Dolphins Treat the Homecoming Crowd

Defense Provides a Spark, Helps Dolphins Win 29-14


Running back Ulysses Bryant, 28, scores a touchdown.

Homecoming is meant for the students. It is supposed to bring interaction between students, create a bond between a school and its students, and help create and instill a sense of pride and spirit in the students for their school.

Jacksonville University is no different, and this year’s homecoming week was full of events for the students. As always, the week culminated on Saturday with a football game, and the Dolphins wanted to continue the fun by bringing home a victory for the students. They did just that, winning the homecoming game 29-14.

The Dolphins welcomed the Drake Bulldogs to D.B. Milne field for the homecoming game this year and the defense made sure that the Bulldogs would be going back to Iowa with a loss in league play.

The defense provided the spark that the Dolphins needed to get over the hump, forcing four turnovers that proved to be the difference in the game.

Drake opened up the scoring in the second quarter when senior quarterback Andy Rice connected with junior tight end Eric Saubert on a short five-yard touchdown pass. The Dolphins answered the score with a touchdown of their own after a nine play, 60-yard drive that ended with sophomore running back Ulysses Bryant finding the end zone from two yards out.

Redshirt sophomore kicker Brandon Behr gave the Dolphins a 10-7 halftime lead by making a 50-yard field goal with 42 seconds left in the first half.

Some words of encouragement must have been said to the defense during halftime, because they came out with something to prove in the second half.

The Dolphins’ defense forced turnovers on the first four Drake offensive drives of the second half, which set up the offense for scoring opportunities. The Dolphins’ defense, which ranked fourth in nation in interceptions, extended their season interception count to 11, just two shy of the school record of 13 which was set by the 2011 team.

The first turnover came when redshirt sophomore Jareeq Crenshaw came down with a Rice pass. The interception led to six points when redshirt junior Kade Bell connected with senior receiver D’Andre Randle for a 43-yard touchdown pass.

Redshirt sophomore Armani Sampson and sophomore linebacker Grady Redding came down with the second and third interceptions of the game respectively.

Junior defensive lineman Josh Gilmore forced the fourth and final turnover when he recovered a fumble at the JU 10-yard line, thwarting a possible scoring opportunity for the Bulldogs. This fumble recovery led to a 90-yard drive that ended with Bell running for his third career rushing touchdown. Bell’s touchdown made the score 22-7.

“The defense won the game for us,” said Dolphins head coach Kerwin Bell. “We didn’t play well on offense, but that defense kept us in the game.”

The Dolphins’ final score came when Bryant scampered 59 yards for a touchdown. Bryant finished the game with 140 rushing yards, which was his fourth consecutive 100 yard performance.

Bell completed 17 of 34 passes for 275 yards and a score. The performance left him with 5,012 career passing yards which ranks second in school history. Josh McGregor is the record holder with 11,430 yards.

The Dolphins hope to continue their winning ways against Morehead State on Saturday, Oct. 11. This is the first game of a five game road stretch for the Dolphins, who currently sit atop of the Pioneer Football League rankings.