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Inside the Boxscores, Week 5, Part 1

   by Matt Fargo - 10/02/2007

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.

ARKANSAS STATE 35 Memphis 31

In what looked like an easy win for the Tigers turned into a nightmare. Memphis pulled ahead 31-6 at the break following an 88-yard fumble return for a touchdown but the Indians stormed back. They returned a punt for a touchdown midway through the 3rd quarter and then scored the game’s final three touchdowns to pull off the improbable win. Despite gaining only 80 yards in the 2nd half, Memphis got the two-point cover.

BOISE STATE 38 Southern Miss 16

Boise St. racked up 506 yards of offense as it scored touchdowns on its first two possessions and was never threatened by the Golden Eagles. Southern Mississippi put a small run together as it scored the final touchdown of the first half and scored again to open the second half to pull within 12 points but the Broncos shut it down the rest of the way. Boise St. scored the final 10 points to get the cover.

(6) SO FLORIDA 21 (13) West Virginia 13

West Virginia outgained the Bulls 437-274 but turnovers and injuries were the differences in the upset. South Florida forced six turnovers including an interception for a touchdown to open the scoring. Four of the turnovers by the Mountaineers occurred in Bulls territory while South Florida didn’t do itself any favors by committing four miscues of its own. The Bulls easily covered as a touchdown underdog.

ILLINOIS 27 Penn State 20

Penn St. started the scoring with a field goal but the Illini returned the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown and never relinquished the lead while easily covering. The Nittany Lions finished with four turnovers which led to 10 Illinois points while two miscues took place inside the Illini 25-yard line. The Nittany Lions won the yardage battle 427-336 but had three interceptions and a turnover on downs in their final four possessions.

Michigan 28 NORTHWESTERN 16

Northwestern outgained the Wolverines 417-380 and took a 16-7 lead into halftime but the offense was shutout in the second half thanks to four turnovers on its final four possessions. Two of those led to Michigan touchdowns that covered only 42 combined yards. The Wildcats crossed midfield only twice in the second half but they were still able to bring home the cash by 4.5 points.

(1) L-S-U 34 TULANE 9

Tulane held tough for the first 36 minutes before the Tigers pulled away in the second half. The Green Wave fumbled on their third play of the game which led to a short field goal attempt that was missed by LSU and the defense allowed only 89 total yards in the first half. The offense mustered only 227 total yards however including 88 yards rushing on 33 carries (2.7 ypc). The 41-point spread was never in jeopardy.


Miami jumped ahead 10-0 in the first quarter after two possessions but Duke pulled to within three points on two different occasions including midway through the fourth quarter. Two possessions were costly however as the Blue Devils fumbled at the Miami 17-yard line in their first possession of the third quarter and then turned it over on downs at the Miami 40-yard line late in the fourth. Duke easily cashed the +24-point ticket.

(15) VIRGINIA TECH 17 North Carolina 10

North Carolina dropped its 4th straight game but this one was in its grasp. The Tar Heels outgained the Hokies 306-241 but two costly turnovers proved to be the difference. They started the second half with a fumble in the Virginia Tech endzone which resulted in a touchback and then tossed an interception on its next possession that led to a touchdown. The Tar Heels scored after but it was too late for the win although they covered easily.

(23) PURDUE 33 Notre Dame 19

Notre Dame moved to 0-5 but did cover for the first time this year. The Irish had their best offensive game of the season as they outgained Purdue 426-371 but they missed a field goal, threw an interception inside the redzone and turned it over on fourth down twice in Boilermakers territory. Notre Dame pulled to within a touchdown midway through the fourth quarter but the Boilermakers matched it on their next possession.


Connecticut outgained the Zips 465-251 but Akron was able to hang around for the first half. The Zips took the lead late in the second quarter but the Huskies returned the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown to start a 35-0 run. The Zips had a chance to respond at the end of the first half but they were stopped at the five-yard line to end the half. Connecticut easily covered the 14.5 points as it held Akron to 66 yards in the second half.

BALL STATE 49 Buffalo 14

Ball St. did not let down after the near miss at Nebraska as it racked up 507 yards of offense while holding Buffalo to just 219 total yards. This included 274 yards rushing on 48 carries (5.7 ypc) as the Cardinals jumped out to a 35-0 lead and never looked back. 159 of the Bulls 219 yards came after the 5th Cardinals touchdown and Ball St. easily covered the two-touchdown spread.

CENTRAL MICH 35 Northern Ill 10

Northern Illinois actually outgained the Chippewas 521-381 but it committed six turnovers, two of which led to 14 points while Central Michigan also returned a kickoff back for a touchdown. The Huskies threw interceptions on four of their final five possessions all of which took place in Central Michigan territory. The Chippewas managed only 76 yards in the second half but still covered by 22 points.

Indiana 38 IOWA 20

Indiana jumped out to a 21-0 lead as the defense kept the Hawkeyes in check through the first half by allowing only 59 total yards. Iowa responded with a stronger second half with three long touchdown drives but it was too late as the lead was too much to overcome. Iowa outgained the Hoosiers 428-395 but three turnovers and nine penalties did not help its cause. Indiana was getting 8.5 points which it certainly didn’t even need.

ARMY 37 Temple 21

Temple remained winless as it dominated the game by outgaining Army 463-330 but there were too many mistakes. The Owls turned in over five times which led to 14 points while the special teams gave up both a punt and a kickoff return for touchdowns, the latter opening the game. Still, it was tied at the half but the Owls had three turnovers and gave it up on downs twice in the second half, resulting in an easy cover for Army.

TEXAS A&M 34 Baylor 10

This game was actually closer than the Aggies had hoped as they outgained Baylor 552-254 but still only had a 10-point lead early in the fourth quarter. Texas A&M did respond with the final two touchdowns but the score should have been much worse. The Aggies missed three field goals while also throwing an interception in their own territory that set up a Bears field goal. The last Aggies score provided the frontdoor cover.

(11) SO CAROLINA 38 Miss State 21

Mississippi St. had control of this game as it had a four-point lead midway through the third quarter but the Gamecocks got it going with three straight touchdowns to end the game, the final one resulting in a three-point cover. South Carolina outgained the Bulldogs 402-258 but a turnover on downs, a missed field goal and an interception inside the redzone killed three scoring chances.

NAVY 31 Air Force 20

Air Force outgained the Midshipmen 474-381 and held a three-point lead at the end of the third quarter but the final quarter was a disaster. The Falcons allowed Navy’s two longest touchdown drives while the offense fumbled at their own 35-yard line and also missed a field goal, its second miss of the day. That first miss was preceded by a turnover on downs at the Navy five-yard line. The Midshipmen covered by 8.5 points.

(12) GEORGIA 45 Ole Miss 17

Mississippi tied this game at 17-17 late in the third quarter but Georgia ran away with it by scoring the final 28 points of the game. The Rebels were outgained by only 86 total yards but a fumble at the Georgia four-yard line on their second possession and then a turnover on downs late in the game at the Georgia 19-yard line stalled two drives. Two turnovers led to 14 points and the easy cover for the Bulldogs.

(8) KENTUCKY 45 Fla Atlantic 17

Kentucky kept rolling along as it tallied 514 total yards while holding the Owls to 307 yards and scored touchdowns on its first four possessions. The score should have been much worse but the Wildcats had two turnovers inside the redzone and also missed a field goal. Kentucky was up by 21 points late in the fourth quarter and returned an interception for a touchdown for the frontdoor cover.

COLORADO 27 (10) Oklahoma 24

Oklahoma was cruising along with a 24-7 lead thanks to two interceptions that resulted in two short touchdown drives but then the tides turned. The Sooners committed three turnovers in the second half, including a muffed punt, which led to 10 Colorado points. The Buffaloes forced a late punt which set up the game winning field goal as time expired. Colorado held Oklahoma to just 230 total yards while covering by 26 points.

(25) NEBRASKA 35 Iowa State 17

Iowa St. outgained the Cornhuskers 415-369 and jumped ahead 10-0 before Nebraska fought back. The Cornhuskers scored the next three touchdowns and Iowa St. was looking to pull back within four but threw an interception that was returned 93 yards for the touchdown. The Cyclones did get another touchdown back which secured the cover but their third interception at their own three-yard line set up the final Nebraska score.

UTAH 34 Utah State 18

Utah won its 10th straight meeting against its in-state rival as it outgained Utah St. by only 50 total yards. The Aggies scored first to take a 7-0 lead but Utah scored 34 of the next 37 points to pull away. Included in this was a 75-yard punt return for a touchdown. Utah St. used a 44-yard punt return late in the fourth quarter to set up a short touchdown drive and the backdoor cover.

MIAMI-OHIO 17 Syracuse 14

Syracuse was feeling the hangover from the Louisville win as it managed only 86 total yards in the first half. The RedHawks jumped ahead 14-0 thanks in part to a Syracuse interception that set up a short field. Miami did its best to let Syracuse back in the game as it threw two interceptions to start the second half. The Orange pulled to within three points late and got the ball once again but could not move past their own 13-yard line.

Kent State 33 OHIO U 25

Kent St. scored on its first three possessions and held off a late rally from the Bobcats. Ohio scored with three minutes remaining and then got the ball back again with less than two minutes remaining but failed on a fourth down attempt in its own territory. The Golden Flashes rushed for 233 yards while holding Ohio to just 88 yards on the ground. Kent got the cover and was helped out by 17 Bobcats penalties for 170 yards.

(24) Kansas State 41 (19) TEXAS 21

Kansas St. won going away even though it was outgained 330-272 as it scored 21 points on an interception return, a punt return and a kickoff return. The Longhorns finished with four interceptions which led to 20 points that was the ultimate difference. Texas drove 80 yards on its second possession of the second half to pull within three points but managed only 61 yards the rest of the way as Kansas covered by 34.5 points.

(3) California 31 (14) OREGON 24

Oregon outgained the Bears 497-400 but had four turnovers, all of which occurred in the fourth quarter. The final one was the most devastating as the Ducks fumbled into the Bears endzone with 16 seconds left and it went out of bounds which resulted in a touchback. In the possession prior to that an interception at the California 17-yard line killed another drive. The Bears covered the number outright.

(5) WISCONSIN 37 Michigan State 34

Wisconsin was outgained by the Spartans 564-461 but was able to build a late 10-point lead that it almost squandered. Michigan St. scored on it next two possessions to tie the game and after the Badgers retook the lead, it has a chance to tie again but missed a 53-yard field goal. The Spartans did force a punt but were stopped on downs at the Wisconsin 38-yard line with 1:09 remaining. Michigan St. did get the cover by four.

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