MOREHEAD, Ky. — Jacksonville quarterback Kade Bell tossed six touchdowns, all in the second and third quarters, Saturday as the Jacksonville Dolphins raced past the Morehead State football team 45-26 at Jayne Stadium.
MSU led 3-0 after the first quarter but the visitors registered 35 of the next 38 points. The Dolphins (5-1 overall, 4-0 Pioneer Football League) won for the ninth straight time against MSU (2-4, 1-2). Jacksonville intercepted a pair of Morehead State quarterbacks three times.
“We just couldn’t put two halves together,” Head Coach Rob Tenyer said. “I think turnovers played a big part in this loss too. I thought our defense played great in the first half, but I had been talking all week about what I call a ‘winner’ in Kade Bell, and he ended up beating us with his feet and through the air.”
MSU senior kicker Luke Boyd drilled a season-long 43-yard field goal with 6:20 left in the first quarter. Bell then capped off the next five Dolphin drives with touchdown tosses. He threw scoring connections of 50, 46, 20, seven and four yards and finished the near-PFL record effort with a 63-yard strike in the third quarter. Former JU quarterback Josh McGregor holds the single-game conference mark with seven TDs.
Wide receiver Andy Jones, who finished with a game-best 134 yards on six catches, hauled in two of Bell’s scoring passes. Andrew Robustelli, Dorian Guy, Orlando Thomas and D’Andre Randle caught the others.
MSU quarterback Tyler Rice entered in the second half and recorded a team-best 104 passing yards and a touchdown and also rushed for 48 yards and a score.
Rice completed one touchdown strike to junior slot receiver Justin Cornwall for 16 yards and added an 11-yard jaunt for paydirt. Senior slot receiver Brandon Bornhauser finished the day’s scores with a two-yard plunge late in the fourth quarter.
Morehead State limited Jacksonville to 64 rushing yards. Bell completed 26-of-42 passes for 441 yards and one interception – on his team’s first drive. The Dolphins generated 527 total yards. Morehead State had 360.
“I am proud of our guys,” Tenyer added. “Despite the outcomes, I feel like we are a much improved team. Certain phases of the game are improving each week. We just need to find a way to combine everything and play four quality quarters.”
Boyd added a 25-yard field goal in the second quarter and is now 6-for-8 this season.
Junior cornerback Justin Grier paced the defense with 10 total tackles. Sophomore defensive lineman Dustin Casey notched a career-best 3.5 tackles for loss, including two sacks, and junior defensive lineman Ronald Cooper collected 2.5 tackles for loss. Cooper now has seven stops for negative yardage in the last three games. Junior linebacker Luke Keller and sophomore linebacker Ryan Bennet each tallied two tackles for loss.
“We did some really nice things with our blitzes today,” Tenyer said. “I think on some of those long throws, Bell just had too much time though.”
DJ Howard led all players with 14 tackles for Jacksonville. He also added two tackles for loss. Dallas Jackson picked off two MSU passes to go along with six stops.
Morehead State continues PFL play next Saturday at Dayton. Game time is set for 1 p.m. ET.