The Jacksonville football team cruised to a 69-16 victory over first-year program Warner University on Saturday afternoon. In the win the Dolphins improve to 2-2 overall on the season and Warner drops to 0-4.
There was an unfamiliar player lining up behind the center for JU on its opening drive. An injury to starting quarterback Kade Bell gave sophomore Steven Hughes his first collegiate start where he looked very comfortable directing JU's offense down the field. A stellar outing for the young QB, he finished the game 15-for-20 for 299 yards with two touchdowns.
The Dolphins started the game on their own 35. After a quick 7-yard completion, Hughes' pass to redshirt-sophomore Yeovanti Williams went 58-yards for the teams' first touchdown of the game.
After a JU field goal, Johnnie Hicks showed his legs on a 28-yard touchdown rush to stretch the lead to 17.
There is a reason JU is ranked number one in the PFL for passing offense and Hughes showed just why on a beautiful 65-yard pass to D'Andre Randle. With a Warner defender on his tail, Randle received the pass deep in the end zone and was able to scrape both feet along the back line for the touchdown, 24-0.
Getting the job done on both sides of the ball in the second quarter, an interception from Ed Foley allowed the offense to take over on the Warner 13. As a thank you for providing excellent field position, Frantz Caudio rewarded his defense with a 13-yard touchdown run, 38-0.
Despite 11 Dolphin penalty totaling 146 yards in the first half, Warner was unable to capitalize on the yardage and JU entered the half with a score of 48-0.
While the Dolphins' defense was able to close in on Andrew Rodriguez' pocket all day, Maroa White forced a Warner three-and-out after he recorded the first sack of the game to start the second half.
Fourth year junior Patrick McCain took over the quarterback reigns for Hughes and started his first career drive on the JU 38. The end result was a sack fumble from Warner defensive back Ja'Air Young. With the turnover, the Royals were set up for their best field position in the game at Jacksonville's 23 yard line. Running back Marcel Jenkins scored Warner's first touchdown in program history on a two-yard run up the gap and made the score 55-7 with 4:30 left in the third.
With one touchdown under its belt, Warner pushed for a second on a 69-yard bomb from Rodriguez to receiver Vernis Jenkins. The extra point traveled left of the post but made the score 55-13.
Late in the fourth, the Royals were able to push the chains all the way down to the red zone, but failed to move beyond the six yard line. Another JU sack forced the team to settle for a 33-yard field goal, 62-16, with 3:38 left to play.
The Dolphins tacked on another touchdown, their ninth of the game, for a final score of 69-16.
Jacksonville returns to D.B. Milne Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 28 when they host the Butler Bulldogs.