Saturday Snaps III: A night redolent of ham
Snap judgments from college football’s second Saturday night. For Snaps from the early games, click here; afternoon games are here. For Andy Staples’ column on Alabama-Penn State, click here. For Stewart Mandel's Michigan-Notre Dame column, click here. For more video highlights from SI.com, click here. There; you're caught up.
• No. 24 Texas 17, BYU 16: Just a few seasons gone, designating this the most Texas-y start to a season imaginable wouldn't have been a statement of exasperation, but here we are. With just three games to work from, the sample size is painfully small, but let's try some extrapolation: BYU barely edges Ole Miss, whom we strongly suspect is terrible, in Week 1. Texas slugs to a start against Rice before putting up a respectable margin of victory. Texas then knocks off BYU by a one-point margin. So what are we seeing?
The Longhorns seemed determined to just coast on their obvious talent advantage last year, and that mindset didn't end up doing their W/L column any favors. Mack Brown vowed wholesale change and overdelivered on his promise, at least by looking at the coaching roster. And Saturday night, the Longhorns looked dogged, if scarily ineffective, on offense in the game's early stages. Credit Texas' defense for keeping them in the game while three different quarterbacks took their turns under center.
To that end: It would appear the Garrett Gilbert era has flickered out in Austin. He lasted a quarter-and-a-half before being yanked for the highly-pedigreed Case McCoy, followed by hyped newcomer David Ash. The duo pulled Texas' bacon out of the fire with their combined run-pass skillsets, and leery as we are of two-QB systems, it's difficult to argue for reverting to Gilbert in Week 3. In the most important development of the night, we did receive confirmation that McCoy and Jaxon Shipley are roommates. Remember where you were when you read this. (RECAP | BOX)
• USC 23, Utah 14: Not the fireworks that might have been expected from a Kiffin-Chow reunion, although the home crowd might not have appreciated them had they materialized. The return of oft-doghoused tailback Marc Tyler was warmly welcomed by USC's stat sheet; his 24 carries tripled the touches of the next closest running back, and his first-quarter touchdown widened a scoring gap the Utes would find impossible to close.
Parting bonus factoids: In a lot of outlets tonight, you'll see USC's score listed as 17, but fear not: Torin Harris' last-second blocked field goal return will stand in the record books, after some deliberation. Tyler's run marked the Trojans' first rushing touchdown of the season. And Lane Kiffin is apparently the Gene Chizik of the West. (RECAP | BOX)
• Michigan 35, Notre Dame 31: Check my math on that one; I've looked twice and I watched the whole thing and I'm still not totally sure who won. When, for the second time today, three touchdowns are scored in the span of two minutes, losing one's place in the box score becomes forgivable. Much more on this late-night delight that's destined for cult-favoritism from man-on-the-scene Stewart Mandel, but for now, just take a moment to savor the outhouse-rat stat lines, the amazingly lifelike crowd in the Big House, and the sublime comedy of attempting to crowbar a Denard Robinson-shaped peg into a pure passer-shaped hole. I laughed. I cried. It was better than Cats. (RECAP | BOX)
• No. 5 Florida State 62, Charleston Southern 10: The Seminoles' offensive output puttered disappointingly from 17 points per quarter in the first half to a mere 14 points per quarter in the second half. Really hated to see FSU just give up on itself like that; I really thought those kids were gonna go far. (RECAP | BOX | HIGHLIGHTS)
• No. 10 Nebraska 42, Fresno State 29: Don't let a 21-point quarter fool you into thinking that a popular projected Big Ten champ team wasn't trailing at halftime, at home, to a WAC team, because they totally were. (RECAP | BOX | HIGHLIGHTS)
• No. 18 Florida 39, UAB 0: The Gators' first five scores consisted of three field goals, a three-yard rush, and a safety. Still absolutely no clue what they'll look like next week opening SEC play. (RECAP | BOX | HIGHLIGHTS)
• Georgia Tech 49, Middle Tennessee State 21: The alarm of seeing the Jackets roll up 203 passing yards is somewhat ameliorated by their 401 yards of rushing offense. Order is restored.
• SMU 28, UTEP 17: Blew this upset pick. But I was close, consarnit. And so was UTEP, before the Miners fumbled down four points with less than three minutes to play.
• UCF 30, Boston College 3: The box score proclaims a miserable 141 total yards of offense and two turnovers for the Eagles. That Groupon deal for next week's Duke game is looking better all the time. • Washington State 59, UNLV 7: Sing to me, O Muse, of the Wazzu team that lost its starting quarterback on the fifth play of its first game and has since gone on to score 123 points.