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Bad Beats

   by Ben Burns - 10/05/2009


For something worth one point, PAT’s sure do screw things up.

No one knows that more than bettors who played the Kansas State-Iowa State game or the total in Auburn-Tennessee.

Last season, teams converted extra points better than 95 percent of the time. Thirty-five teams did not miss an extra point all season, and only one team, North Texas, converted on less than 85 percent.

At less than 20 yards, extra points are extremely difficult to block. Kickers can simply boot it as high as they want and not worry about being short.

Someone needs to relay that message to Iowa State kicker Grant Mahoney and Tennessee kicker Daniel Lincoln.

Mahoney had a potential tying PAT blocked with 32 seconds left against Kansas State. The Cyclones, who were around 2.5-point favorites, scored on a 23-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Austen Arnaud to Jake Williams on 4th and 5.

Overtime seemed imminent. But Kansas State’s 6-4 defensive back Emmanuel Lamur leaped up and got his right hand on Mahoney’s PAT attempt, ending Iowa State bettors’ hopes of an overtime cover.

Over in Knoxville, the total on the SEC showdown between Auburn and Tennessee had opened around 51.5, but was bet down to 49 by kickoff.

That late money looked spot on. Tennessee’s offense was inept, but the Vols’ defense was strong enough to at least slow down Auburn’s high-powered attack. Auburn was held to field goals in three of its first four trips into the red zone.

The over never looked like the right side, but over players were given a little bit of hope when Tennessee scored a touchdown right before halftime. Unfortunately, Lincoln’s PAT was blocked, and Auburn took a 13-6 lead into halftime.

The third quarter passed with only one Auburn field goal. Over players needed a major fourth-quarter flurry to have any chance.

They got it. Auburn and Tennessee each scored touchdowns in the first four minutes of the fourth quarter to make the score 23-13 with 11:36 to play. Two touchdowns, with successful extra points, was all an over player needed to cash now.

After a Tennessee field goal cut the Tigers lead to seven, Auburn looked to put the game away with a clinching drive. They sucked up nearly four minutes of the clock and had first-and-goal from the Tennessee five.

Knowing a field goal would ice the win, the Tigers took their time and kept the ball on the ground. They ended up settling for the field goal with 42 seconds remaining.

With the score 26-16, over players that got the total at 49 could still salvage a push if Tennessee was able to put together a meaningless scoring drive. But the way the Vols’ offense had looked, that seemed unlikely.

Aided by a roughing the passer penalty, Tennessee managed to move the back quickly into Auburn territory. On the last play of the game, quarterback Jonathan Crompton hooked up with Denarius Moore on a 32-yard touchdown. The extra point would gift over players a push.

But in college football, extra points are not attempted on a score that comes after time has expired if it would not affect the outcome of the game. Final score: Auburn 26, Tennessee 22.

In the NFL, extra points are required after every touchdown, even if time has run out in the fourth quarter, due to the playoff tiebreaker scenarios. Extra points are not attempted in NFL overtime.

Condolences to anyone who had Ball State +5 against Toledo. The Rockets converted two two-point conversions in the fourth quarter, including one with 27 seconds to play to secure a 37-30 win over Ball State.

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