Oct. 26, 2006
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -
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The game will be broadcast live on WJGR
1320 "The Patriot" with Barry Milligan returning for a
second tour of duty as the "Voice of the
The contest can also be heard live on
www.judolphins.com 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 35-50 (.411) mark at JU, including a 25-
22 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 76-99 (.434) in 17 seasons as a
collegiate head coach.
Horton earns PFL weekly honor, again
In his first full season under center, junior
Chris Horton has developed into one of the top
offensive weapons in the PFL.
He received PFL "Offensive Player of the
Week" for the second time this season after leading
the Dolphins to a 28-24 come-from-behind win at
Morehead State on Oct. 21. Horton, who connected
on 20-of-37 passes for a career-high 331 yards, tied
his program record by throwing four touchdown
passes in the contest.
On the game-winning drive, Horton went 4-
for-6 for 57 yards, including a nine-yard rush on third
and seven, as the Dolphins converted on all three
third-down conversions with less than five minutes
In 10 career starts, Horton has led the
Dolphins to a 6-4 record. Included in the mix is a 5-1
mark in the PFL.
Horton initially tied the 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.
Other offensive milestones
As the dust settled following the win over
Morehead State, the stat sheets were distributed
and the number crunching began.
In the midst of junior Chris Horton's career
day, junior receiver Nate Conner and sophomore
receiver Geavon Tribble set some marks as well.
Tribble, who caught one pass in five games
last season, finished with five catches for 159 yards,
tying for the second highest mark in program history.
He also tallied three touchdowns to tie Eldin Ferguson
(Butler - 9/24/05) for the program record.
Conner racked up career highs for catches
(10) and yards (117). The duo also became the first
Dolphin duo to tally over 100 yards receiving in the
same game since Brett Palmi (113) and Rico Tillman
(103) accomplished the feat against Mississippi
College on Sept. 25, 1999.
JU in the national rankings
After starting off the PFL season at 4-1, JU
had found its way into the national rankings.
JU is now 10th in The Sports Network Top-
10 Poll, Don Hansen's Top-12 Poll and the College
Sports Report Top-20 Poll as of Oct. 23.
On Oct. 2, the Dolphins was ranked 10th by
The Sports Network and Don Hansen's and were
seventh in the College Sports Report Top-20 poll.
This is the second straight week the Dolphins have
been recognized in the top 10.
JU had spent 15 consecutive weeks in The
Sports Network I-AA Mid-Major Top-10 Poll, reaching
as high as No. 2 on Oct. 1, 2001. The Dolphins also
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 close to another milestone
After a slow start to the 2006 season,
senior running back Jerry Brant has caught fire in the
second half to make a serious run at the top rushing
spot in JU history.
The Jacksonville native currently sits at
1,945 yards and is only 38 yards from overtaking
Brent Alexander for the number two spot with three
games left in his Dolphin career. He is 407 yards shy
of Emmett Hunter, who holds the program record with
2,349 career yards.
Brant surpassed Jon Underhill for third place
after rushing for a career-high 224 yards on 35
carries against Dayton. He was one yard shy of the
single-game record which was set by Underhill in
Against Valparaiso, he tallied 159 yards on
23 carries and two touchdowns. He also caught a 43-
yard touchdown pass to total 201 yards of total
offense. Against Butler, he gained 101 yards on 19
Thus far in 2006, JU is 3-0 when Brant
surpasses the 100-yard mark.
Turning it up a notch
On quite a few occasions this season, the
Dolphins' defense has strapped their helmets a little
tighter and raised the energy level in the second half.
The trend began after allowing 35 points,
147 rushing yards and 292 yards of total offense in
the first half against SE Louisiana on Sept. 16. The
Dolphins rebounded in the second half by allowing
only six points, 81 rushing yards and 131 yards of
Against Butler on Sept. 23, the Dolphins
allowed only 26 yards rushing and 167 yards of total
offense as the unit dominated the entire contest. In
the second half, JU did not allow a score and the
Bulldogs generated only six yards rushing and 67
yards of total offense.
Against Valparaiso on Sept. 30, the defense
shut out an opponent in the second half for the
second straight weekend. After allowing 84 yards
rushing and 248 yards of total offense in the first
half, the Dolphins worked their magic again in the
second frame with only 68 yards rushing and 101
yards of total offense allowed.
After two weeks, the Dolphins got back on
track by allowing only 113 yards of total offense in
the second half against Morehead State.
Helping the Dolphins in their second half
domination has been their ability to get to the
After tallying 15 sacks and only 13
turnovers (5 INT, 8 fumbles) last season, the
defense picked up its efforts to create turnovers but
couldn't get to the quarterback early on.
With seven games under their belts, the
Dolphins have forced 13 turnovers (5 INT, 8 fumbles)
to go along with 10 sacks. Looking more closely, you
will notice that seven of those sacks have come in
the last two weeks (3 vs. Dayton, 4 at Morehead
Senior nose guard Ryan Young and junior
defensive end Sean Heverin each lead the squad with
two sacks apiece.
"Big Uglies" healed up
After losing three starters on the offensive
line at Butler, the Dolphins are as close to full
strength as possible with the return of sophomore
right tackle Michael Aguilar last weekend.
With his return, senior right guard Josue
Sanchez moved back to his natural position after
playing right tackle (two) and left tackle (one) for
the past three weeks.
Sophomores Joe Vitale (center), Zach
Huffmon (right tackle) and Chris Tessitore (right
guard) have also filled into the starting lineup during
To make up for the loss of junior center
Rusty Stiglitz (knee), sophomore Steve Reynolds will
fill in at the position for the third week. In his first
start, Reynolds helped pave the way for senior
running back Jerry Brant's career-high 224 yards
against Dayton. The Dolphins are 2-0 since his move
to the head of the class.
The Dolphins currently rank third in the
conference in rushing offense (187.9 ypg), scoring
offense (24.8) and total offense (368.8).
Forcing the issue
A bright spot for the Dolphins in 2006 has
been the playmaking ability of the defense, which has
forced 13 turnovers in five games.
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.
Against Valparaiso, the Dolphins chalked up
an interception and forced a fumble.
The Dolphins also forced a fumble against
SE Louisiana and Butler.
The Dolphins bounced back against Dayton
by recording three interceptions and forced a fumble.
The fumble, which came on a sack in Dayton
territory, was recovered for the winning touchdown
against the Flyers.
JU is 1-1 this season when the defense
does not force a turnover (Davidson, Morehead
The Dolphins rank second in the conference
against the run (87.0 ypg) and toal defense (314.8)
and is third in scoring defense (21.4 ppg).
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 50
tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, three sacks, a pass
deflection, two quarterback hurries and two forced
Noel named Defensive POW
Sophomore cornerback Robson Noel, who is
in his first full season as a starter, has developed into
one of the top cover corners in the conference.
His hard work is starting to pay off after he was
named Pioneer Football League Defensive "Player of
the Week" with career highs in tackles (10) and
passes defended (six) while also recording his first
career interception in a 28-21 win over Dayton on
He also had to step up as the Dolphins' top
corner after a season ending knee injury to senior
corner Bryan Flowers in the first week of the season.
Noel leads the conference with eight passes
defended (2.25 per game) and is eighth in the PFL
with 36 tackles (26 solo). He is also tied for the team
lead with an interception. Last season, he appeared
in five games as a true freshman and finished with
Conner named Special Teams POW
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.
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.
In seven games, Conner is third in the PFL
and is eighth in the nation in all-purpose yards with
an average of 158.4 yards per contest. He is also
second in the conference with an average of 9.43
yards per return.
Curry named PFL Special Teams POW
Freshman place kicker Donovan Curry was
named PFL "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
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 College Sports Report
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
Jacksonville University Dolphins
JU is entering its ninth season of
intercollegiate football at the NCAA Division I-AA non-
scholarship level and has a 35-50 (.411) record in 85
games. The Dolphins are 20-23 all-time at Milne Field,
13-25 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. Shell is currently
a member of the Orlando Predators of the Arena
D.B. Milne Field
The Dolphins are 20-23 (.465) 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 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 10-17 in five seasons.
The Dolphins are 5-9 (.357) against
opponents from the former North Division (2-0 vs.
Butler, 0-5 vs. Drake, 1-2 vs. Dayton, 0-1 vs. San
Diego, 2-1 vs. Valparaiso) and 6-8 (.429) all-time
against the former PFL South teams (5-4 vs.
Davidson, 1-4 vs. Morehead State).
JU selected fifth in new PFL Poll
JU was selected to finish fifth in the
restructured Pioneer Football League in the preseason
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
JU, which received one first-place vote,
ranked fifth with 26 points ahead of Davidson (17),
Valparaiso (15) and Butler (9).
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
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).