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Inside the Boxscores, Week 1, Part 2

   by Matt Fargo - 09/03/2008

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.

Saturday, August 30, 2008 (cont.)

(10) AUBURN 34 UL-Monroe 0

Auburn jumped ahead early and outgained the Warhawks 406-220 but it took the offense a while to get going. The Tigers scored two touchdowns in the first quarter, one from a fumble recovery and one from a punt return. Auburn punted on its first six offensive possessions until driving for a field goal with 1:16 remaining in the first half. It finished with 321 yards rushing on 46 carries (7.0 ypc).

(14) KANSAS 40 Florida Intl 10

Kansas outgained the Golden Panthers 384-139 and held them to just nine first downs. The Jayhawks offense fumbled in their first possession and lost 11 yards in the second before the offense started moving the ball. They finished 11-18 on third down and held the ball for over 15 more minutes while running 33 more plays from scrimmage. The lone Florida International touchdown came on a 74-yard punt return.

MINNESOTA 31 Northern Ill 27

It was a much closer game than expected and it took a touchdown with just 22 seconds remaining for the Gophers to avoid yet another opening game upset from a MAC opponent. The Gophers put up 425 yards of total offense including a 74-yard drive to pull out the win. Northern Illinois took its first lead with back-to-back touchdown passes of 91 and 52 yards. The Huskies finished with only 72 yards rushing on 31 carries (2.3 ypc).

NEBRASKA 47 Western Mich 24

Nebraska piled up 483 yards of offense and walked away with an easy victory. The Huskers scored on seven straight possessions following an opening drive punt. The passing defense had a rough day as it allowed 342 yards through the air and all three of the Broncos touchdown drives were 80 yards in length. The rushing defense made up for it as Western Michigan gained only eight yards on 25 carries (0.3 ypc).

OLE MISS 41 Memphis 24

Despite getting outgained 453-438, the Rebels were able to jump ahead early by 20 points and grab the easy win. After a three and out to start the game, Mississippi scored on its next six possessions. The Tigers were hurt by an interception at the Rebels 21-yard line while also turning the ball over on downs twice inside the 30-yard line. Mississippi only committed four penalties but all four led to Memphis first downs.

SOUTHERN MISS 51 UL Lafayette 21

Southern Mississippi racked up 633 total yards of offense including 427 yards rushing on 61 carries (7.0 ypc). All seven touchdown drives were 56 yards and longer including four of more than 80 yards. UL-Lafayette pulled to within two touchdowns before halftime but the Golden Eagles scored the next 23 points to run away with it. The Cajuns did have success on the ground, rushing for 263 yards on 43 carries (6.1 ypc).

(11) TEXAS 52 Fla Atlantic 10

Texas outgained the Owls 503-292 and the defense came up huge in the second half, forcing six punts and a turnover on downs while allowing only 48 total yards. The Longhorns were very balanced with 232 yards rushing on 46 carries (5.0 ypc) and 271 yards through the air. Florida Atlantic passed for 255 yards but was held to 37 yards rushing on 23 carries (1.6 ypc).

Arkansas State 18 TEXAS A&M 14

The Red Wolves pulled off the huge upset after spotting Texas A&M a 14-3 lead at halftime. Arkansas St. outgained the Aggies 415-303 with most of that damage coming in the second half. Texas A&M turned the ball over four times in the second half, three in its own territory which led to three field goals. The Red Wolves were a perfect 5-5 inside the redzone but did settle for four field goals.

KANSAS STATE 45 North Texas 6

Kansas St. dominated from start to finish as it outgained North Texas 471-205. The offense scored touchdowns on six of its first seven possessions while the defense forced the Mean Green to punt on its first nine possessions. The lone North Texas touchdown came in part to an interception that led to a short 15-yard scoring drive. The Wildcats went 9-15 on third down while North Texas was just 2-13.

Boston College 21 KENT STATE 0

The Eagles jumped ahead 14-0 in the first quarter and the defense took the game over in cementing the shutout. Boston College outgained the Golden Flashes 336-260 and held off the two longest drives with a stop on fourth down and an interception at its own five-yard line. The offense rushed for 230 yards on 47 carries (4.9 ypc) but only passed for 106 yards. Boston College did not commit a single penalty on the night.

CALIFORNIA 38 Michigan State 31

California used a balanced attack on offense to take care of the Spartans as it rushed for 203 yards on 36 carries (5.6 ypc) while throwing for 264 yards. The defense started strong allowing only 70 yards through Michigan St.’s first six possessions. The Spartans first touchdown was an interception return. Michigan St. was down a touchdown late and had the ball but was stopped at midfield on fourth down with 13 seconds remaining.

(24) Alabama 34 (9) CLEMSON 10

Alabama completely dominated the Tigers as it outgained them 419-188 with all 188 of those yards coming through the air. Clemson finished with only 11 first downs and its lone touchdown came on the opening kickoff of the second half. While the Tide held Clemson to zero yards rushing, they gained 239 yards on the ground on 50 carries (4.8 ypc). 94 of Clemson’s 188 yards came on the final two drives in garbage time.

(6) MISSOURI 52 (20) Illinois 42

Offense was the story here as Missouri put up 549 yards while the Illini tacked on 532 total yards. The Tigers were much more balanced as they gained 226 yards rushing on 37 carries (6.1 ypc) while throwing for 323 yards. Illinois took its first lead 13-10 on an interception return for a touchdown but Missouri took the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown and never relinquished the lead again.

ARIZONA 70 Idaho 0

The biggest blowout of the weekend took place in Tucson as Arizona scored 49 first half points and coasted the rest of the way. The Wildcats outgained Idaho 521-112 and had the edge in first downs 27-7. The Vandals crossed midfield only twice all game and the closest they could get to a score was a 54-yard missed field goal. Arizona finished with 265 yards rushing on 49 carries (5.4 ypc) and 256 yards passing.

(21) OREGON 44 Washington 10

The Ducks jumped out to a 14-0 lead but Washington closed the gap to four points before halftime before Oregon scored the only 30 points of the second half. Oregon outgained the Huskies 496-242 and used a balanced offensive attack, gaining 256 yards rushing on 44 carries (5.8 ypc) and 240 yards passing. Despite this, Washington won the time of possession battle by over 11 minutes but it mattered none as it punted the ball 10 times.

U-N-L-V 27 Utah State 17

UNLV outgained the Aggies 353-314 but 80 of those yards from Utah St. came on its final drive when the game was already decided. The Aggies committed two first half turnovers which led to 10 points for the Rebels and that was the ultimate difference. The Aggies went only 3-15 on third down but were a very effective 4-5 on fourth down. The Rebels did not turn the ball over all night.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Kentucky 27 LOUISVILLE 2

This game was a lot closer than the final score indicates as Kentucky only outgained the Cardinals 210-205. The Wildcats returned two fumbles for touchdowns while also using an interception to set up a seven-yard touchdown run one play later. Louisville turned the ball over five times including three interceptions and a fumble on its last four possessions. The two teams combined for only 116 yards rushing.

Colorado 38 COLORADO STATE 17

Colorado took a seven-point lead into halftime before pulling away in the second half. After the Rams pulled to within a touchdown in the second quarter, the Buffaloes returned the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown. Colorado St. then returned the favor by taking that kickoff 90 yards for a score. Colorado held the Rams to 71 yards rushing on 26 carries (2.7 ypc).

Monday, September 1, 2008

Fresno State 24 RUTGERS 7

Fresno St. was able to pull off the upset but it was anyone’s game late in the fourth quarter. Rutgers scored in its first possession of the quarter to pull within three points but the Bulldogs pulled away with two long touchdown drives after that. The Scarlet Knights were hurt by two missed field goals and two failed fourth down conversation attempts, one coming from the Fresno St. three-yard line.

U-C-L-A 27 (18) Tennessee 24

One of the better games of the weekend was the last as UCLA grabbed the home upset in overtime. The Bruins started the scoring with a blocked punt return but Tennessee got that back before halftime with an interception return for a touchdown. Tennessee outgained UCLA 366-288 including a 177-29 advantage on the ground. In total, three missed field goals were the difference for the Volunteers.

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