of 4,890 in the inaugural game against Davidson on Sept. 12, 1998.

JU selected fifth in new PFL Poll
JU was selected to finish fifth in the restructured Pioneer Football League in the preseason coaches' poll.
The PFL, which featured a north and south division the past five seasons, will revert back to a single division comprising eight teams in 2006. Due to the loss of a league championship game, the PFL regular-season winner will face the winner of the Northeast Conference in the inaugural Gridiron Classic.
Defending champion San Diego was predicted to finish first with five first-place votes (45 points) and Dayton earned two first-place votes for a total of 43 points. Drake rounded out the top three with 37 points and three-time defending South champion Morehead State was picked fourth with 32 points.
JU, which received one first-place vote, ranked fifth with 26 points ahead of Davidson (17), Valparaiso (15) and Butler (9).

JU in the Pioneer Football League
JU went a perfect 3-0 in the South Division en route to the 2001 PFL South championship in its first year in the league. Amongst teams which are still in the PFL, the Dolphins are 8-16 in five seasons.
The Dolphins are 2-9 against opponents from the former North Division (1-0 vs. Butler, 0-5 vs. Drake, 0-2 vs. Dayton, 0-1 vs. San Diego, 1-1 vs. Valparaiso) and 6-7 (.462) all-time against the former PFL South teams (5-3 vs. Davidson, 1-4 vs. Morehead State).

New additions to the staff
Three new faces will grace the Dolphin sidelines in 2006 with the additions of Brian Ferguson (RB), Scott Hughes (WR) and Lt. David Hills as a volunteer kicking specialist.
After announcing the promotion of fourth- year coach Luther Price from wide receivers to defensive backs, special teams and recruiting coordinator this summer, second-year coach Thomas Wagers moves from tight ends to quarterbacks and third-year offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Andy McLeod will incorporate tight ends.
The trio replaces Jason DesJarlais (Yale), Chris Norris (Southeast Missouri) and Ryan Silverfield (Central Florida).

Strength of schedule
The Dolphins' 2006 schedule features one of the toughest schedules in program history, including only four games being played at D.B. Milne Field.
Gardner-Webb, a scholarship program from the Big South, will be the home opener for the Dolphins on Sept. 2. JU will embark on a four-game road trip which begins with another scholarship program, Southeastern Louisiana, on Sept. 24.
The squad will open Pioneer Football League play with three road games against Butler (Sept. 23), Valparaiso (Sept. 30) and Davidson (Oct. 7), before returning home against PFL power Dayton on Oct. 14.
The Dolphins head back to the road for two weeks beginning with three-time PFL South Champion Morehead State (Oct. 21) and North Greenville (Oct. 28).
Jacksonville closes out its home slate on Nov. 4 against defending PFL champion San Diego before ending the year against Drake (Nov. 11).
The Dolphins have nine wins all-time against scholarship opponents, including seven in the last four seasons. JU's last win was against Webber International in 2004.