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MONDAY HUDDLE: Are Jaguars now 'America's Team?'

5 takeaways from this weekend's football scene around the state

Gardner Minshew mania is in full swing. (Photo by Harry Aaron/Getty Images)

Here are five takeaways from this past weekend’s football action around the state.  

Jaguars a hot team to follow nationally

Forgot the New England Patriots or Dallas Cowboys. The NFL’s most interesting team to follow at the moment from a national perspective just might be the Jacksonville Jaguars. 

First, there’s the obvious saga surrounding Pro Bowl cornerback Jalen Ramsey and whether he’ll be traded, and if so, to which suitor?

In addition, the mania surrounding current starting quarterback Gardner Minshew is in full gear, with football fans reveling over both his great play in two games (77.6 completion percentage, 111.8 passer ​​​​​​rating) since taking over for the injured Nick Foles, and his signature mustache. 

Minshew’s No. 15 is already the best-selling Jaguars jersey since the season began across the Fanatics network, which includes NFLShop.com and the Jaguars' online store, according to ESPN.

With winnable games coming up against Denver and Carolina, the Jaguars also could be a team on the rise in the standings.

What will UCF’s response be?

For the first time since November 2016, the Central Florida Knights will take the practice field this week following a regular-season loss. 

The Knights’ 25-game winning streak in the regular season was snapped in a heartbreaking 35-34 defeat at Pittsburgh on Saturday, a game where UCF rallied from a 21-0 deficit to take a 31-21 lead, but saw Pittsburgh execute a trick play on fourth-and-2 from the UCF 3-yard line to score the game-winning touchdown with under a minute left. 

Unlike the last two years, UCF will have to forge on knowing that the possibility of an unbeaten season and a chance to be in the playoff discussion are gone. 

Will there be any motivation zapped from the Knights as a result? Time will tell. 

A home game against Connecticut should give UCF a game to get back on track before a major road test at Cincinnati on Oct. 4.

Trask up to task for Florida

It’s pretty hard to believe that Florida quarterback Kyle Trask made his first start since his freshman year of high school against Tennessee on Saturday.

Taking over for Feleipe Franks, who is out for the season after suffering a dislocated ankle against Kentucky, Trask gave Florida fans hope that all might not be lost this season without Franks.

Trask went 20-of-28 passing for 293 yards and two touchdowns in Florida’s 34-3 win, becoming the first Florida quarterback to throw for more than 290 yards in less than 30 attempts since John Brantley did so in 2011.

Trask did throw two interceptions, but his performances in rallying the Gators to a win at Kentucky and against Tennessee indicate that Florida is in good hands with Trask the rest of the season.

Ugly win for Hurricanes

If ever a win felt like a loss, such was the case for Miami after a 17-12 win over Central Michigan. 

Heavily favored going in against a team picked to finish last in the Mid-American Conference’s West Division, the Hurricanes struggled mightily.

Miami jumped out to a 7-0 lead by scoring on its opening drive, but could only muster 10 points the rest of the way and needed an interception by Al Blades in the final minute to seal the win. 

The Hurricanes hope this upcoming bye week will do some good before conference play resumes against Virginia Tech on Oct. 5. 

Terrific finish to prep matchup in Delray Beach

The anticipated prep showdown between Hollywood Chaminade-Madonna and Atlantic proved to be as good as people expected it would be.

Chaminade-Madonna, the two-time defending Class 3A state champions, scored a touchdown with 36 seconds left to earn a 17-14 win over Atlantic, ranked No. 4 in Class 7A.

The winning score was a 4-yard touchdown run by junior and Miami commit Thad Franklin, which capped off an 83-yard drive that took less than two minutes.
 


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