1. Sports
  2. /
  3. Gators

Keep an eye on local Tony Jones in the Notre Dame-Georgia showdown

More national college football: Jimbo Fisher, meanwhile, should be hyper focused on his quarterback, who hasn’t looked all that spiffy this season. Plus staff predictions.
Notre Dame running back Tony Jones Jr. (6) runs through a hole in the line during the first half against Louisville on Sept. 2. [TIMOTHY D. EASLEY | AP]
Published Sep. 20
Updated Sep. 20

Local of the week

Notre Dame running back Tony Jones (St. Pete Catholic)

There is, rightfully, plenty of attention on Georgia’s backfield, but don’t ignore the one on the other sideline. Jones, a St. Petersburg native who finished his high school career at IMG Academy, rushed for 110 yards in the Irish’s season-opening win over Louisville and will likely need a big performance to crack the Bulldogs.

GameDay breakdown

Although Notre Dame has double-digit wins in four of the past seven seasons, the Irish haven’t been able to compete against elite talent. Notre Dame is 0-4 against top-five teams under Brian Kelly. Given how well Kirby Smart has recruited at Georgia and the intense environment expected in Athens, it’s hard to see Kelly finally getting his marquee victory.

RELATED: Georgia football’s rise comes at the expense of Florida, in more ways than one

Harbaugh’s Alabama hire

No. 11 Michigan was supposed to spruce up its offense by hiring coordinator Josh Gattis away from Alabama. The Wolverines are still waiting for those points. Gattis’ offense ranks No. 98 nationally in yards per play and is 74th in the advanced metric SP+. And that’s before facing No. 13 Wisconsin, which shut out USF and Jim McElwain’s Chippewas in its first two games.

FROM THE ARCHIVES: The Jim Harbaugh Effect: More sizzle than steak?

Second-generation Nix

Texas A&M head coach Jimbo Fisher calls plays against Lamar during the second on Sept. 14. [SAM CRAFT | AP]

Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher should know all about Auburn quarterback Bo Nix. Two decades ago, Fisher was the quarterbacks coach for Nix’s dad, Patrick, who started for the Tigers in 1994-95. The connection is cool, but Fisher needs to focus on his own quarterback. Kellen Mond has been mediocre (No. 63 nationally in passing efficiency) after a breakout sophomore season and will be challenged by one of the country’s best defensive lines.

Week 4: By the numbers

16 — Average fourth-quarter points allowed per game by FSU. Only Texas, Colorado State and Troy are giving up more

299 — FSU wins at Doak Campbell Stadium

221.50 — Passing efficiency for Samford quarterback Chris Oladokun, a USF transfer and Sickles High alumnus. That’s No. 2 in Division I-AA.

5 — Consecutive times Oklahoma State has beaten Texas in Austin

4.21 — Yards per play for Florida Atlantic and supposed offensive genius Lane Kiffin. That’s second-to-last nationally

4.11 — Yards per play for UCLA and supposed offensive genius Chip Kelly. That’s last nationally.

Tampa Bay Times staff predictions for week 4

Sample HTML block


  1. South Carolina coach Will Muschamp says he doesn't want to take anything away from Florida, but he doesn't want to keep quiet about the officiating either. MIC SMITH  |  AP
    The South Carolina coach says getting called for unsportsmanlike conduct was "gutless.''
  2. After years of complex Internet-to-TV setups and multiple streaming boxes, it seems the tech has finally caught up with the dream of cutting the cable cord, as several companies, such as Roku and TiVo, have begun offering devices specifically geared to cord cutters.
    Live sports without cable TV isn’t as different as you might think. And that can have serious ramifications across college sports.
  3. Florida's James Houston IV (41) and Umstead Sanders (42) jog through the tunnel before the start of the NCAA college football game against South Carolina Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019, in Columbia, SC. (AP Photo/Mic Smith) MIC SMITH PHOTOGRAPHY LLC  |  AP
    There were two shakeups to Matt Baker’s top five this week, too.
  4. Florida's Kyle Trask throws a pass against South Carolina in the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019, in Columbia, SC. Florida defeated South Carolina 38-27. MIC SMITH  |  AP
    The quarterback’s three fourth-quarter touchdowns help UF put the Gamecocks away for good.
  5. Illinois head coach Lovie Smith watches as his team plays against Minnesota on Oct. 5 in Minneapolis. BRUCE KLUCKHOHN  |  AP
    Game-day guide: Plus a look at Penn State-Michigan and a game plan that’s crazy enough to (almost) work for the Vols this weekend.
  6. BYU linebacker Max Tooley (31) tackles USF running back Jordan Cronkrite (2) during the second half of last week's game at Raymond James Stadium. OCTAVIO JONES  |  Times
    Game-day guide: And Will Muschamp’s South Carolina tenure looks almost exactly like his time with the Florida Gators.
  7. Florida quarterback Emory Jones (5) throws a pass against Auburn on Oct. 5 in Gainesville. JOHN RAOUX  |  AP
    Kyle Trask and Emory Jones are thriving at Florida, while Willie Taggart is being tight-lipped at Florida State.
  8. Florida Gators running back Lamical Perine runs against Tennessee during the first half of the Sept. 21 football game in Gainesville. JOHN RAOUX  |  AP
    The Pac-12 has some interesting games this weekend. Too bad no one will be able to watch one of them. Plus: Times staff predictions for week 8.
  9. Florida wide receiver Van Jefferson (12) celebrates his touchdown reception with wide receiver Tyrie Cleveland (89) and tight end Kyle Pitts (84) in the first half of an NCAA college football game against LSU in Baton Rouge, La., Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) GERALD HERBERT  |  AP
    Sports Day Tampa Bay: Times college football writer Matt Baker discusses Florida-South Carolina, USF-Navy, FSU-Wake Forest and the conference already out of the College Football Playoff picture.
  10. Florida head coach Dan Mullen prepares to take the field with his players during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Auburn, Saturday, Oct. 5, 2019, in Gainesville, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux) JOHN RAOUX  |  AP
    Some mid-year thoughts on the Florida Gators, FSU Seminoles, USF Bulls, plus some predictions for what happens next.