Jacksonville Sports Day

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: JU Faces Talented Campbell in Road Finale

BUIES CREEK, N.C. – The opponent this week brings a .500 record to Saturday’s 1 p.m. kickoff at Barker-Lane Stadium, but don’t let the record fool you, Campbell’s (5-5, 3-4) tool kit is filled with treacherous trappings. 

The Camels feature over a handful of FBS transfers, led by former Appalachian State quarterback Kameron Bryant, but have been hurt by the turnover bug…bad.

“They match up with us athletically as good as anybody in our league. They may have 10 or more FBS transfers so they are a good looking squad that has lost some tough games. They could easily be 8-2 or 9-1 right now. They are very athletic and dangerous,” said Head Coach Kerwin Bell.

Of Campbell’s four Pioneer Football League losses, the combined point difference is 12. A third of that total happened in last week’s 31-27 setback when the Camels faced first and goal with under a minute remaining and two timeouts in their pocket, but forgot to pack the turnover bug spray. An endzone interception sealed another tough loss and put Campbell -14 in the turnover margin.

A forced turnover would be a welcome sight for Jacksonville (7-2, 4-2). The Dolphins are second in the nation with 15 picks and amongst the nation’s leaders with 23 forced turnovers, but the defense has gone without a momentum-changer for the last two weeks. A few forced fumbles at Dayton ended up in Flyer hands on a Halloween day when the ball factually was not bouncing Jacksonville’s way. In last week’s win over Davidson, the defense was good with seven forced punts and a fourth down stop, but missed instigating a fumble or pick.

Bell is not only hoping for an opportunistic defense to corral a few turnovers, but also wants his team to win the battle of field position.

“We’ve got to make sure that we give them the long field. I think that if we do that our defense will have a really good day,” said Bell. “We’ve got to make sure we keep them backed up and play field position the way that we are capable of doing with our punter and kicker. Offensively and defensively we need to understand that part of the game.”

He’s also looking for a spirited start from his team.

“We’ve got to make sure that we match their intensity on the road, start fast, and play smart football. We need to play with a lot of emotion, passion, and play very smart. If we do those three things I feel very good about the outcome,” said Bell.

The Dolphins did that last week with five first half touchdowns in a 42-12 win against Davidson. The 42-point outburst last week was a welcomed sight and came in large part thanks to the hot streaks of receivers Andy Jones and Damien Strange. The duo crossed the century mark in receiving yardage for the second consecutive game. At Dayton, Jones had 133 yards and Strange brought in 124 yards. Against Davidson, Jones barely missed his career-best with 133 yards while Strange had 105 yards on only three catches.

Jones is starting to come back around to his early season form after being slowed by injury. He’s second in the PFL with 780 receiving yards, 97.5 receiving yards per game, and 6.6 receptions per game.

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