The state of Florida had another rough one last week. In college, Florida, UCF, and FIU came away with wins. While it was another bad week for Florida State, USF and Miami. And, after a month of good football Florida Atlantic also went down. In the NFL, the Jaguars were the only victors, as the Dolphins couldn’t get their first win, and the Buccaneers were on bye.
So here’s how our rankings stack up:
Florida Gators- The Gators bounced back from their loss to LSU with an ugly win against South Carolina. In a rainy game in Columbia, the Gators had just enough fight to knock off the Gamecocks. Now, the Gators will get a perfectly timed BYE week before arguably their biggest game of the year.
The Georgia Bulldogs await in what will probably end up as the SEC East championship game. The Dawgs have looked very shaky on offense the last two weeks, and the Gators defense has to be licking their chops as they look to get healthy.
UCF Knights- The Knights bounced back in a big way over East Carolina. The offense exploded behind Dillon Gabriel and Gabe Davis. Davis had 164 yards and two touchdowns and continues to show why he is one of the best and most underrated receivers in the nation. The Knights will travel to Temple next week in a must-win game for any chance to play in the AAC title game.
Jacksonville Jaguars- The Jags were able to snap a two-game slide with a win over the Cincinnati Bengals. The Jags rode a surge of second-half interceptions to a 27-17 victory. Leonard Fournette ran through the defense on his way to 131 yards rushing.
Against a banged-up secondary, the Jags had three receivers go over the 50-yard mark as well. Next, the Jags will host a Jets team that just got throttled by the Patriots on Monday Night.
Florida International- The Panthers won their third game in a row after starting the season 1-3. Anthony Jones has been running wild for the Panthers during this win streak with games of 115, 117, and 102 yards rushing. Sitting at 2-2 in the conference, the Panthers will need help if they want to get atop of C-USA East division.
Florida Atlantic- The Owls win streak has come to an end at four wins. The Owls fell to Marshall 36-31 in a wild 4th quarter that had four touchdowns. Chris Robinson had over 300 yards passsing but had no scores and hovered around a 50 percent completion rate.
Next, the Owls will face Old Dominion on the road then head to first-place Western Kentucky.
Honorable Mention- Florida A&M- It is not often that we cover the FCS here at F.F.I. After another disappointing week of football, though, it is good to acknowledge some of the good.
The Rattlers seem to be the only team in Tallahassee playing good football at the moment and for the first time in 10 years, cracked the FCS rankings.
Jags coach Marrone acknowledged Wednesday he’s in jeopardy
As the Jaguars 2019 season has spiraled downward, their head coach acknowledged Wednesday that there are likely changes coming in North Florida.
Head Coach Doug Marrone meets the media prior to today's practice. https://t.co/Ks19PcB0te
— #DUUUVAL (@Jaguars) December 11, 2019
“We’re all fighting for our jobs. When you look at it from that standpoint, each person has to make their own decision on how they handle those things….It’s a constant microscope in this league, but I think it gets magnified when you are not winning football games,” Marrone said plainly.
It’s no secret that the Jaguars are plummeting. Sunday they were embarrassed again at home, this time by the L.A. Chargers 45 – 10. That was the fifth consecutive decisive loss (by at least 17 points) for a team that was once 4 – 4 and in the conversation are the AFC Wildcard picture.
Yes, there are injuries including the team losing defensive tackle Marcell Dareus and recently linebacker Myles Jack to season-ending IR. The same on offense where WR Marqise Lee never got healthy and made contributions this year. He, too is back on injured reserve.
Further, the team also had to deal with the constant off field distraction and then decided to trade away arguably their best player, defensive back Jalen Ramsey to the LA Rams. Granted, Ramsey wanted out and was trying not to play while the trade was being consummated. Still, this missed him on the field and it was an issue.
Then, there’s the mess on offense, where the Jags offensive line is in shambles and Marrone had to bench high-priced free agent quarterback Nick Foles before last week’s game. That’s because of his ineffective play and lack of mobility to play behind their poor line.
Rookie Gardner Minshew, who had won four games earlier this year, didn’t do much with only 162 yards in the air and a late third-quarter touchdown that only cut the lead to 31 – 10 in the loss Sunday.
Further, running back Leonard Fournette has now been neutralized by the lack of good line play and the inability to get the passing game going. Fournette went from having a good start to the season that included three 100-yard or more games out of four in late September and October, to having five of his last six games where he has run for 50 yards or less.
So, everywhere you look, the Jags are struggling and losing, and owner Shad Khan is expected to make wholesale changes at the end of the year.
But for now, Jacksonville must go out to Oakland this week and try not to be further embarrassed there.
Jaguars injury woes continue- LB Myles Jack to IR
The bad news on the injury front for the Jaguars continued on Thursday, when they placed star linebacker Myles Jack on injured reserve.
Source: #Jaguars LB Myles Jack (knee) is going on Injured Reserve today. A hit to the Jacksonville defense.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) December 5, 2019
Jack missed Sunday’s game against the Buccaneers with a knee injury that was believed to be a sprain suffered in the loss to the Colts two weeks ago. However, the move to IR indicates it may be more serious.
The Jaguars season has unraveled over the course of the last month with injuries to their defense and the team trading away perennial Pro Bowl defensive back Jalen Ramsey to the Rams. Jacksonville had already put DT Marcel Dareus on IR, All-Pro defensive tackle Calais Campbell has been trying to battle through a bad back and DB Tony Harrison has still not been cleared with a concussion.
Coach Doug Marrone has expressed the last two weeks that it has been a struggle for his defense with all of the injuries mounting late in the year.
As for Jack, he had settled in the middle linebacker roll after Telvin Smith abruptly retired in May.
Jack has been solid, but not spectacular, in the middle of the defense registering 7 or more tackles in five games this season. However he hasn’t forced a fumble, has only one interception and half of a sack. Jack also has just three tackles-for-loss at a position that often dictates much more output than that.
The former second-round pick out of UCLA had question marks about his knee coming out of college, when the Jaguars took him in the 2016 draft. However, he has answered critics on his durability by being active for all 59 games of his career up until last week.
Jacksonville will use veteran Donald Payne at middle linebacker for now. Payne played significantly last week against the Buccaneers and has been on and off of Jacksonville roster this season.
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