MONDAY HUDDLE: Did Jaguars wave white flag on 2019 with Jalen Ramsey deal?
5 takeaways from this weekend's football scene around the state
Here are five takeaways from this past weekend's football action around the state.
State of Jaguars after Ramsey trade
The Jaguars are 1-0 in the post-Jalen Ramsey era following a 27-17 win at Cincinnati, one of two winless teams in the NFL.
Jacksonville improved to 3-4 and is still somewhat hanging around the AFC South race with the season almost halfway done. The Jaguars are one game behind Houston for second and 1 1/2 games behind the Colts for first in the AFC South, but the Ramsey trade last week seemed to indicate Jacksonville is more pointing toward the future than the rest of 2019.
Jacksonville is a better team long-term for having two additional first-round picks from the Rams, but obviously worse having to be without the all-pro cornerback the rest of this season.
But the Jaguars felt ultimately being rid of Ramsey and collecting the picks was best, even if the perception is that 2019 seems like more of a rebuilding season now.
The next four weeks will offer a chance for the Jaguars to prove they can win now even with the trade, with home games against the Jets and Texans preceding consecutive road games within the division at Indianapolis and Tennessee.
Critical conversion ignites Florida
Florida seemed like it was going to follow in Georgia's footsteps and get upset by South Carolina, but one fourth-down conversion changed all that.
Trailing 20-17 and facing a fourth-and-3 from the South Carolina 34-yard line with more than 10 minutes remaining, Florida quarterback Kyle Trask scrambled out of pressure and hit Kyle Pitts for a 9-yard pass and a first down.
Trask then hit Freddie Swain for a 25-yard touchdown on the next play, starting a string of 21 unanswered points for the Gators that helped them pull away for a 38-27 win.
Florida still very much controls its destiny for a berth in the College Football Playoff, starting with the annual tussle with Georgia in Jacksonville on Nov. 2.
Progress for Florida State stalling
The Florida State program seems to still be stuck in mud in Willie Taggart's second year as head coach.
The Seminoles came close to earning a big road win over a one-loss Wake Forest team on Saturday, but fell 22-20 and now might be staring at a repeat of 2018, where Florida State had a losing record (5-7) for the first time since 1976 and missed a bowl game for the first time since 1981.
Of Florida State's remaining five games, only Alabama State on Nov. 16 looks like a sure win and the season-finale at Florida looks like a sure loss.
Assuming those two games play out as expected, the Seminoles will have to go 2-1 in the other three games against Syracuse, Miami and Boston College just to better last year's win total and go 6-6.
Fitzpatrick nearly works magic for Dolphins
There was nearly more "FitzMagic" on Sunday, this time at the benefit of the Miami Dolphins.
Named the new starting quarterback for Miami, Fitzpatrick, who got the nickname FitzMagic for how he has engineered unexpected wins for previous teams, nearly led the Dolphins to their first win of the season.
Miami seemed poised for a breakthrough, having a first-and-goal from the Buffalo 2-yard line with a 14-9 lead in the third quarter, but after a fumble recovered by Fitzpatrick moved the ball back to the Buffalo 12-yard line, Fitzpatrick threw a crucial interception at the 2-yard line.
Buffalo took the ball and then went 98 yards, scoring a touchdown and a 2-point conversion to take a 17-14 lead.
Fitzpatrick led a touchdown drive that pulled Miami within 24-21 with 1:45 left, but Buffalo returned the ensuing onside kick for a touchdown to earn a 31-21 win.
Overall, Fitzpatrick did inject some life into the Dolphins, going 23-of-35 passing for 282 yards.
Suspended coach will return to sideline
The saga of Wellington High School football coach Tom Abel looks to finally be over.
Originally suspended five games by the Florida High School Athletic Association, Abel will return to the sideline after winning a sectional appeal of his suspension Friday.
Abel was suspended five games and fined $400 by the FHSAA for allegedly cursing at an official during a Sept. 26 game against Forest Hill.
FHSAA denied an original appeal, but Abel then got a sectional appeals hearing after filing a civil complaint, where he claimed defamation and a denial of due process.
Wellington (2-7) is off this week, but Abel will return to coach for the team's Nov. 1 game against Seminole Ridge.
Graham Media Group 2019