JACKSONVILLE, Fla. After Davidson struck first, Jacksonville scored touchdowns on its next seven possessions and added one on defense for a 56-13 victory over the Wildcats on Saturday at Milne Field.
Turnovers plagued Davidson (0-8, 0-5 PFL) as the Wildcats fumbled seven times and lost four of them. Three of the lost fumbles were in the second quarter, allowing Jacksonville (4-4, 3-2 PFL) to take a 35-6 lead into halftime.
Jacksonville’s PFL-best offense totaled 558 yards and was led by quarterback Kade Bell, who threw four touchdown passes for the second consecutive week and totaled 323 yards, going 23 for 29 passing. Andrew Robustelli caught six passes for 52 yards and a touchdown, while D’Andre Randle and Andy Jones posted near identical stat lines – both had four receptions and a touchdown each, while Randle totaled 85 yards to Jones’ 84. Ulysses Bryant led the ground attack with 80 yards on 15 carries and a touchdown. Orlando Thomas (5 carries for 38 yards) and Frantz Caudio (2 carries for 13 yards) also had touchdowns.
The largest bright spot for the Wildcats was a running attack that totaled 210 yards, which was not only a season high, but the most the Wildcats had gained since running for 270 yards at Campbell in 2010. David Rogers (20 carries), quarterback J.P. Douglas (14 carries) and Robert Klein (16 carries) all set career highs with 96, 70 and 61 yards, respectively. Douglas saw the majority of the action passing amongst the three quarterbacks Davidson utilized, completing 10 of 17 passes for 94 yards. William Morris was the top receiver, catching eight passes for 92 yards and a touchdown.
Dan Casey made a game-high and career-best 10 tackles for Davidson, including 1.5 for loss. Joiner led the Dolphins with nine stops, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
Davidson used back-to-back trick plays on its first drive for the game’s first score. Facing 4th and 3 at Jacksonville’s 43, quarterback and punter John Cook lined up in punt formation but flipped the ball to Jeff McDaniels instead for a first down. On the next play, Douglas lined up at wide receiver and caught a backwards pass from Jonathan Carkhuff, and he then threw it down the middle of the field for a touchdown to Morris.
Jacksonville was unable to get much going on its first three possessions, but after starting at Davidson’s 45 late in the first quarter, the Dolphins took advantage of the short field and capped a nine-play drive with a 4-yard touchdown run by Bryant for a 7-6 lead. Davidson’s offense appeared to be humming on the ensuing possession after a 19-yard rush by Rogers put the Wildcats in JU territory, but Aaron Riley knocked the ball from Carkhuff’s hand two plays later and Juan Pimienta recovered it at the JU 43. It took the Dolphins just four plays to find the end zone as Caudio ran it in from 7 yards out for a 14-6 lead with 9:53 remaining in the half.
Bell found Robustelli from 7 yards out to cap a five-play, 71-yard drive after the Dolphins’ defense held the Wildcats to a three-and-out, and then Pimienta forced another Carkhuff fumble that was recovered by Luidji Michel in the end zone for a 28-6 lead with 4:50 remaining in the half.
The Wildcats fumbled again on the ensuing possession, and Anthony Joiner was there to recover it at the Davidson 20. Bell found Hicks for a touchdown on the first play and a 35-6 lead.
Douglas tried to give Davidson momentum before going into the locker room for halftime and engineered a 12-play drive that reached the JU 25, but his pass on the final play of the half was intercepted in the end zone.
The Dolphins then scored touchdowns on their first three possessions of the third quarter to ice the victory.
The Wildcats added a touchdown on their final drive of the game, as Rogers capped a 12-play, 80-yard drive with a 2-yard touchdown run by Rogers.
Davidson will return home to host Mercer in Richardson Stadium at 1 p.m. on Saturday.