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Inside the Boxscores, Week 6, Part 1

   by Matt Fargo - 10/08/2007

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.

MEMPHIS 24 Marshall 21

The Marshall defense was able to hold the Tigers to three field goals on their three scores in the first half but the offense was too mistake prone in the second half to take advantage. The Herd scored a touchdown on their opening possession of the half but fumbled at the Memphis 23-yard line and then turned it over on downs at the Memphis 16-yard line in their next two possessions. A late touchdown provided the push.


Rice jumped ahead to a big early lead but had to hang on after a Southern Mississippi 4th quarter rally. The Golden Eagles trailed by 24 points heading into the final quarter and put up three touchdowns but missed the final two-point conversion that would have tied it. Turnovers did Southern Mississippi in early as it had seven in total, leading to 24 Owls points and the easy cover by 22.5 points. The Golden Eagles outgained Rice 422-236.

(7) SO CAROLINA 38 (17) Kentucky 23

Kentucky outgained the Gamecocks 384-342 but two of South Carolina’s first three touchdowns came on fumble returns as it built a 14-point lead that the Wildcats could not recover from. In total Kentucky had four turnovers and the lone interception killed a scoring drive as well. Kentucky’s defense held the Gamecocks to 86 yards rushing on 36 carries (2.4 ypc) but it mattered none as South Carolina easily covered the number.


Utah outgained the Cardinals 582-493 as it jumped out to a 21-0 lead but still had to hold off Louisville. The Cardinals pulled to within six points late in the fourth quarter after back-to-back touchdowns but Utah recovered the onsides kick and tacked on the clinching field goal. Louisville punted on six of its first seven drives and a turnover on downs at the start of the fourth quarter at the Utes eight-yard line was costly.

(20) Kansas 30 KANSAS STATE 24

Kansas threw an interception in its first play of the game and then another interception midway through the fourth quarter provided the Wildcats with a short field for their go ahead score. However, the Jayhawks scored a touchdown on their next possession and then intercepted Kansas St. on its final two possessions of the day. Kansas held the Wildcats to 53 yards rushing on 21 carries (2.5 ypc) as it grabbed the outright cover.

(18) ILLINOIS 31 (19) Wisconsin 26

Wisconsin outgained the Illini 519-410 but two costly interceptions in the fourth quarter did the Badgers in. Wisconsin got into Illinois territory in five of its first six possessions but came away with only six points basically wasting 236 yards of offense. All four of the Illini’s touchdown drives were of 71 yards or more as they finished with 289 yards rushing on 44 carries (6.6 ypc) and covered the spread by 2.5 points.

Northwestern 48 MICHIGAN STATE 41

It took overtime to decide this wild game and it was Northwestern who almost blew a chance to pull out the win. The Wildcats drove 63 yards in less than two minutes but missed a field goal at the end of regulation. They got the ball first in overtime and scored on two plays while the defense forced four incomplete passes by the Spartans to end it. Northwestern finished with 611 yards of offense including 520 yards through the air.

INDIANA 40 Minnesota 20

Indiana broke open a tie game at the end of the first quarter by scoring 19 unanswered points to pull away. The Hoosiers scored on their first seven possessions but the final four of those were field goals as the game could have been more out of reach. Indiana used a balanced attack of 228 yards rushing and 235 yards passing as it won TOP battle by over 10 minutes. A late touchdown provided an eight-point cover for the Hoosiers.

(8) West Virginia 55 SYRACUSE 14

West Virginia held the Orange to 202 total yards while the offense put up 486 yards and cruised to an easy win. The Mountaineers grabbed an interception on the third play of the game and turned it into a touchdown. Syracuse responded to tie the game but West Virginia scored the next 34 points and then put up two scores in the fourth quarter to provide the two-touchdown cover. The Mountaineers were 7-7 inside the redzone.

(4) BOSTON COLLEGE 55 Bowling Green 24

Bowling Green struck first with a field goal and then pulled to within four points midway through the second quarter before it all fell apart. The Falcons threw interception on their next five possessions including four in a span of 11 plays and the Eagles capitalized with 24 points off those turnovers including two returns for scores. Bowling Green was only outgained by six total yards but missed the cover by 12 points.

MARYLAND 28 Georgia Tech 26

Maryland looked to be in control as it jumped ahead 21-3 but the Yellow Jackets scored on four straight second half possessions and had a chance to win on the fifth but missed a long field goal with under a minute remaining. Georgia Tech outgained the Terrapins 484-343 and was in Maryland territory in its last nine possessions but a fumble at the Maryland 28-yard line along with another missed field goal ended up costly.

NORTH CAROLINA 33 Miami-Florida 27

North Carolina jumped ahead 27-0 at halftime but had to hold off a ferocious Hurricanes rally to pull out the win. Miami scored 20 points in the third quarter and it was poised to pull within six early in the fourth quarter, but the Tar Heels picked off a pass at their own eight-yard line, the last of four interceptions on the day. Miami scored late but could not recover the onsides kick as North Carolina hung on and covered as a home dog.

Central Michigan 58 BALL STATE 38

Central Michigan racked up 658 yards of offense and never trailed. The Chippewas jumped ahead 14-0 but the Cardinals returned the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown, the closest it would get on the day. Ball St. scored touchdowns on three of its last four possessions but by then the game was well decided. The Cardinals had only 165 total yards up to that point as Central Michigan covered by 32 points.

MICHIGAN 33 Eastern Michigan 22

Despite getting outgained 459-304, Eastern Michigan covered by 17 points and was in this game for the majority until the Wolverines scored the final 17 points of the third quarter for some breathing room. The Eagles finished with four turnovers which led to 10 points and they got into Michigan territory on only three of their first 13 possessions. Michigan’s average starting field position was its own 41-yard line.

(22) AUBURN 35 Vanderbilt 7

Auburn outgained the Commodores 404-221 as the offense scored touchdowns on its first three possessions while the defense forced Vanderbilt to punt on its first six possessions. Over half of the Commodores total yards came in their final two drives, one which went for their lone touchdown. The Tigers easily covered the touchdown spread and their only blemish was committing 11 penalties on the day.

BUFFALO 31 Ohio U 10

This game was still up in the air in the fourth quarter but the Bobcats threw an interception at the Buffalo 27 yard-line and then turned it over on downs on their next three possessions. The Bulls outgained Ohio 397-276 including 251 yards rushing compared to 90 yards on the ground for the Bobcats. Buffalo has six drives of eight plays or more while covering the spread by 25 points.

Wake Forest 41 DUKE 36

Duke jumped ahead 9-0 before the Demon Deacons ran off 34 consecutive points in what looked like a Wake Forest rout. However, the Blue Devils did not give up as they scored the next 20 points to pull within five early in the fourth quarter. Duke was driving again to take the lead but was stopped on fourth down and Wake Forest tacked on another score. The Blue Devils scored late for the backdoor cover.

TEMPLE 16 Northern Ill 15

Temple outgained the Huskies 352-259 but needed a field goal with nine seconds remaining to pull out its first win of the season. The Owls went ahead by a touchdown in the third quarter before Northern Illinois retook the lead but missed an extra point which ended up being the difference. Temple covered as three-point home dogs and won despite committing 12 penalties for 127 yards.

OLE MISS 24 Louisiana Tech 0

Mississippi shut out the Bulldogs despite getting outgained 301-232. The Rebels scored their first touchdown off a fumble two plays into the game and scored their final touchdown on a blocked field goal return. Louisiana Tech also committed 13 penalties for 117 yards and it was inside the Mississippi 40-yard line seven times but came away with no points. Mississippi doubled up the spread in its first shutout since 2003.


Wyoming did its best to blow a 24-6 lead and ended up with a push. The Cowboys botched a fourth down play to set up a late touchdown for the Horned Frogs. Wyoming then went three and out giving TCU another chance which it almost converted but a 48-yard field goal was missed as time expired. The Horned Frogs were in Wyoming territory in five of their first six possessions but came away with only three points.


UAB took a lead into the fourth quarter but Mississippi St. scored three touchdowns in the final period to pull out the win but missed the cover by a half-point. The Bulldogs took a 10-point lead with back-to-back touchdowns and then sealed the deal by returning an interception for a touchdown on the very next play from scrimmage. UAB finished with only 11 first downs as it committed 10 penalties.

Miami-Ohio 20 KENT STATE 13

Kent outgained Miami 463-411 but it fumbled once at the RedHawks 24-yard line and then was stopped on fourth down at the one-yard line on its final possession that could have tied the game. The Golden Flashes also committed 10 penalties for 110 yards. Miami was held to 16 first downs and 101 yards rushing but went 4-4 inside the redzone and covered outright as eight-point underdogs.

ALABAMA 30 Houston 24

Alabama scored 23 first quarter points as it gained 231 yards but had only 116 total yards the rest of the way. The Cougars pulled to within six points with two fourth quarter touchdowns but threw interceptions on their final two possessions including a pick in the Alabama endzone as time expired. Houston won the yardage battle 404-347 but the turnovers were the difference despite covering by 4.5 points.

(6) Oklahoma 28 (23) TEXAS 21

Oklahoma forced two critical turnovers including a fumble at the four-yard line by the Longhorns in the first possession of the second half which would have given them the lead. After forcing a punt on the next drive, Oklahoma scored on the next play with a 65-yard touchdown run. Texas finished with 61 yards rushing on 29 carries (2.1 ypc) but still managed to cover the game by five points.

PENN STATE 27 Iowa 7

Penn St. dominated from start to finish as it held the Hawkeyes to just 194 total yards and eight first downs. 86 of those yards came on the lone Iowa touchdown drive as the Hawkeye’s longest drive in 10 possessions prior to that was 18 yards, all resulting in punts. Penn St. did miss a field goal and turned it over three times in Iowa territory as the scoring margin and cover could have been much more.

(25) TENNESSEE 35 (24) Georgia 14

Tennessee scored touchdowns on four of its first five possessions and the defense forced the Bulldogs to punt on each of their seven first half possessions. Georgia gained only 42 total yards in the first half and finished the game with just 69 yards rushing on 25 carries (2.8 ypc). The Bulldogs did score on its first second half possession but Tennessee responded with another score and easily covered as a one-point home dog.

(21) FLORIDA STATE 27 NC State 10

Florida St. broke a 10-10 tie by returning an interception for a touchdown in the third quarter and shutout out the Wolfpack in the second half. The Seminoles outgained NC State 381-268 but they missed two field goals in the first half that killed 98 yards of offense. The Wolfpack finished with only 83 yards in the second half but were still able to cover the number by a point.

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