Gators win close, Sparty falls flat in Week 3

Published 3:07 pm Tuesday, September 17, 2019

The Top 8 college football teams in the country very clearly looked like they deserved their rankings this past weekend.

Each of those teams won by at least three touchdowns. Granted, the majority of these teams’ opponents were inferior squads, but a controlled, dominant win is what I would expect.

Then there is Florida.

I don’t know how the Gators did it. Really, I don’t. Kentucky put up one of the best fights I have seen from the Wildcats in a while, but ultimately couldn’t deliver on the upset. The crowd was into it up until the dagger touchdown Florida scored while trying to run out the clock. Then the wind was sucked out of the stadium.

When Florida starting quarterback Feleipe Franks went down with a broken ankle, I was sure Kentucky would seal the deal. I haven’t been that impressed with Franks, so surely the backup must be worse, right? Not really, it turns out. Kyle Trask looks like he has infinitely more upside than Franks just in the short amount of time I have seen him play. Trask was 9-of-13 for 126 yards and a rushing touchdown, managing the game calmly all the way through to its end. The Gators blasted off 19 points in the fourth quarter and held Kentucky to 0 points.

Wild stuff. Can the Gators keep up this momentum? Against Tennessee this week at home, probably. No guarantees after that.

The big upset of the week came when Michigan State missed a field goal in the closing seconds of its game against Arizona State, losing 10-7. The Spartans’ kicker nailed a field goal just before that, but it was called off because they had 12 men on the field and they were pushed back 10 yards. This game was an absolute mess at every level. I had semi-large expectations for Michigan State this season. I thought they would at least challenge Ohio State for the Big 10 East. Now it looks like they will struggle to get their offense going against the likes of Illinois and Rutgers. But I don’t mean to take anything away from Arizona State and coach Herm Edwards. They pulled off a great win for the program. Ugly, but memorable.

Other thoughts from Week 3:

No. 25 Virginia beat unranked Florida State and rushed the field. Come on, Cavaliers, act like you’ve been there before! When the Seminoles inevitably get competitive again, they will make Virginia pay for such a poor display.

South Carolina coach Will Muschamp threw everything and the kitchen sink at Alabama in a 47-23 loss. The crazy thing is, the Gamecocks might have had a shot at knocking off the Crimson Tide if one or two calls went their way. Also, Bama running back Najee Harris has earned the highlight of the season so far: shoving, hurdling and outrunning any would-be tackler.

BYU handed the USC Trojans a silly loss in overtime. Clay Helton’s days are numbered, even more so now that Urban Meyer is dropping strange hints that he might want to coach again, with the likely target being USC.