MOREHEAD, Ky. -- Senior quarterback Zach Lewis set the Morehead State and Pioneer Football League career pass completion records on Saturday afternoon at Jayne Stadium, but the Jacksonville Dolphins rolled up 480 total yards en route to a 38-17 win over the Eagles.
JU improves to 5-1 overall and 3-0 in league play with its fifth consecutive victory, while MSU slips to 1-4 on the campaign and 0-2 in conference action with its fourth straight setback. The Dolphins also increase their winning streak to seven games over the Eagles.
“We didn’t take advantage of the opportunities we had today, but you have to give Jacksonville a lot of credit,” Head Coach Matt Ballard said. “Their pressure broke down our protection and got us out of sync, which led to poor execution on both sides of the ball.”
Morehead State scored first for the fourth time in five contests this year and jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter, but Jacksonville responded with 31 unanswered points over the final three periods to snag its second PFL road win in the past three weeks.
MSU senior wide receiver Kevin Thomas capped a 12-play scoring drive with a one-yard run at the 3:52 mark of the opening quarter. Twenty seconds later, sophomore defensive back Michael Jackson scooped up a fumble and returned it 46 yards for a score.
But JU answered the call with four touchdown tosses from freshman quarterback Kade Bell over the final 46 minutes. Sophomore tight end Andrew Robustelli pulled in three of the scores, while sophomore wide receiver D’Andre Randle caught the other.
Bell completed 16-of-22 passes for 238 yards, while junior wide receiver Dorian Guy collected a team-high 87 receiving yards and Robustelli added 46. Senior running back Eric Baker paced the Dolphins on the ground, with 18 attempts for 101 yards.
Lewis, who broke Morehead State’s career TD passes record on Sept. 22 at Drake, finished 21-of-43 for 182 yards. He is now 787-of-1,285 for 8,557 yards and 56 touchdowns in 34 games as an Eagle.
Sophomore linebacker Jordan Hendrix was one shy of his career high with a game-best 16 tackles. The Eagles were credited with five sacks and 12 tackles for loss on the afternoon.
Jacksonville finished with advantages of 24-17 in first downs, 226-82 in rushing yards and 254-182 in passing yards. The Dolphins also converted 7-of-14 times on third down.
Morehead State lost all four of its fumbles and threw one interception for a total of five turnovers. The Eagles were also flagged four times in the contest for 45 yards.
“I don’t care who you play, you can’t turn the ball over that many times,” Ballard said. “We coughed it up inside our own 20-yard line twice -- and that really hurt. We also had too many penalties, including a touchdown that was called back.”
Morehead State returns to the road for the next two weeks before playing three of its final four games at Jayne Stadium. The Eagles visit Dayton on Oct. 13 at 1 p.m. ET and Butler on Oct. 20 at 6 p.m. Live audio and statistics will be available via MSUEagles.com for both upcoming road contests.
“We didn’t do the little things very well today -- and those added up,” Ballard said. “It’s frustrating, but I know our mistakes can be fixed. I don’t question the effort of our young men at all. We battled and competed today, but we need to execute our fundamentals more consistently.”