Safety Jordan Dewhirst scored two touchdowns and freshman Terrance Bryant returned a punt for another score and Jacksonville University scored its first touchdown of the season as the Dolphins beat Charleston Southern 31-10 here Saturday.
After a low-scoring first half, Dewhirst scored the Dolphins' very first touchdown of the season when he intercepted a pass by CSU's Malcolm Dixon and returned it 39 yards for the score with 10:11 to play in the third quarter for a 10-0 lead.
The Bucs (0-2) responded by starting their next drive with a 72-yard pass from Dixon to wide receiver Nathan Perera to the JU 3-yard line. The Dolphins (1-1) stiffened and CSU had to settle for a 26-yard field goal from Mark Deboy with 8:52 to play in the third.
Bryant, a freshman from Fort Walton Beach, Fla., put JU up 17-3 when he fielded a punt at his own 45, stumbled at midfield, found himself and went in for the score with 9:24 to play in the game.
About five minutes later, the JU offense scored its first touchdown when quarterback Kade Bell hit tight end Andy Robustelli on a 46-yard pass with 4:38 to play.
"I knew where I was going with the ball,'' he said. "He's (Robustelli) a mismatch man. They showed blitz so I check out (of his original play), he was one-on-one and beat his man.''
After a CSU touchdown, Dewhirst caught an onside kick attempt in the air and returned it 44 yards for his second touchdown of the game.
"It surprised me a little,'' Dewhirst said. "Before that I was thinking 'don't let this come to me' but it came right at me and I had a good block (from Andre Addison) and everything worked out.''
Coach Kerwin Bell lauded the team effort.
"It's great when everybody gets involved and understands they have a part to play,'' he said. "We tell the special teams 'don't go out to get through the play, go out there to make a difference.' I thought everybody did that.''
Kade Bell ended the game completing 10 of 27 passes for 209 yards and Robustelli had 100 yards receiving as the Dolphins had 307 yards on offense.
"Everybody did their part and we were all on the same page,'' Kade Bell said. "The line played great and I think we're getting there.''
The teams traded yardage, but not many points, in the first half.
The Dolphins, who had 178 total yards in their opener against Georgia Southern, ran for 91 and passed for 106 in the half.
Both teams were plagued by turnovers and penalties as JU was flagged five times, many of them at crucial times, and the Bucs three. Charleston Southern also fumbled three times with one being recovered by JU's Mike Mayoral and a second by Dolphin Antonio McRae.
The Dolphins put up the only points in the first two quarters when Dylan Lynch connected on a 37-yard field goal with 6:20 to play in the first quarter. Lynch missed from 29 yards in the second quarter.
"We just weren't finishing drives, Kerwin Bell said. "We missed a couple of passes in the first half and had a couple of drops in the second half and that's four touchdowns. We moved the ball to good position, we just didn't finish. That comes with calming down. I thought we made big strides offensively.''
The loss was the 14th consecutive for Charleston Southern and its 20th in 21 games.
The Dolphins play host to Webber International Saturday at 1 p.m. in their home opener Saturday.