Sunday, October 27, 2019

Jets Crash Landing In Sacksonville

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH
PHOTOS BY CANDICE EBLING

What did Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette have in common with whom I consider to be baseball's all-time home-run king, Hank Aaron for at least one week?

To break Babe Ruth's mark, Aaron hit his 715th round tripper off Atlanta Braves Pitcher Al Downing on April 8, 1974.

Fournette led the NFL in rushing yards with 715. By the end of the first quarter, Fournette passed all-time home-run fraud Barry Bonds (762) by compiling 69 yards in the period as he hit the 784 mark.

Fournette had a strong afternoon by finishing with 136 yards in total offense. Seventy six were on the ground.

Going into the game, Fournette and fellow LSU graduate DJ Chark Jr. the Jags were the only team in the NFL whose leading rusher and receiver went to the same college as they went to LSU. Chark Jr led the AFC in receiving yards with 581. He added 79 more to that total plus caught a touchdown pass. Chark Jr has six touchdowns this season.

Entering the game, the Jaguars and Jets had played 14 times and the series was tied 7-7.

The last time the Jets landed in Northern Florida was on September 30, 2018 and it wasn't a good result.

Jacksonville defeated New York 31-12 and roughed up rookie QB Sam Darnold, who threw for 144 yards. The Jaguars dominated the time of possession 37:35-22:25.

The QB who led the Jaguars to the triumph was Blake Bortles who threw for 377 yards and two touchdowns.

Jacksonville left TIAA Bank Field with a 1-3 record.

Today the Jets entered this same venue with one win, but had five losses as they begin their first of two games in Florida as they'll travel to South Florida next weekend to face the hapless Miami Dolphins, 0-7.

Unfortunately for the Jets, they would leave this very building with yet another loss as Jacksonville gave them a rude wakening to #sacksonville with a 29-15 defeat.

Darnold did throw for 218 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions, but the Jaguars defense was relentless by sacking the sophomore QB eight times.

The Jaguars improved to 4-4 as they get set for next Sunday's contest against the Houston Texans at London's Wembley Stadium, which has a capacity of 86,000 for American Football.

Today, Darnold faced Jaguars rookie Gardner Minshew II. He was out dueled by the guy that the city has rallied around where the town embraces "Minshew Mania" by watching his counterpart by throwing for 279 yards, three touchdowns and zero interceptions.

Minshew did a good job spreading the ball around as his favorite targets included Fournette (60 yards), Chark Jr. (79 yards), Chris Conley (103 yards and a TD).

The Jaguars led 13-7 by the end of the first quarter and kept the Jets off balance with their ferocious defense limiting New York to 213 net yards. Jets running back LeVeon Bell was a non factor as a rushed for 23 yards and had 12 receiving yards.

Time of possession once again favored Jacksonville 33:21-26:39.

When the contest was over, Coach Doug Marrone was pleased with the win but not with himself as the team sits at the .500 mark at the halfway point of the season.

"I could have done a much better job coaching for us because we are better than our 4-4 record."

But from an overall standpoint, Marrone was happy that the team came away with a "W."

"This was a good win and I like the way the team goes to work," he said. "This game was a battle and Gardner did a nice job. Defensively, we got after them pretty good. Gardner doesn't play like a sixth round pick. We did a good job stopping the run. Every game we've won, we won the turnover battle. We have lots of good energy in the locker room with the players and all of the coaches."

When the game was in hand at the very end, he said that his team didn't need to run plays to avoid injuries as it gets ready to travel across the Big Pond.

Meanwhile, Jacksonville leads the all-time series including the post-season 8-7.

The next time they play a home game is December 1, 2019 vs the Tampa Bay Bucs then follow it up on December 8, 2019 against the Los Angeles Chargers.

The game on Sunday from London begins at 9:30 AM ET.  Jacksonville is looking to pick-up a very important win against a divisional opponent that defeated them 13-12 in Week 2 in Houston.

This is a game that Marrone was heavily criticized for by attempting to going for a two-point conversion rather than the tie which would have send the game in OT.

This is a good opportunity to get revenge and improve to 5-4.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at www.scottsports33.com.

Friday, October 18, 2019

The Infrequent I-10 Rivalry

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH
PHOTOS BY CANDICE EBLING

There are some match-ups you would like to see more of, but due to the way inter-conference are set-up, these teams play each other at home once every eight years.

This was one of those.

Before a thumb injury sidelined New Orleans QB Drew Brees, I can only imagine how many local fans were looking forward to seeing the the all-time leading passer, who has 74,845 yards.

Sunday's match-up was suppose to feature Brees vs Nick Foles.

The Jaguars prize free agent hurt his shoulder in the first game of the year against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Instead, what we saw was a 4-1 Saints team facing a 2-3 Jaguars squad as Jacksonville started rookie Gardner Minshew II who faced Teddy Bridgewater.

If Jacksonville fans want to see Brees, they'll have to travel 547 miles and 7.50 hours on I-10 East to see these squads in New Orleans if the signal caller is still playing.

Going into this game there were some interesting connections between these two teams.

Jacksonville running back Leonard Fournette is from New Orleans and played his college ball at LSU. This is his first meeting against his hometown team.

His first act against the Saints was a solid one as he led the team in rushing and receiving. Fournette rushed for 72 yards and added 46 in the air.

Even though they've only met six times with New Orleans leading the series 4-2 and having a three game winning streak, from 2006-2008, Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone was the Saints Offensive Coordinator.

Marrone coached in the 2007 game on November 4, and the New Orleans Saints defeated Jacksonville 24-21 in Louisiana in front of 70,009 at The Superdome.

During Marrone's tenure with New Orleans, the Saints offense was potent.

New Orleans ranked first in total yards per-game (387.8), first in passing yards per-game (294.1) and third in points per-game with (26.1).

What would give in this Infrequent I-10 Rivalry?

If you were looking for a high scoring affair, you weren't getting it in the first half as the teams went into the locker room tied 3-3.

New Orleans had 125 net yards while Jacksonville amassed 110.

Jacksonville managed to hold up on defense despite the fact that Jalen Ramsey was ruled inactive.

The Jaguars defense limited Saints running back Alvin Kamara to eight yards. Kamara would finish with 66 total yards.

Minshew II went 8-15 for 80 yards.

In the second half, Jacksonville still didn't find it's offense and New Orleans mustered up enough to win the contest 13-6.

It was another win for Bridgewater, who is keeping the Saints in the playoff hunt while still auditioning for a starting job in free agency in 2020.

New Orleans improved it's record to 5-1 and lead the NFC South Division.

The Saints out gained Jacksonville in total yards 326-226.

Jacksonville had 11 first downs the entire contest.

This was Jacksonville's worst offensive game of the season.

The Saints defense limited Jacksonville wide receiver D.J. Chark Jr. to three receptions for 43 yards as he was double-teamed throughout the game.

Minshew II finished the game throwing for 163 yards and one interception.

The Saints have now defeated Jacksonville four consecutive times.

They lead the all-time series 5-2.

After the game, Marrone gave credit to the Saints but admitted there is a lot of work to do as his team get's ready to hit the road and face the 0-6 Cincinnati Bengals.

"Today was a hard fought defensive battle," Marrone said. "We did well in the running game but overall, our offense wasn't in sync. We were not able to make plays. I have to do a good job and get them to play in all three phases, offense, defense and special teams. That starts with me.

"I liked the effort today, they played hard but have to play better. At the end of the day they (Saints) are a good football team. They're one of the best teams we'll play all year. They play well at all three levels. Their secondary did a real good job and covered us real well. At the end of the day, those guys are a pretty good team.

"Leonard did a good job with his play getting all purpose yards, but we have to get first downs so we can get everybody involved."

Minshew II said, "today was a tough day and they're a good team. I missed some balls that I can't afford to miss. They did a good job taking away our quick stuff. We have enough guys who can make plays and we will do better."

The announced crowd was 64,341. There appeared to be a lot of Saints fans to make the trip.

The Jaguars return home on October 27, 2019 at 1 pm to face the New York Jets at TIAA Bank Field and see another up and coming QB in Sam Darnold.

The Jets (1-4) play the New England Patriots on Monday Night Football.

These next two games are very winnable for the 2-4 Jaguars, who hope to reach the .500 mark by the end of the month. The combined record of the Bengals and the Jets is 1-10.

The Jaguars proceeded to trade Ramsey to the LA Rams on Wednesday for two first round picks and a number four in the next two drafts.

The Bengals lost to the Baltimore Ravens 23-17 while the Jets defeated the Dallas Cowboys 24-22.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at www.scottsports33.com and is the Founder and CEO of The South Florida Tribune and The South Florida Tribune Broadcasting Network.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Breaking In My Prize Pupil

BY SCOTT MORGANROTH
PHOTOS BY CANDICE EBLING

There was a different feel to this football game than I normally experience.

Tonight, I won't have to write a normal game story filled with statistics and quotes.

This time, I'm writing a sidebar.

As I continue to build the South Florida Tribune both on the business, editorial and broadcasting sides, I've turned over the reigns to my young Sports Writer Louis Addeo-Weiss.

When I hired Addeo-Weiss a few months ago, he's written primarily baseball and music stories.

As the company has grown, so has he.

My prize pupil knows that he must get familiar with all sports to be well rounded.

As the Sports Exchange transitions to a new home on the South Florida Tribune Broadcasting Network, through his consistent production, Addeo-Weiss has now joined Myself as a Co-Host.

He knows that to continue to be on the air, he must continue to write regularly and at a high level.

I told Addeo-Weiss that when I made the decision to mentor and develop  him, that I expected him to eventually hire and build his own staff.

This is the only way we can grow the company and secure his role and future.

If there is ever a time to break in a new writer at a live event, this was it.

The first FAU Game I ever covered was on September 1, 2007 when the Owls faced Middle Tennessee State at Lockhart Stadium.

FAU won the contest 27-14 as QB Rusty Smith guided a Howard Schnellenberger coached squad.

Schnellenberger was in attendance for this game.

Smith was 12-26-195 yards with two touchdowns and zero interceptions in the triumph.

Blue Raiders Head Coach Rick Stockstill also coached in 2007 and he remains at the helm for the university located in Murfreesboro, TN.

Going into this game, Stockstill has an 89-81 record.

FAU won lost last years game 25-24 in OT.

Middle Tennessee  led the all-time series 12-4.

At home, the Blue Raiders lead the series 7-2 and on the road, lead 5-2 in South Florida.

Twelve years later, Addeo-Weiss was making his debut and once again, the Owls are facing FAU but in an on campus stadium which is facing the Atlantic Ocean.

This is the only venue in the country that faces this body of water just 1.8 miles east.

There was no view at the now demolished Lockhart Stadium, but there is a gorgeous one on the sixth floor of the Press Box.

Lane Kiffin is running the show for FAU and sophomore QB Chris Robison is under center.

How would things turn out in Addeo-Weiss debut covering his alma-mater?

FAU defeated Middle Tennessee 28-13 to improve to 4-2 while Middle Tennessee fell to 2-4.

Like Myself, Addeo-Weiss' first game was a victory as mine against the Blue Raiders.

Ironically, the same amount of total points were scored in both contests with 41.

Both FAU wins were in double figures.

Robison was 15-30 for 145 yards, one touchdown pass and zero interceptions. His passing yards were close to Smiths' in 2007. Robison added 11 yards rushing.

Next up for Addeo-Weiss, he's going to cover two more football games for us in November. He'll get a taste of basketball during the winter and spring.

Then I'll turn him loose and he can cover his specialty baseball on a regular basis while we continue to develop the business and broadcasting parts of the South Florida Tribune.

Scott Morganroth can be reached at www.scottsports33.com and is the CEO and Founder Of The South Florida Tribune and South Florida Tribune Broadcasting Network.

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