Saturday Snaps: You get what you pay for
Snap Judgments from the Week 12 early shift. For late shift Snaps, click here. For swing shift Snaps, click here. For Stewart Mandel’s take on the BCS chaos, click here. For Andy Staples’ Nebraska-Michigan wrap, click here. To see how Top 25 teams fared, click here. For highlights from SI.com, click here.
• No. 13 Georgia 19, Kentucky 10: An uneasy afternoon for several SEC teams playing presumed gimme games began with one division very nearly folding in on itself. But now the race is over, and the Georgia Bulldogs are the sacrificial critters who will be handed over in an early December ceremony to an SEC West team that will almost surely make mincemeat of them. My Athens-educated beau has been referring to today as “2 for $20 Saturday,” with slapdash games barely qualifying as football littering the schedule.
Georgia prevailed despite problems cropping up early and often in an area that has been fraught with drama this season: the tailback position. With Richard Samuel not slated to return from injury for several weeks and Carlton Thomas missing a game for unspecified personal reasons, the first drive of the game was about the worst possible time for freshly hatched star Isaiah Crowell to leave the game. He sprained an ankle during a collision with a teammate, and did not return. For what should be obvious reasons, the ground attack didn’t really gain any traction until the second half.
Aaron Murray appeared out of sync with his receivers, and promising drives were cut short by turnovers. We can let the defense escape largely without criticism; despite allowing one monster pass from Maxwell Smith to Matt Roark and committing a couple boneheaded penalties, Todd Grantham’s boys played lights-out ball. From here, of course, it only gets harder. [RECAP | BOX]
• No. 14 South Carolina 41, Citadel 20: Carrying on the motif of Sleepin’ In Saturday, a team that might have gone to the SEC Championship Game had Georgia sleepwalked any longer found itself being played uncomfortably close by an FCS team. “Nice day for it,” come the groans from Auburn and Gainesville. Of the three, the Cocks might sheepishly boast of having acquitted themselves the best, taking a 20-13 lead into the locker room but allowing just one score in the second half, late in the fourth quarter. Making a too-rare appearance: Alshon Jeffery, who caught a 32-yard touchdown pass, one-handed, from Connor Shaw early in the fourth quarter. Jeffery’s 81 receiving yards marks his highest single-game total since Week 6. [RECAP | BOX]
• Auburn 35, Samford 16: The second set of Bulldogs the Tigers have faced in as many weeks never led, but Auburn might have hoped for a little more separation early. Samford kept it a one-possession game until early in the fourth quarter, when Clint Moseley bolted 22 yards for the first rushing score of his young career. The Tigers were gashed on the ground by Jeremiaha Gates, who recorded 119 yards on 28 carries, but returned the damage in kind largely on the legs of Michael Dyer (30 carries, 157 yards, one touchdown). [RECAP | BOX]
• No. 20 Michigan 45, No. 17 Nebraska 17: More on SI.com proper from Andy Staples, who managed to file a column on this afternoon’s game despite a press box with no power. Until then, bask in Denard Robinson’s four touchdowns and the Wolverines’ 235 rushing yards. [RECAP | BOX | HIGHLIGHTS]
• No. 12 Michigan State 55, Indiana 3: Presented without elaboration, the results of Indiana’s drives: punt from own 34, punt from own 35, punt from own 26, punt from own 26, field goal, punt from own 11, punt from own 15, interception, pick-six, punt from own 30, turnover on downs, punt from own 35, punt from own 20, time expires with Hoosiers in own territory. That offensive ineptitude paired with Michigan’s win over Nebraska secured the Legends Division title for MSU. [RECAP | BOX | HIGHLIGHTS]
• No. 15 Wisconsin 28, Illinois 17: After a scoreless first quarter, the Illini broke loose for a 17-point second quarter, including two Donovonn Young rushing touchdowns in five minutes that bracketed a Russell Wilson fumble. They would not be allowed to score again. Montee Ball finished with 224 yards and two touchdowns on 38 carries and was an indispensable factor on a day when the Badgers recorded just 285 net yards. [RECAP | BOX | HIGHLIGHTS]
• Georgia Tech 38, Duke 31: The Blue Devils played another good team close, with a late Sean Renfree interception with under three minutes on the clock stymieing what might have been a game-tying touchdown drive. [RECAP | BOX]
• Rutgers 20, Cincinnati 3: At the time of this writing, there are six teams with two conference losses in the Big East, and none with one or fewer losses. The conclusion of Louisville-UConn will drop that number to five. Much better! [RECAP | BOX]
• Florida 54, Furman 32: By now, it should be painfully clear that many teams were caught underestimating lousy opponents this week. But the Paladins were the only team that ended up paying for their pride, haHA! The Gators seemed unprepared for an overmatched opponent to run trick plays (which you never ever see the little guys do), were discombobulated on offense (a snap went over John Brantley’s head as the unit was backed into the UF endzone, resulting in a safety) and lest we forget, allowed 32 points to the fourth-place team in an FCS conference, none of them in garbage time. And here’s a fun mid-game note from Stewart Mandel, for those of you clamoring for an SEC West rematch in the national title game: “The Florida team currently losing to Furman is the third-highest rated team Alabama has beaten.” [RECAP | BOX]