TODAY'S GAME: The Jacksonville Jaguars - the third-fastest expansion team ever to win a game and the quickest to win their first on the road - return home today to face the Pittsburgh Steelers. The 1-4 Jaguars are coming off a last-minute 17-16 victory over the Houston Oilers, while the Steelers are 3-2 after beating the San Diego Chargers 31-16 last Sunday. This is the second of four games in five weeks against AFC Central opponents for the Jaguars. The Steelers, the defending division champion, are idle next week before starting a streak of six games in seven weeks against AFC Central foes.
RADIO BROADCAST: This game will be broadcast on WOKV (690 AM) and WKQL (96.9 FM) and the Jaguars Radio Network, with play-by-play man Brian Sexton and color analysts Matt Robinson and Deron Cherry. Jennifer Kumik and Bill Riley, sports director of WOKV handle the pre-game and half-time shows. More than 30 affiliates in five states on the Jaguars Radio Network will also broadcast the game. Sexton, 26, is the NFL's youngest play-by-play announcer, while Robinson and Cherry bring a total of 17 years of NFL playing experience to the broadcast booth.
TELEVISION BROADCAST: Today's game will be televised regionally by NBC and locally on WTLV, Channel 12. Calling the action will be veteran broadcasters Don Criqui and Beesley Reece.
THE SERIES: This is the first game between the Jaguars and Steelers. They will meet again in three weeks when the Jaguars travel to Three Rivers Stadium on October 29.
A JAGUARS VICTORY OVER THE STEELERS WOULD: Be the Jaguars' second victory and be only the second time an expansion team has won two of its first six games. In fact, 4 of the 8 previous expansion teams won their next game following their first-ever victory. It would also give the Jaguars a 2-2 record against division opponents.
A STEELERS VICTORY OVER THE JAGUARS WOULD: Keep them at least in a tie for the division lead (depending on how the Cleveland Browns do against the Detroit Lions today). Pittsburgh and Cleveland are now tied for first with 3-2 records.
INJURY UPDATE: Jacksonville Jaguars - Out: TE Derek Brown (rib), LB James Williams (quadriceps), G Shawn Bouwens (knee); Questionable: DT Don Davey (hip); Probable: FS Mike Dumas (ankle), WR Ernest Givins (hamstring) and LB Bryan Schwartz (ankle).
Pittsburgh Steelers - Out: CB Rod Woodson (knee), FB John L. Williams (knee), WR Johnnie Barnes (knee); Questionable: DE Brentson Buckner (sternum); Probable: WR Andre Hastings (quadriceps), QB Neil O'Donnell (finger), OT John Jackson (knee), CB Alvoid Mays (foot), RB Erric Pegram (quadriceps) and OT Leon Searcy (calf).
INACTIVE PLAYERS: The following players were designated as inactive on Friday (four more players from each team will be designated as inactive 1 1/2 hours before kickoff):
Jacksonville - G Shawn Bouwens, TE Derek Brown, LB James Williams and DT Mike Thompson.
Pittsburgh - CB Rod Woodson, FB John L. Williams, WR Johnnie Barnes and S Lethon Flowers.
ROSTER MOVES: The Jaguars have not made any roster moves in the last week. On Tuesday, the Steelers waived WR Corey Holliday and later re-signed him to their practice squad and replaced him on the roster with FB Tim Lester.
THE COACHES: Jacksonville head coach Tom Coughlin led the Jaguars to their first victory ever last Sunday and is 1-4 during the regular season. The Jaguars were 2-3 during the preseason. Coughlin became the first head coach of the NFL's newest franchise on February 21, 1994 following three successful seasons as head coach at Boston College. He compiled a record of 21-13-1 from 1991 to '93 at Boston College, and had two appearances in bowl games and a ranking of 13th in the final AP poll of 1993. A veteran of 25 years of coaching, Coughlin was previously an NFL assistant coach with the New York Giants (wide receivers, 1988-90), Green Bay Packers (wide receivers and passing game coordinator 1986-87) and Philadelphia Eagles (wide receivers, 1984-85). He was a member of the Giants' 1990 Super Bowl XXV champions coaching staff.
Pittsburgh coach Bill Cowher has led the Steelers to the playoffs three straight seasons after taking over from Chuck Noll January 21, 1992 at the age of 34. The Steelers have won two AFC Central Division titles under Cowher (1992, 1994), and last year they won 12 games for only the fourth time in team history. In doing so, he became only the sixth coach in NFL history to guide his team to the playoffs his first three seasons. Cowher was the Chiefs' defensive coordinator and linebackers coach from 1989 to '91, and he was Cleveland's special teams coach in 1985 and ë86 and secondary coach in 1987 and ë88. Cowher played in the NFL for five seasons (Cleveland 1980-82) and Philadelphia (1983-84) as a linebacker and as a special teams standout.
JACKSONVILLE-PITTSBURGH CONNECTIONS: The Steelers have five players from the state of Florida: rookie DB Lance Brown (Jacksonville, Terry Parker High), CB Alvoid Mays (Bradenton), WR Ernie Mills (Dunnellon and University of Florida), Leon Searcy (Orlando and the University of Miami), and FB John L. Williams (Palatka and the University of Florida). … Jaguars RB coach Jerald Ingram is from Beaver, Pa., and DB coach Randy Edsall, is from York, Pa. … Jaguars reserve TE Craig Keith played for the Steelers for two seasons (1993-94) and was acquired in a trade with Pittsburgh on August 26. … Jaguars LB Reggie Clark played for the Steelers in 1994. … Jaguars CB Vinnie Clark is a former Falcon teammate of Steelers PK Norm Johnson and RB Erric Pegram. … Jaguars QB Steve Beuerlein and G/OT Ben Coleman are former Cardinal teammates of Steelers CB Chris Oldham. … Steelers CB Alvoid Mays is a former Redskin teammate of Jaguars WR Desmond Howard and G Greg Huntington. … Steelers DE Ray Seals is a former Buccaneers teammate of Jaguars CB Rogerick Green.
STREAKS AND SUCH: Jaguars QB Mark Brunell will start the third game of his NFL career today. … WR Ernest Givins will be back in the lineup for Jacksonville after having missed the last two games with a hamstring injury. He had previously started 87 consecutive games dating back to 1989. … Jaguars S Darren Carrington was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week for his play in the team's 17-16 victory over the Oilers in Week 5. Carrington had 1 interception, 2 fumble recoveries and 7 tackles in making his first start of the season. … Although he has started only 2 games, Willie Jackson leads Jacksonville receivers with 15 receptions for 117 yards and 2 TD's. …
For Pittsburgh, Neil O'Donnell will start after having missed the last four games with a broken finger. He is 32-22 as the starting quarterback. … LB Chad Brown leads the AFC with 5.5 sacks. … PK Norm Johnson has converted 23 consecutive field goals inside the 40-yard line.
YOUNG UP FRONT: The Jaguars' starting offensive line is one of the youngest in the NFL, with two rookies and two other players who had never started an NFL game until this season. Here's a look at the experience of the line (LG Shawn Bouwens is out with a knee injury):
Pos. Player NFL Start Starts before '95 Year in NFL
LT Tony Boselli 2nd 0 1st
LG Jeff Novak 6th 0 2nd
C Dave Widell 56th 50 8th
RG Tom Myslinski 6th 0 3rd
RT Brian DeMarco 6th 0 1st
TODAY'S ENTERTAINMENT: The National Anthem will be sung by Cynthia Wright. The halftime entertainment will be provided by the Florida A&M ìMarching 100î Band.
NEXT WEEK: The Jaguars will host the Chicago Bears at 1:00 p.m. EDT Sunday, October 15. It will be the Jaguars' second game - and second at home - against an NFC opponent. Later in the season they will travel to Tampa Bay and Detroit.
The Steelers have an open date. They will host the Cincinnati Bengals on Thursday, October 19 in a nationally televised game.