DAVIDSON, N.C. - Jacksonville University used three touchdown passes from quarterback Kade Bell, two to wide receiver D'Andre Randle, and held off pesky Davidson for a 34-24 Pioneer Football League win here Saturday.
After building a 24-10 halftime lead, the Dolphins couldn't shake the winless Wildcats (0-6, 0-3) in the second half and Davidson pulled to within 10 points at 27-17 with 11:16 to play on a 7-yard pass from quarterback Jonathan Carkhuff to tight end Reese Williams.
The Dolphins (6-1, 4-0) responded with a 13-play, 68-yard drive that was capped when redshirt senior Eric Baker ran in from the 9 and a 34-17 lead, effectively ending the game.
JU failed to show much continuity in the game to the dismay of coach Kerwin Bell.
"We played a sloppy second half,'' he said. "We turned the ball over, losing the ball, not converting in the red zone and the defense not playing up to its end of the bargain. We've got to go home and work. Hopefully we were looking forward to San Diego, that's going to be a big one at home next week.''
The Dolphins meet the Toreros, who beat JU in the championship game last year, Saturday at 1 p.m. at D. B. Milne Field.
"I thought we came out with good energy but the second half we got away from it mentally,'' Bell said. "But, you take a win on the road.''
JU had four fumbles losing two.
For the fourth consecutive PFL game, the Dolphins didn't score first as Davidson's Lanny Funsten caught a 12-yard pass from quarterback Jonathan Carkhuff with 3:35 to play in the first half for a 7-0 lead.
JU responded with 17 consecutive points as Randle had TD catches of 17 and 62 yards around a 38-yard field goal by Dylan Lynch. The Dolphins finished their first half scoring when Bell hit Dorian Guy on a 12-yard pass with 4:43 to play in the second quarter and a 24-10 lead.
The Dolphins, who came into the game with the top-ranked pass defense in the country, gave up 245 in the air in the first half alone, Funsten had 128 of them, while holding the Wildcats to minus-3 yards rushing during that span.
Funsten beat the JU pass defense, ranked first nationally coming into the game, for 246 yards and Carkhuff ended with 404 yards through the air.
Kade Bell wound up completing 23 of 36 passes for 313 yards and running back Erick Baker had 115 yards rushing, the second consecutive week he has topped the 100-yard mark. Randle had 117 yards receiving, the second time this year he has gone past 100 yards.
Defensively, linebacker Layne McCombs had eight tackles and lineman Juan Pimienta had six along with a pair of sacks
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