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On a Day of Big Plays; Jags Come Up With Enough in 38-31 Win Over Raiders

While it looked bleak at some points Sunday, in the end the Jaguars had just enough bullets in the gun, as they pulled out another huge win, topping the tough Oakland Raiders at EverBank Field 38-31.

The Jags, now 8-5, stay in first in the AFC South, one game ahead of the Colts, who they will play at Lucas Oil Field next Sunday in a game that could easily decide the AFC South.

The big play Jags were led by the threesome of David Garrard, Rashad Jennings and workhorse back Maurice Jones-Drew. The Jags leading rusher had the biggest play of the day, a 30-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter that was the difference in the contest.

The Raiders, now 6-7, were a game bunch, led by RB Darren McFadden who had 123 yards on 16 carries and two scores and also added a 67-yard receiving touchdown in defeat.

Garrard threw for 159 yards on 11-of-22 completions with three touchdowns and one interception, while Jones-Drew rushed for 101 yards on 23 carries. Jennings added 109 yards on the ground and ran for a 74-yard score in the victory.

Raiders QB Jason Campbell completed 21-of-30 throws for 324 yards and two touchdowns for Oakland, who have dropped three of their last four contests. “Too many big plays defensively. We gave up too many,” Raiders head coach Tom Cable said. “We were able to get some offensively. Overall, just too many big plays.”

Trailing, 31-24, with 5 1/2 minutes left in the fourth quarter, Campbell, who missed a series after getting driven into the ground on an unnecessary roughness penalty, returned to the field and led his squad on a game-tying drive.

Campbell converted a 3rd-and-3 with an 11-yard completion to Louis Murphy to the Oakland 46. Three plays later from the 36, McFadden broke through the middle and went the distance to even the game with 1:53 to play.

However, on the ensuing kickoff, Deji Karim’s 65-yard return put the Jags in business at the Raiders’ 30. On the first play of the set, Jones-Drew took the handoff, ran up the middle and into the end zone for a 38-31 advantage with 1:34 remaining.

“A team effort,” Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio said. “I challenged our football team this week, special teams wise to be special. We’re going to need everyone on this team to contribute and the need for special teams to be special and win a game for us. I thought we got that today.”

After a decent kickoff return by Jacoby Ford to the Oakland 40, Campbell led the Raiders to the Jacksonville 32 with an array of short passes with 18 seconds on the clock. Following a sack by Jeremy Mincey with 11 ticks remaining, Campbell hit Ford with a 16-yard pass to the 23, but time ran out and the Jags held on for the victory.

McFadden’s 67-yard catch-and-run early in the contest got the Raiders on the board.

Jacksonville pulled even at 7-7 in the early stages of the second quarter when Garrard hit Marcedes Lewis for a one-yard touchdown pass to finish off a seven-play, 45-yard drive.

Oakland answered with a 26-yard Sebastian Janikowski field goal with 6:25 left in the second.

A Jacksonville turnover led to a Campbell-to-Murphy eight-yard TD which capped a nine-play, 79-yard drive with 19 seconds to play and the Raiders took a 17-7 lead into the break.

Jacksonville opened the third quarter when Jason Hill pulled in a 48-yard touchdown grab, but the Raiders answered on McFadden’s 51-yard score that had Oakland ahead 24-14.

The Jags countered by putting up touchdowns on two consecutive possessions to go in front.

First, it was Jennings, taking a handoff on the third play of a drive and running around left end for a 74-yard TD with 6:44 left in the third.

Oakland fumbled on the ensuing kickoff, giving the ball back to the hosts, who took the lead for the first time in the contest.

With the ball on the Raiders’ 22, the Jaguars picked up a first down at the 10, but were unable to pick up yards on two consecutive plays. However, on 3rd-and-goal, Garrard rolled left and floated a pass for Mike Sims-Walker, who made a diving catch for the score along the left boundary, putting Jacksonville up 28-24.

Josh Scobee tacked on a 19-yard field goal with 11:22 to play in the fourth for a seven-point Jaguars lead.

With Oakland facing a 3rd-and-10 from its own 27, Campbell was sacked and fumbled at the 19. Terrance Knighton picked up the loose ball and rumbled for the score. However, Knighton was flagged for unnecessary roughness after driving Campbell into the ground, which nullified the score.

Kyle Boller came in for Campbell and completed a 20-yard pass, but was picked off on 4th-and-3 at the Jacksonville 28 by Don Carey.

The Jags have that huge AFC South contest Sunday against the Colts on the road.

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