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Inside the Boxscores, Week 1, Part 1

   by Matt Fargo - 09/02/2008

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, August 28, 2008

BUFFALO 42 Texas-El Paso 17

Buffalo outgained UTEP 484-266 but the Miners were still within striking distance after three quarters. The Bulls took a two-touchdown lead before UTEP came back to tie it but then it was all Bulls after that as they outscored the Miners 28-3 to end it. UTEP was hurt by three interceptions, a missed field goal and two turnovers on downs. Buffalo was very balanced on offense with 263 yards rushing and 221 yards passing.

Vanderbilt 34 MIAMI-OHIO 13

The Commodores pulled off the minor upset as they jumped ahead 17-3 in the first quarter and never looked back. Despite the 21-point win, Vanderbilt only outgained the RedHawks 360-340 but it owned the line of scrimmage. The Commodores rushed for 269 yards on 50 carries (5.4 ypc) while holding Miami to 96 yards on 25 carries (3.8 ypc). Vanderbilt was a perfect 6-6 inside the redzone.


Troy jumped ahead 24-3 but had to hold on after the Blue Raiders pulled to within a touchdown last in the 4th quarter. The Trojans only won the yardage battle by 16 yards as they were hurt by four turnovers. Troy held Middle Tennessee to 84 yards rushing on 50 carries (1.7 ypc) thanks to recording five sacks worth 47 yards. The Blue Raiders were 0-4 on 4th down including a missed opportunity at the Troy one-yard line.

(23) Wake Forest 41 BAYLOR 13

Wake Forest scored on its first three possessions and took advantage of five Bears turnovers to run away with an easy win. Those turnovers led to 21 points for the Demon Deacons. The defense was stout as it allowed only one drive of more than 44 yards and it held the Bears to just 2-12 on third down conversions while its own offense went 7-14 and converting its lone fourth down attempt.


After a slow start, the Gamecocks poured it on late. South Carolina turned the ball over on three of its first five possessions but a field goal started the scoring to end the first half. It then scored on five of its six second half possessions while the defense did not let NC State cross midfield in the second half. The Wolf Pack ended with only 138 total yards including 89 yards rushing on 37 carries (2.4 ypc).

STANFORD 36 Oregon State 28

Stanford won despite getting outgained 490-301 and finishing with 11 fewer first downs (29-18). The Beavers put up 401 yards through the air compared to only 91 for the Cardinal but Oregon St. was hurt by two interceptions, one which was returned for a touchdown. The Beavers also hurt themselves with 12 penalties for 100 yards and going just 4-6 inside the redzone.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Temple 35 ARMY 7

Temple was actually outgained by the Black Knights 284-250 but it was the defense and special teams that were the difference. The Owls returned the second half kickoff for a touchdown while also returning a fumble for a score. A second fumble recovery led to an eight-yard touchdown drive. Army rushed for 210 yards on 58 carries but completed just 6 of 15 passes for 74 yards.

RICE 56 S-M-U 27

Rice racked up 466 yards of offense but it needed to rally after SMU took an early 13-0 lead. The Owls scored 56 of the next 63 points before SMU tacked on a meaningless touchdown with only two minutes remaining. The Mustangs ran the ball only 14 times and gained just 11 yards (0.8 ypc). They also committed five turnovers that led to 28 points scored by Rice.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

EAST CAROLINA 27 (17) Virginia Tech 22

Virginia Tech grabbed a 14-0 lead thanks to two Pirates fumbles, one that was returned 30 yards for a touchdown and the other setting up a short drive. The Pirates were down by nine points with just over seven minutes remaining before scoring on a long touchdown drive and then blocking a punt for a score with 1:52 left for the winner. East Carolina outgained the Hokies 369-243.

NORTHWESTERN 30 Syracuse 10

Syracuse moved the ball well on its first drive as it went 63 yards but had to settle for a field goal. The Orange cut the Northwestern lead to one point early in the third quarter thanks to the Wildcats fumbling on the opening play. Northwestern then scored on three of its next four possessions to put the game away. Syracuse was outgained 484-225 while allowing 269 yards rushing on 42 carries (6.4 ypc).

Bowling Green 27 (25) PITTSBURGH 17

The Falcons upset Pittsburgh despite being outgained 393-254. The Panthers jumped ahead 14-0 but Bowling Green was able to get back in it thanks to a long touchdown drive followed by a fumble recovery setting up another score. Pittsburgh committed four turnovers, three of which occurred in Bowling Green territory while also missing a field goal and turning it over on downs at the Falcons 25-yard line.

(13) WISCONSIN 38 Akron 17

Wisconsin outgained the Zips 479-297 thanks to 404 yards rushing on 63 carries (6.4 ypc). The Badgers were only up by seven points at halftime after scoring on their first three possessions but giving it away inside the Akron five-yard line on its last two possessions of the half. Wisconsin then scored touchdowns on its first three drives of the second half to put it away.

(5) FLORIDA 56 Hawaii 10

Florida jumped ahead 56-0 after three quarters as the defense held the Warriors to 101 total yards in that span. Hawaii scored twice in garbage time to avoid the shutout. The Gators scored twice on defense as it returned two interceptions for scores while also returning a punt 74 yards for a score. Florida managed only 406 total yards but 255 yards were on the ground on 38 carries (6.7 ypc).

WYOMING 21 Ohio U 20

Ohio outgained the Cowboys 287-271 but an interception with 4:17 remaining at the Wyoming nine-yard line killed any chance of an upset. The Bobcats moved into Wyoming territory on their first five drives but fumbled once and turned it over on downs on another possession. The Cowboys held Ohio to just 39 yards rushing on 21 carries (1.9 ypc) while the Bobcats also committed 12 penalties for 115 yards.

Utah 25 MICHIGAN 23

Utah was able to pull off the upset as the defense was strong, holding Michigan to only 203 total yards. The Utes were up by 15 points in the final quarter but Michigan took advantage of good field position from a punt and a fumble recovery to score two touchdowns in a span of just over two minutes. Neither team got the running game going as both teams finished with just 36 yards each.

(3) U-S-C 52 VIRGINIA 7

USC dominated from start to finish as it outgained the Cavaliers 558-187. The Trojans scored on their first four possessions before getting a little sloppy but the defense was just too strong for Virginia to even think about a comeback. The Cavaliers finished with only 32 yards rushing on 21 carries (1.5 ypc) and they finished with four turnovers that led to 14 points. USC gained a whopping 7.7 ypp.

Oklahoma State 39 WASHINGTON ST 13

Oklahoma St. jumped ahead 18-0 as the defense held Washington St. to 21 total yards through its first eight possessions which included seven punts and a safety. The Cowboys used a short field for most of the day as their starting position was their own 46-yard line. Oklahoma St. scored on four straight second half possessions including a kickoff return for a touchdown.

Tulsa 45 U-A-B 22

Despite racking up 601 total yards, Tulsa trailed this game at halftime before shutting the Blazers out in the final 30 minutes. Both teams scored touchdowns on their first two possessions but UAB was not able to keep up in the second half. Four of its drives resulted in 26 yards and four punts while the other two ended in fumbles. The Golden Hurricane completed 21 of 25 passes for 361 yards.


TCU jumped ahead 16-0 in the first quarter and never looked back. The Horned Frogs outgained New Mexico 291-186 and allowed the Lobos only nine first downs. The Lobos moved the ball past midfield only two times in their 14 drives and finished with only 56 yards rushing on 32 carries (1.8 ypc). TCU took advantage of great starting field position as it started its drives at the 50-yard line on average.

LOUISIANA TECH 22 Miss State 14

The Bulldogs pulled off the home upset after spotting Mississippi St. a 14-3 lead late in the second quarter. Mississippi St. was hurt by five turnovers that led to 10 of the final 13 points for Louisiana Tech. Mississippi St. outgained the Bulldogs 348-269 but both teams were held to less than 100 yards rushing and both finished with a 2.9 ypc average. Louisiana Tech’s touchdown drives were just 13 and nine yards in length.

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