Here are five takeaways from this past weekend’s football action around the state.
Gators pass first test of brutal stretch
The Florida defense ensured one set of Tigers was tamed last Saturday, as the Gators harassed Auburn freshman quarterback Bo Nix into three interceptions and other missed throws in a 24-13 win over the Auburn Tigers in a matchup of unbeatens.
Now, Florida will turn its attention to another group of Tigers, the LSU Tigers, this week in what will be an even bigger challenge.
Not only is the game on the road in Baton Rouge, but instead of going up against a freshman quarterback still getting comfortable, the Gators will have to try to contain one of the country’s hottest players.
LSU senior quarterback Joe Burrow has become a Heisman Trophy candidate with a torrid start that has seen him complete 78.4 percent of his passes for 1,864 yards, 22 touchdowns and three interceptions in five games.
Those are video gamelike numbers, but on the flip side, Florida will be by far the best defense Burrow has faced thus far.
Was this really an upset of UCF?
Much was made about how Central Florida was “upset” by losing 27-24 at Cincinnati last Friday, which seems odd.
The Bearcats are a solid football team that made a bowl last year and are coached by former Ohio State defensive coordinator Luke Fickell. The trip north for the game figured to be Central Florida’s biggest test when the season started, even more so than playing at Pittsburgh.
UCF is good enough to commit four turnovers and still beat a lot of teams, but making that many mistakes against Cincinnati was a different story, and it turned out to be the difference as the Knights had their 19-game conference winning streak snapped.
What can Seminoles do against the champs?
Florida State had a bye week last week, which couldn’t have come at a better time because it gave the Seminoles an extra week to prepare for their hardest game of the year, a trip to Clemson to face the defending national champions.
Florida State seems overmatched, but it also isn’t the same dominant Clemson team as last year.
The Seminoles no doubt watched tape of North Carolina’s near upset of Clemson a couple of weeks ago to gather some ideas.
Jaguars, Bucs take step back
It wasn’t a good week for both the Jaguars and Buccaneers, who both had momentum slowed following big wins the week prior.
Fresh off a two-game winning streak but still playing without cornerback Jalen Ramsey, the Jaguars lost 31-24 at Carolina, even though “Minshew Mania” continued.
Quarterback Gardner Minshew went 26-of-44 passing for 374 yards and two touchdowns, but the Jaguars were doomed by being minus-3 in turnover margin.
After a great win at Los Angeles last week, the Buccaneers saw New Orleans backup quarterback Teddy Bridgewater have a career day in a 31-24 New Orleans win.
Bridgewater, who is filling in for the injured Drew Brees, threw for 314 yards and four touchdowns.
Prep coach on verge of milestone
Orangewood Christian High School football coach Bill Gierke is about to achieve a prestigious milestone.
With one more win, Gierke, who has also coached at Evans, Dr. Phillips and Edgewater, will reach 300 wins for his career.
The first opportunity for Orangewood Christian to give Gierke that win will come Friday against Satellite.
Graham Media Group 2019