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Inside The Boxscores, Week 3, Part 2

   by Matt Fargo - 09/17/2008

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, September 13, 2008 (cont.)

(16) Penn State 55 SYRACUSE 13

Penn St. fumbled on its second play from scrimmage but Syracuse gave it right back on a fumble of its own. The Nittany Lions scored on the very next play on a 55-yard touchdown pass and the rout was on. Penn St. outgained the Orange 560-159 and limited Syracuse to just eight first downs. The lone bright spot for the Orange was committing only one penalty. Penn St. finished 10-17 on third down with Syracuse going just 2-17.

VIRGINIA TECH 20 Georgia Tech 17

Georgia Tech lost despite outgaining the Hokies 387-247 as three turnovers ended up being the difference. The Yellow Jackets fumbled in their own territory late in the second quarter and Virginia Tech took advantage by tacking on a touchdown. Georgia Tech tied the game early in the fourth quarter but the Hokies took the ensuing possession 76 yards to set up game-winning field goal.

OREGON STATE 45 Hawaii 7

Oregon St. picked up its first win in dominating fashion. The Beavers spotted Hawaii an early 7-0 lead before scoring the final 45 points of the game. They outgained the Warriors 485-211 and doubled the first downs 28-14. Hawaii drove 76 yards on its first possession but did not have a drive longer than 36 yards the rest of the way. The lone downfall for the Beavers was three missed field goals.

Western Mich 51 IDAHO 28

Western Michigan returned an interception for a touchdown only five plays into the game and after the Vandals tied the game early in the third quarter at 14-14, the Broncos ran off 23 consecutive points to pull away. Western Michigan was actually outgained by Idaho 455-416 but both Idaho turnovers led to touchdowns. The Vandals finished 7-15 on third down but the first three punts all occurred around midfield.

(9) ALABAMA 41 Western Ky 7

Alabama completely dominated the Hilltoppers as it outgained them 557-158 and had a 30-9 advantage in first downs. Western Kentucky’s lone score was set up by an interception that led to a short field as it drove 36 yards for a touchdown. The Tide drove into Hilltoppers territory in 10 of their 11 drives and finished 12-17 on third and fourth down combined. Alabama was balanced with 276 yards passing and 281 yards rushing.

Southern Miss 27 ARKANSAS STATE 24

Arkansas St. outgained the Golden Eagles 447-348 but its comeback fell short. Southern Miss jumped ahead 17-3 at halftime before the Red Wolves tied the game in the third quarter. They were poised to move down the field against but a fumble set up the go ahead field goal and they never gave the lead back. Arkansas St. has one last shot but an interception at the Southern Miss 40-yard line with a minute remaining ended the game.

KENTUCKY 20 Middle Tennessee 14

Kentucky dodged a huge bullet as the Blue Raiders almost pulled out a miracle win. The Wildcats ran the clock down to eight seconds and instead of running a fourth down play, they kicked a field goal which was blocked. Middle Tennessee completed a desperation 61-yard pass but was tackled at the one-yard line to end the game. The Wildcats were outgained 383-356 despite running 23 more plays from scrimmage.

MARSHALL 17 Memphis 16

Memphis outgained the Thundering Herd 462-403 but it could not convert two important third down plays which ended up resulting in field goals of 22 and 25 yards. The Tigers also fumbled at the Marshall eight-yard line on their second possession of the day. Memphis was able to force two punts last in the fourth quarter to get the ball back but the offense was stopped both times trying to get into field goal range.

(10) Auburn 3 MISS STATE 2

The defenses were the story here but more so for the Auburn side. The Tigers held Mississippi St. to just 116 total yards and six first downs as the Bulldogs crossed midfield only three times. Auburn tallied 315 yards of offense but was hurt by three fumbles, two which took place in Mississippi St. territory as well as two missed field goals including a 22-yarder. The Bulldogs longest drive was 22 yards.

NEBRASKA 38 New Mexico St 7

Nebraska racked up 553 yards of offense and the score could actually have been much worse. The Huskers missed a 35-yard field goal on their opening drive, turned it over on downs at the Aggies four-yard line and also at the 21-yard line. A fumble that was returned to the three-yard line set up New Mexico St.’s lone score. The Aggies gained a respectable 339 yards but had two interceptions as well as a 20-yard field goal blocked.

(11) TEXAS TECH 43 S-M-U 7

Texas Tech piled up 693 yards of offense while the defense allowed 274 yards, 188 prior to the Mustangs lone touchdown in garbage time. The Red Raiders picked off five SMU passes, leading to three touchdowns and a field goal. 513 yards of the offense came through the air but the rushing game was solid, gaining 180 yards on 27 carries (6.7 ypc). SMU crossed midfield in six of its first nine possessions but came away with nothing.


Vanderbilt was outgained 407-344 but it took advantage of great field position most of the day. The Commodores started their drivers at their own 44-yard line compared to the 21-yard line for the Owls. The three Rice touchdowns were on drives of 69, 76 and 80 yards while three of Vanderbilt’s touchdowns were on drives of 1, 35 and 42 yards. Of the Commodores yards, 263 of them were rushing on 43 carries (6.3 ypc).

CONNECTICUT 45 Virginia 10

The Huskies’ first four possessions resulted in touchdowns, covering 308 yards while Virginia’s first four possessions totaled just 90 yards and led to no points. Connecticut ended with 506 yards of offense and it entered Cavaliers territory on all 10 of its possessions. Virginia finished with only 219 total yards and 14 first downs and had only 31 yards rushing on 14 carries (2.2 ypc).

(2) Oklahoma 55 WASHINGTON 14

Oklahoma scored in the 50’s for a third straight game as it came out of the gates strong and built a 41-0 lead before easing up in the second half. The Sooners piled up 591 total yards that consisted of 317 yards passing and 274 yards rushing on 47 carries (5.8 ypc). The Huskies put up 336 yards and had 23 first downs and while most of that came late, they were still hurt by three fumbles and three missed field goals.

BOISE STATE 20 Bowling Green 7

The game was much closer than the final score indicates as Boise St. outgained the Falcons by only 340-307. The Broncos scored on their first three possessions, totaling 254 yards but the offense fizzled after that. Bowling Green had numerous opportunities it could not take advantage of as it missed field goals on two of its first three possessions while also turning the ball over three times, all in Boise St. territory.

(6) L-S-U 41 North Texas 3

LSU dominated from the start as it built as 27-3 lead in the first half and cruised for the easy win. The Tigers outgained North Texas 425-199 and it was a very balanced attack as they had 209 yards passing and 216 yards rushing on 28 carries (7.7 ypc). North Texas’ longest drive was only 31 yards and its lone score was set up by an interception as it drove nine yards for a field goal.

NEW MEXICO 36 Arizona 28

Arizona jumped ahead 7-0 after its first possession but it came undone as turnovers did it in. The Wildcats turned it over five times, four in their own territory and all five led to points for the Lobos. New Mexico pulled it off despite getting outgained 388-335. Arizona had one last chance as it was down eight points and forced a punt but it was stopped on fourth down at midfield to end the game.

SAN JOSE ST 35 San Diego St 10

San Jose St. jumped ahead 21-0 and this final should have been a lot worse as the Spartans outgained San Diego St. 476-146 and held the Aztecs to just seven first downs. The lone San Diego St. touchdown came on a 28-yard interception return right before halftime. Sam Jose St. forced nine punts, seven of which were three and outs and four which resulted in negative yardage. The Aztecs were 1-12 in third down.

(1) U-S-C 35 (13) Ohio State 3

The marquee game of the weekend turned into a laugher as USC ran away with it. Ohio St. took the lead early with a field goal but the Trojans outscored the Buckeyes 35-0 the rest of the way. USC scored on its next two possessions and then returned an interception for another touchdown right before halftime. The Buckeyes were unable to move the ball in the second half, gaining only 25 total yards and getting just two first downs.

(20) Utah 58 UTAH STATE 10

The Utes decimated their in-state rival as they spotted the Aggies a 7-0 lead before scoring 58 of the final 61 points of the game. Utah St. took advantage of a fumble to set up a short field for that touchdown but the offense was shut down after that. Utah outgained the Aggies 446-116 and held them to only eight first downs and two of those were from penalties. Utah had 213 yards passing and 233 yards rushing.


UNLV pulled off the shocker as it rallied late in the fourth quarter to force overtime. The Rebels trailed by 10 points late in the third quarter and used a nine-minute drive to tack on a field goal and then forced a punt with three minutes left. UNLV drove 74 yards and tied the game with only 18 seconds remaining on an eight-yard touchdown pass. The Rebels kicked their field goal in overtime while the Sun Devils missed theirs.

(8) Wisconsin 13 (25) FRESNO STATE 10

The defenses dominated the late game as Fresno St. put up 343 total yards while the Badgers put up 304 total yards. The Bulldogs lost the turnover battle 2-0 and that was the difference as both miscues led to 10 points for Wisconsin. Those two turnovers took place in their own territory and the two scoring drives for the Badgers totaled 43 yards. Fresno St. missed a 35-yard field goal in the fourth quarter and never got close again.

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