The annual Florida-Georgia (or Georgia-Florida) game is set to take place during the Jaguars' bye week this year.
Two notable attendees for Saturday's game will be Jaguars defensive tackle Abry Jones and defensive end Dante Fowler. Jones is a Georgia alum, while Fowler played for the Gators.
Jones has fond memories of winning at EverBank Field prior to his career with the Jaguars.
“I only got to win twice but that’s pretty much my fondest memory,” Jones said. “We lost the first two years and that just sucked. First year we got blown out, second year took it to overtime and should have won, next two years we just won flat out. That was the most memorable thing to me.”
Fowler's favorite moment within the rivalry also came with a win. The Gators beat the Bulldogs during the defensive end's final year with the program.
“My favorite memory was when we won my junior year,” Fowler said. “Also, the Gator walk and seeing [my] family.”
Jones and Fowler both agreed the atmosphere heightens the game experience. Fans are rowdy and the players can feel their passion on the field.
“To me, it’s just the love and excitement of the fans have for the game,” Jones said. “They’re all into it. They’re all drunk and all that. You come off the bridge and they yell insults and stuff like that, it’s just the perfect environment for football. It makes you want to win that much more because you see how much they really hate you.”
The school pride is evident in the Jaguars' locker room. Jones is picking his Bulldogs to win this year's meeting.
“I want to say 21-17,” Jones said.
Fowler believes his school will win the big game.
“I think Florida [wins], 20-17,” Fowler said.
No matter the outcome, there's sure to be some smack talk handed out by the player from the winning program when the Jaguars return from vacation. Jones and Fowler are buddies, but it'll be hard to resist antagonizing the loser of the annual Georgia-Florida (or Florida-Georgia) showdown.
Campbell happy with sacks, looking for more wins
Jaguars defensive end Calais Campbell heads into the bye week with a career-high 10 sacks. He bested his previous nine seasons in just seven games with the Jaguars.
While the accomplishment is encouraging, Campbell is more interested in the AFC South standings.
"It's a cool thing," Campbell said. "It's something I've always wanted, I felt like I should get, but at the end of day though it's all about wins and losses and sometimes you have to sacrifice production to win games. At the end of the day I'm happy with the win. [Producing] 10 sacks is great but the 'W' is what makes me feel good."
Campbell is happy with the defense's production through seven games. The league-leading 33 sacks have folks around the league buzzing about the Jaguars.
Still, the veteran believes the team should be in much better shape than they already are at this point.
"I still feel like our record should be a lot better than it is," Campbell said. "That's because we haven't played the way we can play at all times. We've been up and down. We're in a good place right now because those [losses] haven't really hurt us yet, but we can't continue to do that and be the team we want to be. Going forward we have to establish a consistent feel and understand how good we can be when we do it right and be that at all times."
The Jaguars are coming off a 27-0 win against the Indianapolis Colts. It was the team's first shutout since 2006.
Campbell, now in his 10th NFL season, knows how hard it can be shutout an opposing offense.
"It's very hard to get a shutout this league, which is crazy because there we three of them [in Week 7]," Campbell said. "Very surprised to see that but everyone who has been part of the NFL understands that to hold a team scoreless is a pretty big deal."
Signed this offseason, Campbell has thrived in his new role with the Jaguars. Playing defensive end in a 4-3 has opened up his pass rushing possibilities. He has also been give the freedom to move around the line at times.
"Even when I was a rookie I thought I'd do well at the EDGE [position]," Campbell said. "I'm a football player, put me anywhere and I'm going to do the best I can to get the job done. I got drafted to a 3-4 defense and made the best of the position they put me in. I [was] very successful and had a good time doing that but I always knew I'd be productive on the outside, but at the end of the day, production is great but it's about wins and losses."
Cole's big play had been planned for a while
On the Jaguars' second offensive series, quarterback Blake Bortles threw downfield to rookie wide receiver Keelan Cole. The young playmaker had broken free from a defender with a double move on a post route.
Cole caught Bortles' pass and picked up 52 yards on the exchange. It was the biggest play of Cole's young career.
“It was something we practiced a lot in practice and we execute it actually 100 percent in practice,” Cole said. “We just knew when it was going to be called it had to be a big play. That was a play I had to make.”
Cole was cheered on by his teammates following the play. The big gain set up the Jaguars' second touchdown of the game.
“It was real fun, it’s always fun making a play for the team,” Cole said. “We went down and made that drive into a touchdown.”
Cole, Allen Hurns and Marqise Lee all produced receptions of 45 yards or more. The rookie wide receiver said the trio is expected to make big plays.
“For sure, we are always ready, everyone knows our strengths and weaknesses,” Cole said. “When our numbers are called, we are always ready for it, regardless of if it’s one catch or two catches. We know we have to try to score every time.”
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