Davidson Football Outlasts Jacksonville, Moves to 5-1
DAVIDSON, N.C.– Davidson picked up its second consecutive Pioneer Football League victory and won its fourth straight game at Richardson Stadium, downing Jacksonville University Saturday, 44-37.
With the win Davidson improves to 5-1 overall and 2-1 in league play, while with the loss Jacksonville falls to 1-3 and 0-2 in PFL action.
The Wildcats have won back-to-back conference games for the first time since beating Drake and Butler in consecutive 2007 contests. That’s also the last time the program won five games.
Would first-year Wildcats coach Scott Abell say his team is officially ahead of schedule?
“That’s easy,” he said. “Without question. We’re definitely ahead of schedule, but that’s a credit to our kids. From the day we got here, they bought in. … What you saw out there today is a product of what they’ve done since Jan. 1.”
Davidson scored six of the first seven times it had the ball en route to its fourth straight home win.
Now 2-1 in the PFL, the Wildcats snapped a 9-game losing streak to the Dolphins (1-3, 0-2) by rushing for 315 yards, led by Wesley Dugger’s 74 yards and James Story, who ran for 70 yards and three scores. The Wildcats were dominant for three quarters and led 44-9 following a Pat Tabor 25-yard touchdown run midway through the second half before the Dolphins rallied for 28 fourth-quarter points – elusive quarterback Calvin Turner Jr. scored on three runs – against mostly Davidson reserves.
“Through the first three quarters, we played about as well as we can play,” said Abell. “We got after them, we were more physical, we won the line of scrimmage.”
Davidson marched 79 yards in 12 plays on the game’s opening drive to set the tone and scored on a Story 4-yard run. Jacksonville answered on the ensuing drive when running back Nicolas Garrett scored on a 9-yard run, but the Dolphins’ extra point snap was bobbled and Wildcat Rayshawn McCall scooped up the loose football and raced the other way for two points, a 9-6 lead and momentum. Jacksonville never pulled even.
“We got momentum on that play, and we ran with it,” said Abell. “That’s what you want your team to do.”
The Dolphins began their first drive of the second half in Davidson territory, but Turner fumbled on the second play and Wildcat T.J. Elliott, who had an interception in the first half, recovered it, leading to a Story 1-yard score. Davidson’s lead reached 37-9 on a Keylan Brown 2-yard scoring run with 8:36 left in the third quarter.
Linebacker George Hatalowich led Davidson with 13 tackles, posting double-digit stops for the second straight week. Classmate Bryce Perry-Martin recorded a season-high 11 tackles including 1.0 for loss.
“So much has happened to help us to get here, so much support,” said Abell. “And I want to make sure our fans, our administration, everyone who’s been backing us since we arrived Jan. 1, really understands how much we appreciate that. We couldn’t be here without them.”
Davidson will host Morehead State (1-4, 0-2) in PFL action at Richardson Stadium next Saturday at 1 p.m.