Football battles in 38-21 loss to No. 1 San Diego

Nov. 4, 2006

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Senior running back Jerry Brant rushed for a game- high 210 yards and two touchdowns and the JU football team allowed only 10 points in the second half as No. 1 San Diego tallied its smallest margin of victory in 2006, 38-21, Saturday afternoon in front of 3,246 fans at D.B. Milne Field.

JU (4-5, 4-2) rushed for 240 yards as Brant tallied his second 200-yard performance of the season against the fourth best rushing defense in the nation (89.9 ypg). Brant needs 109 yards to surpass Emmett Hunter (2,349) for the top spot on the all-time list with one game remaining.

San Diego (9-0, 6-0) won its 17th consecutive game and clinched its second consecutive Pioneer Football League title. The Toreros ranked up 593 yards of total offense but allowed season highs for opponent total offense (459 yards), points in the first quarter (14) and allowed a running back to surpass the 100- yard mark.

"I am extremely proud of our guys and the effort they left on the field today," said JU head coach Steve Gilbert. "There were a few plays that made a major difference in this game but San Diego proved why they are the number one team in the nation. I think their quarterback (Josh Johnson) is the best athlete to set foot on this field and he showed why."

Trailing 28-14 at the half, JU held the Toreros scoreless in the third quarter and scored the first touchdown of the second half when junior quarterback Chris Horton connected with freshman tight end Timothy Kraemer for three yards to make it 28-21 with 14:19 remaining in the game. For Kraemer, it was his first collegiate catch.

After the Dolphins made a stop on the Toreros' ensuing drive, USD's Pat O'Neil intercepted a Horton pass at the USD 39-yard line. The Toreros increased the lead to 35-21 when JT Rogan scored from 11- yards out with 10:47 remaining and then iced the contest with Hutch Parker's 29-yard field goal with 2:46 left.

Brant rushed 24 times with an average of 8.8 yards per carry as he set a new program record with over 100-yards rushing in 10 career games. Horton completed 12-of-35 passes for 219 yards and a touchdown and sophomore receiver Geavon Tribble cracked the 100-yard barrier for the second time this season (three catches, 108 yards) to become the first Dolphin to accomplish the feat since 2004 (Eldin Ferguson). Junior Michael Jenner also added five catches for 91 yards and freshman strong safety Jason Wood finished with a game-high 11 tackles. Junior defensive tackle Kiel Pierce and junior defensive end Mirco Zanella each recorded a sack.

Josh Johnson finished with 470 yards of total offense after connecting on 30-of-43 passes for 382 yards and four touchdowns while also rushing for 86 yards on 11 carries. Wes Doyle led the receiving corps with eight catches for 136 yards and three touchdowns. Rogan rushed for 95 yards on 22 carries and linebacker Kyson Hawkins finished with nine tackles (two for loss) and a sack.

San Diego jumped out to an early 7-0 in the first quarter when Johnson connected with Wes Doyle for 16 yards at the 11:09 mark.

JU answered back on the first play from scrimmage as Brant sprinted untouched for 80 yards with 10:40 left in the first quarter to make it 7-7. The Dolphins took their only lead of the contest, 14-7, when Brant took the first play from scrimmage on the very next drive untouched for 59 yards with 9:20 left in the first quarter.

San Diego tied the game quickly, 14-14, at the 8:13 mark of the first quarter when Johnson hit Doyle down the left sideline for 70 yards on the second play of the drive. Then Toreros made it 21-14 at the 12:48 mark of the second quarter when Johnson connected with tight end Chris Ramsey for 21 yards. After stopping the Dolphins on fourth and goal on the two-yard line, the Toreros increased the lead to 28- 14 with 42 seconds left in the half when Johnson hit Doyle in the endzone again, this time from nine yards. The drive went 12 plays for 72 yards and was helped by a JU penalty which negated an interception by Wood at the JU 23-yard line and a fourth and seven conversion by Johnson in JU territory.

The Dolphins will conclude the 2006 season by hosting Drake on Saturday, Nov. 11 at 12:30 p.m. at D.B. Milne Field. The contest will determine second place in the PFL and will be the representative of the conference in the Gridiron Classic if San Diego earns a bid to the Division I-AA playoffs.