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.
- Scott Morganroth
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