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by Ben Burns - 10/06/2008
There were plenty of "bad beats" to choose from this week from the past weekend. These were two of my more painful losses.
Indianapolis at Houston
Sometimes it pays to play games early. Sometimes it doesn't. I pride myself in always getting the best number, so when I saw a couple of books dropping from 3.5 to 3, I decided to go ahead and play the Texans at +3.5. Playing early in the week appeared to be a wise move, as most shops did indeed move to 3. However, in the end, it turned out that waiting would have been the best move. That's because Houston's starting quarterback quarterback Matt Schaub was a gameday scratch. With backup Sage Rosenfels getting the call, the line moved up to +4 or +4.5 by kickoff. For most of the game, Rosenfels filled in more than adequately. In fact, he was nearly flawless through the first three quarters and the Texans held what seemed to be a comfortable 27-10 lead in the fourth quarter. That's when Rosenfels remembered that he was a career backup though. Remarkably, in the final five minutes he managed to fumble twice and throw an interception! As a result of those blunders, Indianapolis scored 21 points in less than five minutes and finished with a 31-27 victory. As Rosenfels had to say: "All of our team played great football today, played winning football and I made those mistakes that cost football games. There is no reason we should have lost that game."
Those of us with tickets on Houston at +3 or +3.5 suffered one of the tougher losses of the season. Mario Williams concurred. He was quoted as saying: "I've never seen anything in my life like that. For that to happen, I can't even remember seeing anything like that growing up. It's just devastating."
Penn State at Purdue
The Boilermakers, who were getting either 13.5 or 14 points, came in with thoughts of an upset. Things didn't go their way right from the beginning though. With the game still scoreless, the Purdue defense appeared to have managed a successful goal-line stand. The Boilermakers stopped Penn State running back Dan Lawlor on a third-and-goal from the 1. They then proceeded to stop the Nittany Lions on fourth down. However, officials ruled that the fourth down play didn't count because the third down play needed to be reviewed. It turned out that the review was unnecessary, as the call on the field stood. Still, it gave the Nittany Lions another shot at 4th down. Given a second chance, this time they successfully scored on a quarterback sneak to take a 7-0 lead. Naturally, Purdue fans and bettors were upset that their team's key stop was taken away. That took some of the wind out of the Boilermakers' sails and they trailed the whole way. Missing a pair of second quarter field goals (36 and 45 yards) certainly didn't help their momentum either. Still, they were only down 10-0 at halftime and after finally getting on the board with a late touchdown, it appeared that they would earn the back-door cover. Cue the dagger. Having already missed both field goal attempts, Purdue kicker Chris Summers missed the point after attempt. Instead of covering, Purdue loses by 14, resulting in either a push or a loss.