Jacksonville University football (1-6, 0-5, PFL) took on San Diego at Torero Stadium Saturday, falling 59-35 in a high-flying offensive showing by both squads.
After Jacksonville punted on their first possession, the Toreros took advantage of good field position and opened scoring on a 17-yard rush. The Dolphins were able to respond almost immediately when Calvin Turner Jr. took off for a 31-yard touchdown run. It was the 12th rushing touchdown of the season for the FCS's leader in rush yards per game, but it would just be the beginning of an impressive output by the sophomore quarterback.
Jacksonville's defense hung tough throughout much of the first quarter, forcing San Diego to punt on their next two possessions. Then, with just over eight minutes remaining in the second quarter, San Diego's Anthony Lawrence converted on a 27-yard touchdown pass to Michael Bandy, extending the lead to 14-7. The Toreros began picking up steam as they hit another long pass to push their lead to 21-7.
On the ensuing kickoff the Toreros made a special teams error, kicking the ball out of bounds and giving Jacksonville good field position. Turner Jr. took made the most of the spot, weaving for 30 yards to set up a Garnett Nicolas touchdown run. The Toreros would score once more after a long kickoff return to send the Dolphins into halftime trailing 28-14.
The two teams would trade touchdowns on each drive of the third quarter, including the opening kickoff, which San Diego's Michael Armstead took back 100 yards. Jacksonville, on the other hand, took their time with their first offensive possession of the half. A nine play 91-yard drive was capped by a Turner Jr. touchdown run.
Lawrence tossed another touchdown a few plays later, refusing to let the Dolphins cut into their lead. Again Jacksonville responded when Turner Jr. took the ball into the end zone, but not before setting himself up with his fourth run of at least 70 yards this year. The two teams combined for 28 total points in the third quarter alone.
San Diego went on to score 17 more points in the fourth quarter to Jacksonville's 7. The 'Phins lone score came with some trickery as wide receiver Nic Duch took the handoff from Irvin Riley, and then tossed it to Turner Jr. in the end zone. Turner Jr. hauled in the pass with one hand. It was the Savannah, Ga. native's fourth score of the day.
By the end of the game Turner Jr. had surpassed the 200-yard mark on the ground for the third time this season. He also passed the 1,000-yard mark on the ground for the season during the second quarter. Nicolas also had a career day, rushing for 107 and a score. The Dolphins were able to rack up 487 total offensive yard.
"There's no moral victories. I'm certainly excited by the way the way the offense played today, and a lot of superlatives against the best team in our conference," said Head Coach Ian Shields. You can see we have some real weapons there… What we've got to do now is turn the page on October and gain some momentum here in November as we finish our season."
Jacksonville returns home Saturday to host Butler at D.B. Milne Field. It's Military Appreciation Day, and the Noon game will be broadcast on ESPN3.