Campbell Falls in 3OT in Homecoming Classic

BUIES CREEK, N.C. – Three Jacksonville backs ran for at least 95 yards and the Dolphins spoiled Campbell’s Homecoming with a 54-48 win in three overtimes Saturday.

In front of a Barker-Lane Stadium record crowd of 6691, the Dolphins took the lead on the first play of the third OT on Irvin Riley’s 25-yard run.  Rylan Wells fumbled on the two-point attempt to give Campbell an opportunity to win with a touchdown and two-point conversion.

However, three-straight incompletions and a sack of Daniel Smith by Harrison Rodormer and Emon Smith ended the game.

Jacksonville (5-3, 3-2 PFL) finished with a 506-453 edge in total offense and held the ball for 35:28 to 24:32 for the Camels (5-4, 4-2), who dropped their second-straight game.  The Dolphins entered the game first in the Pioneer League in rushing (281.7 per game) and finished with 396 yards on 77 attempts.

Daniel Smith completed 15-of-31 passes for 185 yards and two scores while adding 191 on 20 rushing attempts, an average of 9.6 per carry. A red-shirt freshman, Smith set the school Division I era (since 2008) single-season and career mark for touchdown passes (17).

Michael Wooten had four receptions for 27 yards and one TD.  Defensive back Carlos Merritt broke the school modern era record for tackles with 20, while Jack Ryan made 16 stops.  Caysaun Wakeley led Jacksonville’s defense with 12 tackles.

Campbell’s Jack Ryan (54) and Carlos Merritt (21) make a stop during
first-half action Saturday (Photo Credit:

Keenan Simpson led JU with 108 yards on the ground on 17 attempts, while Pernell Rattray and Riley added 95 each.  Wells completed 5-of-15 passes for 110 yards and one score, a 24-yard hook up with Prince Gray that tied the score at 48 after two OT periods.  Gray finished with four catches for 109 yards.

Jacksonville took the lead in the first overtime on Lamar Washington’s four-yard run before Daniel Smith scampered in from five yards out to bring the Camels even at 41.  Smith then ran in from 18 yards to give the Camels a 48-41 advantage before Gray’s TD catch forced a third OT.

Jacksonville had two interceptions and forced a pair of Campbell fumbles to win the turnover battle 4-2.

On the game’s second play from scrimmage, Dante Simmons picked off Wells’ pass and returned it 38 yards to the Jacksonville three. Darius Barnes scored from there to give the Camels the lead just 45 seconds into the game.

After Jacksonville pinned the Camels on their own four-yard line, Smith keyed a 9-play, 82-yard drive with a 62-yard QB keeper.  Mitchell Brown’s 30-yard field goal extended the Campbell lead to 10-0 with 1:48 to play in the first.

The Dolphins had a first and goal at the three when Wells hit Prince Gray on a 30-yard completion, but the Camels held and Javier Arce-Ramirez connected on a 20-yard field goal with 11:27 left in the second.

Campbell responded with a 10-play, 72-yard march capped by Smith’s 17-yard run to extend its lead to 17-3 with 7:49 to play in the opening half.

Keenan Simpson capped a 9-play, 75-yard drive with a 17-yard rush to bring Jacksonville within 17-10 with 4:15 remaining in the second quarter.

The Camels took the second-half kickoff and drove 71 yards on nine plays to extend its lead to 24-10.  Smith connected with Zach Roderick on a 36-yard completion, before hitting his tight end Wooten on a 1-yard jump pass with 11:20 to go in the quarter.

JU answered with a 62-yard, 5-play drive keyed by Wells’ 40-yard run.  Wells snuck in from the one to bring the Dolphins back within one score (24-17) with 9:20 to play in the quarter.

Smith hit Aaron Blockmon on a 26-yard touchdown pass to push the margin to 31-17 with 5:55 left in the third.  However, Jacksonville responded with an 11-play, 67-yard drive ended by Rattray’s 19-yard run with 59 seconds to go in the third to trim the gap to 31-24.

Emon Smith strip-sacked Daniel Smith and Crandall Maines recovered the ball to give Jacksonville the ball on the Campbell 27.  Lamar Washington’s 5-yard run around left end completed an 8-play drive and Arce-Ramirez’ point after tied the game at 31 with 11:53 remaining.

Arce-Ramirez made a 24-yard field goal to give JU a 34-31 lead with 7:27 to play. Mitchell Brown’s 26-yard field goal tied the game at 34 with 2:29 left in regulation.

Campbell returns to action next Saturday (Nov. 4) in a 1:00 p.m. start at Davidson.  Jacksonville hosts Valparaiso next Saturday at noon.