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Inside the Boxscores, Week 7, Part 1

   by Matt Fargo - 10/14/2008

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.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Both teams finished with 20 first downs and Troy outgained the Owls by only two total yards but turnovers were the ultimate difference. Florida Atlantic turned it over on back-to-back possessions in the second quarter as it fumbled on its own 16-yard line setting up a Trojans touchdown and then tossed an interception at the Troy four-yard line. The Trojans won the time of possession despite going just 3-15 on third down.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

(21) WAKE FOREST 12 Clemson 7

Wake Forest outgained the Tigers 342-198 and more than doubled them in first downs 21-10 but the game was very much in doubt into the fourth quarter. Clemson moved inside the Demon Deacons 40-yard line only once in its first eight possessions before driving 70 yards for a touchdown late in the third quarter to grab the lead. Wake Forest was able to score on its next two possessions to pull it out.


Houston spotted the Blazers a 20-3 lead at halftime before exploding for 42 unanswered points in the second half. The Cougars racked up 549 total yards on offense with the majority of that coming in the final 30 minutes. UAB crossed midfield only once in the second half and that resulted in an interception on the final play of the game. The Blazers ended up just 2-16 on third down.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Louisville 35 MEMPHIS 28

Memphis completely dominated the Cardinals as it outgained them 481-299 while having a 27-13 advantage in first downs. Louisville took a 14-point lead into halftime thanks to a kickoff return for a touchdown and a blocked field goal return for a touchdown. Memphis came back to tie and had the ball again but the Cardinals recovered a fumble and returned it for yet another touchdown.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

CINCINNATI 13 Rutgers 10

Despite outgaining the Scarlet Knights 336-254, the Bearcats needed three stops in the final quarter to pull out the win. Rutgers got the ball on punts each time but failed to get out of its own territory. The Cincinnati defense dominated the first half as it held the Scarlet Knights to only 33 total yards and forced seven punts in seven possessions. The Bearcats went 0-10 on third down and committed 12 penalties for 115 yards.

Minnesota 27 ILLINOIS 20

Illinois actually outgained the Gophers 550-312 but mistakes and missed opportunities were the difference. The Illini committed three turnovers including a fumble that was returned for a touchdown. Minnesota also had a short field of eight yards from another fumble that set up another touchdown. Illinois missed a field goal while also turning it over on downs twice including once at the Minnesota one-yard line.

Iowa 45 INDIANA 9

Iowa snapped a three-game losing skid as it outgained the Hoosiers 422-286 and completely controlled the line of scrimmage. The Hawkeyes rushed for 227 yards while holding Indiana to 95 yards on the ground and thus also had a 17-minute edge in time of possession. The Hoosiers crossed midfield three times in the second half but failed on fourth down twice while also fumbling at Iowa 37-yard line.

Toledo 13 MICHIGAN 10

Toledo pulled off one of the bigger upsets of the season as it outgained the Wolverines 327-290. Michigan looked like it was going to strike first as it had a second down at the Rockets five-yard line but Toledo picked off a pass and ran it back 100 yards for a touchdown. Michigan was able to take the lead but the offense was shutout in the second half including a 26-yard field goal that was missed with four seconds left.

(1) Texas 45 (4) OKLAHOMA 35

The Longhorns knocked off number one Oklahoma thanks to great ball control. The Longhorns ran only three more plays from scrimmage but held the ball for over 14 more minutes. The Sooners struck first and led throughout the game until 7:37 remaining in the final quarter when Texas took its first lead. Oklahoma lost the turnover battle 2-0 and went 0-3 on fourth down attempts.

VIRGINIA 35 East Carolina 20

Virginia spotted the Pirates a 6-0 lead before running off four straight touchdowns to take a big lead. East Carolina fought back to pull within eight points and had the ball but fumbled on its own 24-yard line which set up the Cavaliers’ final touchdown to ice the game. Virginia rushed for 202 yards on 33 carries (6.1 ypc) while holding the Pirates to 89 yards rushing on 41 carries (2.2 ypc).

WEST VIRGINIA 17 Syracuse 6

Syracuse won the yardage battle 346-268 but the offense could not convert when needed. The Orange moved into West Virginia territory on each of their last three possessions but turned it over on downs all three times. The Mountaineers were able to take two of those ensuing possessions and tack on the final 10 points of the game to pull it out. Syracuse ran 25 more plays from scrimmage and won the time of possession by over 10 minutes.

(16) KANSAS 30 Colorado 14

Kansas outgained the Buffaloes 407-233 but the game was very much in doubt after three quarters. Colorado pulled to within two points but the Jayhawks were able to answer with back-to-back touchdowns to pull away. The Buffaloes had two turnovers but both were costly as they took place inside the Kansas 30-yard line. Both teams finished an identical 6-15 on third down attempts.

So Carolina 24 KENTUCKY 17

South Carolina won its fourth straight game as it outgained the Wildcats 348-218. Kentucky got the scoring started as it returned an interception 28 yards for a touchdown but South Carolina got it back in the second quarter as it blocked a field goal and returned it for a score. The Wildcats had just 13 first downs, three which came by way of penalty, and they finished only 1-16 on third down attempts.

ARMY 17 Eastern Mich 13

Eastern Michigan took a lead into the half but the offense was shutout in the second half. Army finished with 341 total yards, all of which came on the ground, as it attempted only three passes the entire game. The Eagles had just 255 total yards as they went only 1-14 on third and fourth down combined. Two of those failed fourth down misses came on Eastern Michigan’s final two possessions.

Kansas State 44 TEXAS A&M 30

Kansas St. jumped out to a 27-3 lead and never looked back as it held on for the victory. Despite the win, the Wildcats were outgained 544-449 as they took advantage of Texas A&M mistakes. Kansas St. had a blocked punt that it returned 10 yards for a touchdown and it was able to stop the Aggies twice on fourth down, once at the one-yard line. The Wildcats finished 9-12 on third down.

(14) Utah 40 WYOMING 7

Wyoming dropped its fourth straight game despite outgaining the Utes 252-242. Utah started the scoring as it returned an interception for a touchdown and also added a blocked punt return for a score and ended the scoring on a fumble recovery in the endzone late in the fourth quarter. The Cowboys finished with five turnovers leading to 21 points overall.

Ohio U 26 KENT STATE 19

This game was even in most every aspect as Kent St. outgained the Bobcats 392-379 and the teams both finished with 23 first downs. Ohio held a one-point lead midway through the second quarter before tacking on four straight field goals to build a comfortable lead. The Golden Flashes pulled to within a touchdown late in the fourth quarter and got the ball back but tossed an interception with 21 seconds remaining to end it.

MISS STATE 17 (22) Vanderbilt 14

Mississippi St. snapped a three-game skid by pulling off the upset as the defense completely dominated. The Bulldogs held Vanderbilt to 107 total yards and just seven first downs. Both of the Commodores touchdowns were set up by good field position from returns. Mississippi St. ran 26 more plays from scrimmage and won the clock battle by over 12 minutes. Vanderbilt went only 1-10 on third down.

(7) TEXAS TECH 37 Nebraska 31

Nebraska outgained the Red Raiders 471-421 but lost in overtime. Texas Tech struck first with a touchdown but the Huskers blocked the extra point. On their overtime possession, the Huskers then threw an interception on the second play to end the game. Nebraska used good ball control as it ran 32 more played from scrimmage and held the ball for over 40 minutes. Both teams went 5-5 inside the redzone.

Western Mich 34 BUFFALO 28

Buffalo jumped ahead 21-3 late in the third quarter but the Broncos stormed back in the final period, scoring three touchdowns to send the game into overtime. Western Michigan went 66 yards and scored the tying touchdown with just five seconds left. The Bulls got the ball first in overtime but tossed an interception and the Broncos scored five plays later to end it.


It was ugly but TCU prevailed as the defense held the Rams to 199 total yards and 11 first downs. The Horned Frogs scored touchdowns on two of their first three possessions but the offense could muster nothing after that despite crossing midfield on six of their final seven possessions. Colorado St. scored on its opening possession but failed to produce anything after that.

(10) GEORGIA 26 Tennessee 14

Georgia completely dominated the Volunteers as it won the yardage battle 458-209 and held a 29-10 advantage in first downs. The Bulldogs ran 36 more plays from scrimmage which gave them a 24-minute edge in time of possession. Despite all of this, Georgia took just a six-point lead into the fourth quarter as it was forced to kick field goals. The Volunteers ended with one-yard rushing on 15 carries (0.1 ypc).

(18) NORTH CAROLINA 29 Notre Dame 24

Notre Dame led throughout the game and it outgained the Tar Heels 472-322 but it lost the turnover battle 5-0. North Carolina returned an interception for a touchdown in the third quarter while Notre Dame turned it over on three of the last four possessions, two of which were inside North Carolina territory. The Irish turned it over on fourth down at the Tar Heels 23-yard line in the fourth quarter as well.

(20) Michigan State 37 NORTHWESTERN 20

Michigan St. won its sixth straight game despite getting outgained 459-297. Northwestern committed three turnovers which led to 17 points for the Spartans who worked on a short field all game. Michigan St. had seven scoring possessions and six of those were 42 yards or less and its average starting field position was its own 49-yard line. Northwestern was 15-24 on third down.

(12) OHIO STATE 16 Purdue 3

Ohio St. scored its only touchdown on a 20-yard blocked punt return as Purdue outgained the Buckeyes 298-222. The Boilermakers had two turnovers, missed a field goal and turned it over on downs twice inside Ohio St. territory. The Buckeyes did get inside the Purdue seven-yard line twice but had to settle for a short field goal both times. Ohio St. passed for only 97 yards.

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