JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Jacksonville University football team collected 398 yards in the first half and never looked back in a 69-19 victory over Morehead State University on Saturday afternoon at Milne Field.
Jacksonville (1-2 overall) improves to 9-4 in the all-time series with its eighth straight win over Morehead State (0-3 overall). It was the 2013 Pioneer Football League opener for both squads.
The contest was called with 1:42 left in the fourth quarter due to lightning and extremely hard rain.
The Dolphins jumped out to a 31-10 lead with five of the contest’s first seven scores. Sophomore Kade Bell, who finished 18-of-34 for 276 yards, had two touchdown tosses during the stretch.
JU sophomore Orlando Thomas added an 84-yard touchdown run, while freshman Ulysses Bryant posted a 27-yard score. Thomas rushed 10 times for a career-best 176 yards and two touchdowns.
Jacksonville closed out the contest with season highs in first downs (34), total yards (719), passing yards (354) and rushing yards (365). The Dolphins scored in 11-of-16 drives on the afternoon.
“We gave up too many big plays and made too many mistakes to beat a good football program like Jacksonville,” Head Coach Rob Tenyer said. “We have a lot of work to do moving forward.”
Sophomore D’Andre Randle paced the JU receivers with career-high 134 yards and one touchdown on eight catches. Five Dolphins rushed for 30+ yards and nine pulled in at least one reception.
Jacksonville held a 31-16 edge at halftime and pulled away with a 21-0 spurt in the third period.
“It was a competitive game for the first half, but we let it get away in the third quarter,” Tenyer said. “You can’t allow a 75-yard punt return (for a touchdown) and expect to be there in the end.”
Freshman running back Brandon Reeves led the Eagles with 86 ground yards on 17 attempts.
Sophomore running back Rob Harden and freshman quarterback Austin Gahafer registered MSU’s rushing touchdowns, while junior kicker Luke Boyd connected on a pair of field goals (33 & 44 yards).
Senior defensive back Andre Addison paced JU with a game-high nine tackles. Freshman linebacker Matthew Brewer and junior linebacker Nick McCune led MSU with seven stops apiece.
Junior defensive back Michael Jackson became the first Morehead State player to record two interceptions in a game since Nov. 21, 2009, but the Eagles only forced those two turnovers.
Jacksonville’s point total set a home facility record and marked its second-highest mark since the program began in 1998. The Dolphins also established a school standard for total yards.
Morehead State is back in action on Saturday when it hosts Ohio Valley Conference foe Eastern Kentucky. Kickoff from Jayne Stadium is set for 7 p.m. Six of MSU’s final nine tilts are at home.
“We have a very young football team, with only six seniors (out of 92 players),” Tenyer added. “That’s not an excuse, but reality right now. All I know is we’re going to work our tails off the rest of this season. We are capable of making several positive strides - and I know we will.”