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Inside the Boxscores, Week 3 Part 1

   by Matt Fargo - 09/18/2007

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.

(5) West Virginia 31 MARYLAND 14

West Virginia racked up 353 yards rushing on 48 carries (7.4 ypc) while the Mountaineers defense held the Terrapins to 89 yards rushing 39 carries (2.3 ypc). The Mountaineers took a commanding 31-7 lead with just under 11 minutes remaining but Maryland drove 91 yards in 4:49 to cut the lead to 17 points which was right around the cover line. The Terrapins recovered the onsides kick but went four and out.


TCU pulled ahead 17-3 early in the fourth quarter before the Falcons made a charge. Air Force stopped the Horned Frogs on 4th down at the 28-yard line and then drove 72 yards to pull within a touchdown. The Falcons then forced a punt and tied the game on a 71-yard run. TCU had a chance in regulation but was intercepted at the Air Force 22-yard line. The Horned Frogs won the yardage battle 409-339 but were hurt by three turnovers.

TROY 41 Oklahoma State 23

Troy pulled off another huge home upset over a Big XII team by putting up 562 yards of offense including 388 through the air. It was a wire-to-wire cover as the line was never a factor. The Trojans built a 41-10 before two garbage 4th quarter touchdowns by the Cowboys. Oklahoma St. finished with 432 total yards but 190 of those came in the final period. The Cowboys had five turnovers which led to 14 Troy points.

Eastern Michigan 21 NORTHERN ILLINOIS 19

Northern Illinois scored on its first three possessions to build an early 13-0 lead and an early cover but the offense shut down as it gained just 57 yards in their next seven possessions. The Eagles rallied with the next three scores to take the lead and Northern Illinois could have tied the game with 4:20 left but failed on the two-point conversion. Eastern Michigan missed two 2nd half field goals which would have iced the game.

(10) PENN STATE 45 Buffalo 24

The Bulls outgained Penn St. 395-393 but most of those yards came in garbage time. Buffalo took a 3-0 lead and held that lead for the first 23 minutes of the game. Penn St. tied the game with a field goal and then ran off 28 additional points to pull away. 202 of Buffalo’s 395 yards came on its last three possessions when it scored three touchdowns. Penn St.’s largest lead was 28 points, never putting the 32.5-point line in jeopardy.

PURDUE 45 Central Michigan 22

Purdue jumped ahead 38-0 before the Chippewas rallied to cut the deficit to 16 points early in the 4th quarter. The Boilermakers then scored with 9:07 left and stopped Central Michigan three times at their end of the field to secure the frontdoor cover. Purdue put up 583 yards of offense and the score could have been much worse but it committed five turnovers which led to 14 points and killed two other scoring drives.

Virginia 22 NORTH CAROLINA 20

Virginia scored first and never relinquished the lead although a 16-0 lead was almost lost as North Carolina scored a touchdown with 1:57 left but failed on the two-point conversion. The Tar Heels finished -3 in turnovers and all three of those miscues occurred in Virginia territory. The Cavaliers, despite getting outgained 399-350 won the time of possession by over 18 more minutes and covered the game from start to finish.

MICHIGAN STATE 17 Pittsburgh 13

It was a frustrating day for Michigan St. backers as the Spartans missed on several scoring opportunities. They had five possessions that ended in Pittsburgh territory but resulted in no points. All three of the Spartans scores came by way of Panthers turnovers. Pittsburgh finished with only 85 yards through the air and the 11 points it was getting was never covered by the Spartans. The teams combined for 21 penalties.

INDIANA 41 Akron 24

Indiana outgained the Zips 475-370 but needed two late touchdowns to pull away including the final score with 2:43 remaining that gave the Hoosiers the frontdoor cover. Indiana finished with 338 yards rushing on 49 carries (6.9 ypc) and it crossed over into Akron territory in 11 of its 12 possessions. The Zips had a chance to backdoor but was intercepted at the Indiana 26-yard line with 21 seconds remaining.

Cincinnati 47 MIAMI-OHIO 10

There was no letdown for Cincinnati as the defense was the story once again. The Bearcats forced four turnovers, a turnover on downs and scored on a safety. Miami Ohio fumbled on its first play of the game and Cincinnati responded with a touchdown 10 plays later and the safety six minutes after that gave the Bearcats the cover they never gave back. The RedHawks finished with only 56 yards rushing on 24 carries (2.3 ypc.).

CONNECTICUT 22 Temple 17

This game was closer than expected as the 31.5 points never came into play. Connecticut never led by more than a touchdown while Temple took a one-point lead late in the 3rd quarter. The Huskies responded with a touchdown drive to regain the lead and then the defense tightened the rest of the way. The Owls put together a 61-yard drive but failed on a 4th down attempt with 40 seconds left at the Huskies 11-yard line.

Illinois 41 SYRACUSE 20

Illinois outgained the Orange 508-226 as it jumped out to a 17-0 lead before Syracuse tried to make a comeback. The Orange pulled to within 10 points midway through the third quarter and were covering by a point but Illinois then ran off the next 21 points to pull away. Syracuse’s last two scores came late in the 4th quarter. Illinois won the rushing battle by a whopping 378 to 63, gaining 7.4 ypc compared to the Orange’s 1.9 ypc.

Mississippi State 19 AUBURN 14

Auburn was upset as home for the second straight week as Mississippi St. didn’t even need the 13 points it was getting. The Tigers outgained the Bulldogs 323-213 as the defense played outstanding but the offense turned it over five times which led to 16 Mississippi St. points. The Bulldogs used an interception late to set up the winning drive. Auburn drove to the Bulldogs 12-yard line but failed on 4th down with 48 seconds left.

FLORIDA ATLANTIC 42 Minnesota 39

Florida Atlantic piled up 580 yards of offense and never trailed in this game as it easily picked up the start to finish underdog cover. The Gophers hurt themselves with seven turnovers which led to three Owls touchdowns. Five of those miscues occurred in Florida Atlantic territory including a fumble at the one-yard line. Minnesota had a last chance drive to tie but an interception with three seconds left ended the game.

IOWA STATE 15 Iowa 13

Iowa St. scored on its first four possessions of the game but all four scores were field goals. The Hawkeyes then rallied in the second half to take a one-point lead with 3:38 remaining but Iowa St. drove 56 yards on the next possession to kick the game winning field goal with one second remaining. A missed field goal by Iowa midway through the 4th quarter ended up costly. The 17.5 points the Cyclones received never came into play.

(17) VIRGINIA TECH 28 Ohio U 7

Ohio jumped out to a 7-0 lead early in the second quarter thanks to a fumble recovery but the offense could get nothing going. The Bobcats finished with 114 total yards including 38 yards rushing on 36 carries (1.1 ypc). Virginia Tech tallied 473 yards of offense but couldn’t muster enough points to cover the 22.5 points. The Hokies had four different drives that netted 43 or more yards but resulted in no points.

(25) MISSOURI 52 Western Michigan 24

Missouri racked up 619 yards of offense but the Broncos wouldn’t go away as they pulled to within 14 points early in the 4th quarter. The Tigers then scored on offense and stopped Western Michigan at the six-yard line then drove 94 yards to pull away and grab the cover. The Broncos were just 3 for 17 on third down and failed on two of four possessions inside the redzone.

Texas Tech 59 RICE 24

Texas Tech outgained the Owls 592-311 but Rice was still in the game early on as it pulled to within four points midway through the 2nd quarter. The Red Raiders then ran off the next 35 points to complete the rout and get the road cover. Texas Tech pulled away easily despite piling up 16 penalties for 183 yards. Rice had only one less first down but seven of those 25 came by way of penalty.

(4) OKLAHOMA 54 Utah State 3

Oklahoma dominated the Aggies by outgaining them in total yards 617-183 including putting up 343 rushing yards on 39 carries (8.8 ypc). The Sooners scored on nine of their first 11 possessions while the defense allowed only one drive of more than 22 yards. Utah St. had one last shot as it got down to the Oklahoma 36-yard line but fumbled which prevented a backdoor cover as the Sooners covered the 47.5-point line.

(7) Texas 35 U-C-F 32

Texas was involved in its third straight tough game as it had to rally from a 4th quarter deficit to pull out the win. The Longhorns outgained the Golden Knights 488-326 but three turnovers led to 14 points. Texas took a five-point lead, recovered a fumble three plays later and scored a touchdown on its next offensive play to ice the game. A 13-point lead in the 3rd quarter was as close as Texas came to covering the 17-point line.

(8) Ohio State 33 WASHINGTON 14

Washington held the Ohio St. offense in check for the first half as it took a four-point lead into the break but the Buckeyes came out in the second half by scoring the first 24 points to pull away. Ohio St. easily covered the number thanks to 263 yards rushing on 46 carries (5.7 ypc) while the defense forced four Huskies turnovers. Washington finished just 1-3 inside the redzone.

(3) FLORIDA 59 Tennessee 20

Florida outgained the Volunteers 554-298 but the outcome was still undecided midway through the third quarter after Tennessee returned an interception 96 yards to pull within eight points. However, it was all Gators the rest of the way as they scored the final 31 points and outgained Tennessee 267-62 over that stretch while also returning a fumble for a touchdown. The Volunteers finished with only 37 yards rushing on 21 carries (1.8 ypc).

MIAMI-FLORIDA 23 Florida International 9

This was a big sandwich game for the Hurricanes coming off Oklahoma and with Texas A&M on deck but the defense played its part holding the Golden Panthers to 134 total yards and three points through the first three quarters but failing to cover the 32-point line. The offense stalled several times however, missing a chip shot field goal and throwing interceptions at the Florida International 22-yard line and 15-yard line.

WAKE FOREST 21 Army 10

Wake Forest pulled out the victory despite getting outgained 256-213. The Demon Deacons scored only one offensive touchdown as the other two scores came on a punt return in the first quarter and an interception return in the second quarter. Army committed two turnovers in Wake forest territory but its one touchdown was enough to cover the 20-point line.

MICHIGAN 38 Notre Dame 0

Notre Dame was held in check on offense for the third straight game as it gained only 79 total yards and crossed midfield just twice the entire game. 21 of Michigan’s first 24 points came off three Irish turnovers as it built 24-0 lead early in the second quarter and never looked back, easily covering the 9.5-point line. Michigan rushed for 289 yards but did mange only 90 yards through the air thanks to a 61-16 rush/pass play disparity.

UTAH 44 U-C-L-A 6

Utah scored a touchdown on its opening possession and then scored the final 37 points of the game to complete the rout. Despite the 38-point win, the Utes outgained UCLA by just 13 total yards but the Bruins were hurt by five turnovers, leading to 24 Utah points. The Utes managed only 168 total yards in the second half but scored 30 points and covered the spread by a whopping 53 points.

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