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

Rough start for pro teams, golden chance for Knights

By Keith Dunlap - Graham Media Group
Getty Images

Lamical Perine #2 of the Florida Gators celebrates a touchdown during the game against the Tennessee Martin Skyhawks at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

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

Rough start for pro teams

It couldn’t have been an uglier start to the season for the three NFL teams in the state.

The Dolphins were destroyed by the Ravens, 59-10, the Jaguars’ defense struggled against a prolific Chiefs offense in a 40-26 loss, and quarterback Jameis Winston’s turnover problems continued for the Buccaneers in a 31-17 loss to San Francisco. 

Not only did each suffer a double-digit loss, but did so at home in front of fan bases hoping the squads would give them a reason not to believe the gloomy preseason forecasts for each. 

Reason to celebrate?

Florida State managed to win its first game of the season on Saturday but not in the manner many were expecting. 

It took a missed extra point in overtime for the Seminoles to escape with a 45-44 win over Louisiana-Monroe. 

The Seminoles celebrated the moment, but the result only ramped up the temperature on head coach Willie Taggart’s hot seat. 

Costly win

Florida improved to 2-0 with a 45-0 rout of Tennessee-Martin, but it came with a price. 

The Gators lost two of their best players to injuries, wideout Kadarius Toney and cornerback CJ Henderson.
Toney left the game with a left hand or arm injury and didn’t return in the second half. After the game, Florida head coach Dan Mullen insinuated that the injury could be serious.

Henderson left with an ankle injury and returned to the sidelines on crutches and wearing a boot. 

This was not what the Gators needed to see going into their SEC opener at Kentucky this week. 

History made in bad way for Hurricanes

For the first time since 1978, Miami is 0-2 to start the season after another gutwrenching loss. 

After nearly upsetting Florida in the season opener before losing, 24-20, the Hurricanes hoped the momentum of that game would translate into a contest at North Carolina. 

Miami seemed to be in control of the game with a 25-20 lead late and North Carolina facing a fourth-and-17, but the Hurricanes inexcusably gave up a first down on the play, which ultimately led to North Carolina scoring and taking a 28-25 lead with 1:03 left.

A 49-yard field-goal attempt by Bubba Baxa that would have tied the game in the final seconds was missed. 

Central Florida takes care of business, showdown with Stanford next

For the second straight week, Central Florida routed an in-state opponent, this time earning a 48-14 victory at Florida Atlantic. 

Now, Central Florida will prepare for a rare visit to Orlando by a marquee Pac-12 program. 

Stanford, which was ranked before a 45-20 loss at USC on Saturday, will fly across the country to take on the Knights at Bright House Networks Stadium. 

This certainly is an opportunity to put a marquee non-conference win on the resume for the Knights, something detractors felt was lacking the last two seasons.
 

Graham Media Group 2019