Snap Judgments from Saturday’s afternoon slate. For more from SI.com check out our early and late Snaps, plus our game coverage of Alabama-Michigan, Auburn-Clemson, Ohio-Penn State, South Carolina-Vanderbilt, Washington State-BYU, NC State-Tennessee and Boise State-Michigan State and our full Top 25 review.
• No. 23 Florida 27, Bowling Green 14. Whatever else happens, today will always be the day we saw a MAC player do a chomping throat slash in the Swamp. A couple more breaks and slightly better all-around play (two missed field goals will loom large in the minds of the Falcons), and Bowling Green, on the road, could’ve beaten the Florida Gators. Whether this is “the year” of any conference remains very much to be seen, but this Saturday was a fun one for fans of the MAC.
Five more elements that most perfectly symbolize this afternoon’s action:
1. Florida getting hit with 13 penalties for a total loss of 101 yards.
2. The faked punt that set up the Falcons’ touchdown drive, with Bowling Green’s punter running for a first down and a late hit penalty on Florida tacking on an additional 15 yards.
3. Two Bowling Green players colliding, Three Stooges-style, in midair.
4. The Gators getting a false start penalty in the victory formation.
Crowd boos a cop for stabbing a beach ball.
— Alligator Army (@AlligatorArmy) September 1, 2012
We could fill another entire blog post with indignant reactions that followed the announcement that Jacoby Brissett and Jeff Driskel would be co-starters at quarterback for Florida. With both in the first huddle, fear spiked that Muschamp meant they would start at quarterback simultaneously, but Brissett lined up at quarterback on first down, and Driskel settled in at receiver. On the next play, Driskel took over under center, and, as previously promised by Muschamp, they alternated the first two quarters — sort of. Driskel played the rest of the first quarter and was allowed to complete his already in-progress drive that ate up more than five minutes of the second quarter, culminating in the Gators’ first touchdown of the afternoon, a 15-yard run by Mike Gillislee. Brissett took over for the remainder of the half, and Driskel played the entire second half.
Our dad was visiting today, and theorized that Florida’s lines, or perhaps Muschamp himself, were easily distracted by laser pointers. He also hypothesized that some enterprising visitor in the stands had figured this out. It’s not the worst theory we’ve ever heard. The Falcons led once in the first quarter and tied the game again in the third. And while the final score was semi-respectable, reactions from our Gator buddies regarding what it took to get there ranged from white-hot rage to bleak despair. [BOX | RECAP]
• Nevada 31, Cal 24. Welcome back to freshly renovated Memorial Stadium, everybody! Please enjoy this loss to the Mountain West! In today’s second high-profile instance of Mid-Majors Doin’ It For Themselves, we present a Cal defense that allowed an average of 129 rushing yards per game in 2011 surrendering 149 yards and three touchdowns to Nevada’s Stefphon Jefferson alone. Quarterback Cody Fajardo was right behind him with 20 carries for 99 yards and a score. All told, the ‘Pack rolled up 477 yards of total offense, balanced at 247 rushing and 230 passing. Five thoughts from today’s Berkeley bust:
1. Nevada converted 12-of-19 third downs, as opposed to Cal’s meager 2-of-12.
2. How much worse could this have been had Nevada not also tacked on 11 penalties for 109 yards?
3. Favorite stat: There were seven fumbles between the two teams, only two of which were lost, one apiece.
4. This is two wins over Cal for Nevada in three years.
5. Lord have mercy, whatever this was:
And … Cal inexplicably tries to lateral the kickoff return, fumbles, Nevada returns for TD .. but didn’t count.
— Stewart Mandel (@slmandel) September 1, 2012
• No. 17 Nebraska 49, Southern Miss 20.The Golden Eagles repeatedly threatened, but they never came closer than tying in the first half. And in the second half, Nebraska pulled away entirely. Bad news for Husker fans, however: Rex Burkhead racked up 68 yards and a touchdown on three carries, then had to leave the game with a left MCL sprain. Better news: Taylor Martinez’s passing arm has eaten whatever the corn version of Wheaties is. He had a career day with 354 passing yards and five touchdown throws. [BOX | RECAP]
• No. 12 Wisconsin 26, Northern Iowa 21. NEAT FACT! Northern Iowa finished second in the Missouri Valley Conference in 2011! Neat! Said Bret Bielema after the game: “‘You’ve got to touch a hot stove once. Once you get burned, you’re not going to do it again.” He probably knows this from actual experience. Read more in the recap. [BOX | RECAP]