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UNF Spinnaker

Jaguars prepare for kickoff Sunday after second-ever undefeated preseason

With a 31-18 win over the Miami Dolphins on Aug. 26, the Jacksonville Jaguars closed out their second ever undefeated preseason, over two decades after their first in 1997.

Only two other teams of the 32 went undefeated in the preseason this year, a time where coaching staff are usually more focused on experimenting with lineups and testing out rookie players, something they won’t be able to do in the regular season where every game counts.

Despite rookies and backup players taking up a majority of the game, Jags nation came in abundance to see the first undefeated preseason for the team in over two decades (Jeanne Gilbert)

The Jaguars only played their starters for a few drives in the games against Miami and Dallas, leaving the backups with plenty of time on the field, all of them vying for a much-coveted roster spot. A reminder of the fierce competition in the NFL, every player on the 90-man roster was looking to prove their worth before the cut deadline on Aug. 29.

Despite playing rookies and backups for most of the games, the Jaguars still came out on top each week.

Going into his third season, Trevor Lawrence put on a great performance against Miami, throwing for 92 yards in just 10 passes with an 80% completion rate. 

One of these was a 28-yard pass to Calvin Ridley, Jacksonville’s newest starting wide receiver.

After playing four seasons for the Atlanta Falcons, he was suspended for the entirety of 2022 due to violations of the NFL’s sports betting policy. He also missed the last 11 games of the 2021 season to focus on his mental wellbeing.

Despite the indefinite suspension, he was traded to the Jaguars in November of last year and eventually reinstated to the NFL back in March.

Ridley was awarded second-team All-Pro honors and recorded 1,374 yards, 90 receptions and nine touchdowns in 2020, his last full season. He later revealed he had played through most of it with a broken foot.

Stepping on the field for the first time in nearly two years didn’t seem to be a problem for the receiver, who caught both passes thrown to him from Lawrence during their short stint in the Cowboys game.

The team’s recent success has not gone unnoticed. On the first day of the fall semester, students at the University of North Florida lined up around the student union to buy season tickets, selling them out within a few hours.

Those who couldn’t get them but still wish to attend games can purchase discounted single-game tickets through student government.

UNF is also offering a shuttle to transport students between the school and home games at EverBank Stadium.

It’s no surprise the tickets sold out so quickly, especially after last season’s playoffs, where the team came back from a 27-0 deficit at halftime against the Los Angeles Chargers. Lawrence’s determination never faltered, going from throwing four interceptions in the first half to scoring 31 points in the second.

Despite placing first in their conference and making it past the wild card round, their playoff run was cut short in the next game where they lost to reigning Super Bowl champions, the Kansas City Chiefs, by the difference of a single touchdown.

Following their remarkable performance in the preseason, the Jaguars are now suiting up for the rest of the year. They will be playing division rival Indianapolis Colts on the road Sunday, followed by a rematch with the Kansas City Chiefs in week two for their first home game of the season.

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For more information or news tips, or if you see an error in this story or have any compliments or concerns, contact [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Jeanne Gilbert, General Assignment Reporter
Jeanne is a general assignment reporter for Spinnaker.

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