Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Scholarship Teams Frustrate JU

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Scholarship Teams Frustrate JU

Article excerpt

Byline: Teneshia Wright, Times-Union sports writer

Something obviously wasn't right when Jacksonville University lost to first-year Florida Atlantic for its second consecutive defeat.

JU coach Steve Gilbert noticed.

Seniors Gary Cooper and Brent Alexander did, too.

Even FAU coach Howard Schnellenberger said the Dolphins weren't themselves.

"I think we anticipated a stronger Jacksonville team than they turned out to be," Schnellenberger said.

Just take a look at the numbers from JU's 35-12 loss last Saturday in Miami.

FAU freshman running back Doug Parker, who was averaging 40.5 yards per game, had 110 yards and a career-high four touchdowns against JU's defense. The Dolphins' secondary, which picked off 11 passes in the previous five games, failed to intercept the Owls' two freshmen quarterbacks. As for JU's offense, the unit was held to 16 rushing yards after averaging 186 yards per game.

"We couldn't get the running game going, and they knew we were going to pass, so we couldn't get the passing game going," Cooper said. "A lot of times, I had to pull the ball down and run. That isn't JU football. JU football is moving the ball down the field and running the clock as much as you can. We just didn't do that."

The Dolphins faced the same situation two weeks ago when they lost to Charleston Southern 28-7. Part of the problem is the Dolphins have no scholarship players, while FAU and Charleston Southern have a combined 110 scholarship players. JU is scheduled to play two more scholarship teams: Virginia-Wise in a homecoming game Saturday and a game at Stony Brook Oct. 27.

Before the season, Gilbert pointed to this stretch, saying that beating the scholarship teams would be the only way his fourth-year team would post its first winning season.

"We were fortunate to get off to a 4-0 start," Gilbert said. "We knew this midway point, where we played the four scholarship teams in a row, our players had to play their best and bring their A-game."

JU is 1-11 all time against scholarship opponents. The Dolphins beat their first full scholarship team, Division II Lenoir-Rhyne, in their season opener.

Although the scholarship teams have more talent, Gilbert said his team's experience and toughness should compensate for the disparity in skill. …

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