I was just thinking the same thing. Sites full of pages with exact match keyword terms but little variance might be receiving extra scrutiny. You can't penalize them all because some really good sites had an SEO that took that rout but good content gets other signals, social signals etc. Go exact match? Better have gumption to back it up with!
I can confirm that DESCRIPTION restructuring by Google is not guaranteed, at least not right away. I found several examples of keyword based titles showing up top 10 in serps where one of the two had it's description re-written but the other did not. Both had their titles repeated as descriptions on site. I don't know if it takes age or pagerank or something else entirely to receive special title/description treatment, time for more testing.
edit: in the end just make the best site you can, good content will always float, right?