October 08, 2011
Somehow, college football made it through the entire month of September without a peep from the NCAA's finger-wagging new unsportsmanlike conduct rule. And when it finally did rear its head today, where did its disapproving gaze land? On LSU's punter, of course:
Thus does Brad Wing, a redshirt freshman originally from Melbourne, Australia, become the first player in a nationally televised game to have a touchdown stripped from the books for an in-play personal foul, thanks to the brief "What do you think of this?" gesture he flashes trailing Florida defenders around the 10-yard line. Instead of the six, LSU took over with set of downs at the Florida 23 and eventually had to settle for a Drew Alleman field goal that extended the LSU lead to 17-0 at the start of the second quarter. America's children are safe.
If you're splitting hairs, Wing is the second player victimized by the rule, following USC's Torin Harris, who had a touchdown against Utah temporarily expunged after the Trojan bench erupted as Harris took in a blocked field goal for an unexpected (though ultimately meaningless) six points on the final play of a 23-14 win over Utah. The points in that case were later restored by the Pac-12, though, because the flag wasn't thrown against Harris.
No such luck this time for Wing, who can at least take consolation in the fact that LSU wasn't sweating the four-point swing. The Tigers dominated as expected, outgaining the undermanned, overmatched Gators by 240 yards en route to a 41-11 rout, their most thoroughly dominant win of the season. One person who did sweat it: Florida head coach Will Muschamp, who said after the game that the Gators had two players assigned to the punter on the fake — two players who "didn't do their job" and "won't play in our program." Which only goes to prove, you can throw all the flags you want, but you can't fool anyone into thinking the guy running into the end zone is the one who made the real mistake.
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