INDIANAPOLIS – The Jacksonville University football team (4-2, 2-1 Pioneer Football League) tested its four-game winning streak at Butler (4-3, 2-2 PFL) Saturday, and fell short of mounting success, by a score of 37-22.
"There were some critical situations here. They got extra opportunities and took advantage of them," said Head Coach Ian Shields. "We're not allowed to feel sorry for ourselves. We have San Diego next week and will use this game to get better."
First half action at the Sellick Bowl could best be described in one word – runs.
There were five touchdowns scored in the first half and each side recorded a game-changing drive. Jacksonville used a little trickery to score its first touchdown and the Bulldogs chipped 36 seconds off the clock to score their final before the half.
Trailing by seven and facing fourth down with five yards to go, Rylan Wells lined up in punt formation, but faked the opportunity to run 18 yards downfield to Butler's 34 yard-line. The drive concluded with a four-yard rushing touchdown by Keenan Simpson, and the second two-point conversion under Shields' tutelage.
The Dolphins held a slight 15-13 lead with 4:44 remaining in the half, before surrendering four straight scoring drives. The visitors had been in search of a positive drive since the early marks of the second quarter when a 25-yard touchdown to Mitchell Bailey was called back on a holding penalty.
Things became interesting at the start of the fourth quarter, after a short touchdown run by Lamar Washington put the Dolphins within eight, 30-22, and Jacksonville continued to pressure through the final horn. JU's final scoring attempt was a fourth-down, 11-yard pass in the endzone that Bailey nearly hauled in with 4:10 left in the game.
Wells finished the game 7-for-13 with 121 yards and 53 yards rushed.
Jacksonville will play host to San Diego, the reigning PFL champions, next Saturday at 12 p.m. The game will also shadow as Military Day. With a valid military ID, all retired and active duty personnel and their families will receive free admission.