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Inside the Boxscores
by Matt Fargo - 10/01/2008
Inside the Boxscores is a weekly feature from Matt Fargo that has been widely recognized as one of the best summations in college football. He takes an in-depth look at each game and pulls out the most pertinent information that will help you handicap games in the future. College football is filled with quirky plays, misleading scores and surprise endings. Fargo takes you inside the action.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
TULANE 34 S-M-U 27
Tulane jumped ahead 31-7 at halftime but had to hold off a fierce SUM rally. The Mustangs pulled to within a touchdown with 2:03 remaining and instead of going for an onsides kick, they kicked away and the Green Wave were able to run out the clock to end the game. Tulane outgained the Mustangs 474-311 and controlled the clock for more than 16 more minutes but was guilty of 10 penalties for 105 yards.
OREGON STATE 27 (9) U-S-C 21
The first big upset of the weekend took place in Corvallis as Oregon St. jumped ahead 21-0 at the break and was able to hold off USC. The Beavers outgained USC 229-70 in the first half but the Trojans returned the favor in the second half but was not able to come back. USC had the ball late in the fourth quarter down a touchdown but tossed an interception that Oregon St. turned into a touchdown to put the game away.
Friday, September 26, 2008
(24) Connecticut 26 LOUISVILLE 21
Louisville dominated the Huskies as it outgained them 508-279 but three turnovers and two failed fourth down attempts did it in. The Cardinals had a comfortable 11-point lead early in the fourth quarter but Connecticut came back to pull within a point. Six plays later, the Huskies picked off a pass and returned it for a touchdown. Louisville got the ball back twice but failed to convert.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
BALL STATE 41 Kent State 20
Ball St. only outgained the Golden Flashes 423-353 but took advantage of superior field position all day. The Cardinals scored on seven of their first eight possessions and all nine of their possessions ended in Kent St. territory. The Golden Flashes moved inside the Ball St. 40-yard line on their first two possessions but turned it over on downs and missed a field goal. The Cardinals finished 11-16 on third and fourth down.
Maryland 20 CLEMSON 17
The Terrapins sprung another upset despite getting outgained 372-295 and finishing with only 11 first downs. Clemson took a 17-6 lead into halftime but the offense could not do anything in five second half possessions. The Tigers punted their first four times and turned it over at the Maryland 40-yard line on fourth down in their last drive. Maryland was able to run out the final 5:36 of the game following that.
DUKE 31 Virginia 3
This was a close game for a half as Duke and Virginia were tied 3-3 but the Blue Devils scored 28 unanswered second half points. The Cavaliers actually won the yardage battle 304-258 but lost the turnover battle 6-2. Those six turnovers led to 21 points for Duke which included a 42-yard interception return for a touchdown. Virginia committed five of those turnovers in a six-possession span in the second half.
Northern Ill 37 EASTERN MICH 0
Northern Illinois won on the road in a blowout despite outgaining the Eagles by only 80 total yards. Eastern Michigan was able to move the ball as it got inside the Huskies 40-yard line on five different occasions but came away with no points as it missed a field goal and turned it over on fourth down on the other four possessions. The Huskies rushed for 235 yards on 43 carries (5.5 ypc).
Michigan State 42 INDIANA 29
Michigan St. won its fourth straight game as the defense was able to finish strong late in the game. The Hoosiers pulled to within five points early in the third quarter on a 79-yard touchdown pass but they were able to generate 105 yards of offense the rest of the way. Indian lost the turnover battle 3-0 and those miscues led to 10 points for the Spartans. Both teams finished 4-14 on third down.
North Carolina 28 MIAMI-FLORIDA 24
Miami built a 10-point lead midway through the fourth quarter but the Tar Heels used two long drives to score touchdowns including the game winner with just 46 seconds remaining. The Hurricanes did have one last chance as they got down to the North Carolina 20-yard line but they tossed an interception on the final play. Miami held the Tar Heels to 35 yards rushing on 33 carries (1.1 ypc).
(14) OHIO STATE 34 Minnesota 21
Ohio St. dominated early as it built a 34-6 lead early in the fourth quarter before the Gophers tacked on two late touchdowns to make he final score more respectable. The Buckeyes outgained Minnesota 414-268 and they finished with 279 yards rushing on 37 carries (7.5 ypc). Through its first nine possessions, Minnesota had only one drive longer than 23 yards and its three turnovers led to 17 Ohio St. points.
Pittsburgh 34 SYRACUSE 24
Syracuse was able to take an 11-point lead early in the third quarter before the Panthers scored the final 21 points to pull away. Pittsburgh struck first with a field goal but the Orange returned the ensuing kickoff 90 yards for a touchdown. The Panthers outgained Syracuse 407-263 and held the Orange to just 12 first downs. Pittsburgh finished 11-18 on third down while controlling the clock for over 16 more minutes.
Northwestern 22 IOWA 17
Northwestern remained undefeated despite getting outgained by the Hawkeyes 407-390. Northwestern scored the only two touchdowns of the second half as Iowa hurt itself with mistakes and missed opportunities. The Hawkeyes had two second half fumbles, one at the Wildcats 38-yard line and it also missed a fourth down attempt at the eight-yard line with just 1:08 remaining. In total, the Hawkeyes turned it over five times.
Ole Miss 31 (12) FLORIDA 30
The second biggest upset of the weekend was decided on a blocked extra point. Florida outgained the Rebels 443-325 and had a 24-10 first down advantage but it had three costly fumbles that resulted in 10 points. The Gators also failed on fourth down on their first and last possessions, both ending at the Mississippi 31-yard line. Florida finished just 1-11 on third down.
TEXAS A&M 21 Army 17
Texas A&M jumped ahead 21-7 early in the fourth quarter but had to hold on as the Black Knights tried to rally. Army pulled to within four points and got the ball back once again but failed to convert on fourth down at midfield with 3:58 remaining and the Aggies were able to run out the rest of the clock. Army finished with 280 yards rushing and only four yards passing.
MEMPHIS 29 Arkansas State 17
Arkansas St. kicked a field goal with 18 second remaining in the first half to take a one-point lead into the break but the Memphis defense took over in the second half. Memphis shut out the Red Wolves over the final 30 minutes while forcing two critical turnovers. The Tigers outgained Arkansas St. 453-352 and they were very balanced with 210 yards passing and 243 yards rushing on 41 carries (5.9 ypc).
Western Mich 7 TEMPLE 3
Temple jumped ahead 3-0 after its opening possession but the Broncos shut it down the rest of the way. The Owls gained only 159 total yards after that scoring drive but they did have missed opportunities. Temple got into Western Michigan territory on six of its last nine possessions but missed two field goals and turned it over on downs as well. The Broncos amassed 288 total yards but crossed midfield only three times.
Cincinnati 17 AKRON 15
It was a back and forth game with points being a premium. Cincinnati actually gained 426 yards on offense but turned it over on downs twice in the first half, once at the Akron one-yard line. The Zips took a one-point lead early in the fourth quarter on a short touchdown drive that was set up by a fumble. Akron then missed a field goal on its next possession. The Zips finished with 358 total yards.
(13) AUBURN 14 Tennessee 12
The Auburn defense put on a great display once again as it held the Volunteers to just 191 total yards and nine first downs. Tennessee scored early in the fourth quarter to pull within two points but failed on its two-point attempt to tie the game. The offense got the ball back four more times but mustered only 12 total yards on 12 plays. The Tigers offense wasnâ€™t much better, finishing with only 226 total yards.
Houston 41 EAST CAROLINA 24
Houston tore apart the Pirates defense as it racked up 621 total yards and the score could have been a lot worse but the Cougars turned the ball over four times and missed two field goals. East Carolina tied the game early on an 11-yard interception return but it was never able to take a lead. The Pirates finished with only 275 total yards and 13 first downs as they went 1-13 on third down.
FLORIDA STATE 39 Colorado 21
Florida St. bounced back as it outgained the Buffaloes 378-278. Colorado was able to pull within 11 points early in the fourth quarter but the Seminoles took the ensuing kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown. The Buffaloes pushed it in the endzone on its next drive but Florida St. answered right back to ice the game. The Seminoles hurt themselves with 12 penalties totaling 110 yards.
MICHIGAN 27 (18) Wisconsin 25
Michigan spotted the Badgers a 19-0 lead at halftime before making a huge comeback in the second half to pull out the improbable win. The Wolverines punted on their first possession of the second half but then scored touchdowns on three of their next four possessions as well as returning an interception 25 yards for a score. The Badgers outgained Michigan 384-268 but turned it over four times.
NOTRE DAME 38 Purdue 21
Notre Dame improved to 3-1 with a 17-point win despite outgaining the Boilermakers by just 14 total yards 476-462. The Irish fell behind 7-0 but picked off a pass and returned it 47 yards to tie the game. Purdue was able to get the lead back but Notre Dame ran off 21 unanswered points and never gave the lead back. Notre Dame controlled the clock for 11 more minutes and both teams finished 6-14 on third down.
(5) TEXAS 52 Arkansas 10
Texas outgained the Razorbacks 421-191 and it scored on seven of its first eight possessions to run away with it early. Arkansas was able to get inside the Texas 30-yard line on three of its first five possessions but came away with only one field goal. The Razorbacks scored their only touchdown on an 80-yard fumble return with just over two minutes left in the game.
(22) Fresno State 36 U-C-L-A 31
Fresno St. scored first on a 63-yard punt return and after UCLA pulled to within a point midway through the third quarter, it scored touchdowns on back-to-back possessions to build a bigger lead but the Bruins were not done. After pulling to within five points early in the fourth quarter, UCLA got down to the Bulldogs 10-yard line before fumbling with 8:55 remaining. Fresno St. was then able to run out the clock to preserve the win.