Inside the Boxscores is a weekly article by Matt Fargo that has been widely recognized as the best summary of college football. He analyzes each game in depth and extracts the most relevant information that will help you to play handicap in the future. College football is full of wacky plays, misleading scores, and surprising finishes. Fargo takes you inside the action.
(11) Michigan 47 (2) NOTRE DAME 21
Notre Dame collected just 245 total yards and committed five turnovers that led to 24 points for the Wolverines. The offense gained 11 yards or less on each of its first eight possessions and by that time, Michigan had a 34-7 lead. The Wolverines’ offense scored just 120 yards in the second half, but it didn’t matter because the game was already over. Notre Dame finished with four yards rushing on 17 carries (0.2 ypc).
RUTGERS 24 Ohio U 7
Rutgers started 3-0 for the first time since 1981, as they outscored the Bobcats 300-119 and held Ohio to just eight first downs. The Bobcats jumped to a 7-0 lead off an interception that set up a 17-yard touchdown drive. The Scarlet Knights allowed Ohio to have just one series that lasted more than six plays and forced four turnovers. Rutgers finished with three turnovers and a missed field goal.
WASHINGTON ST 17 Baylor 15
Washington St. edged the Bears 336-246, but it took a final second field goal for the Cougars to prevail. Baylor trailed 14-9 late in the fourth quarter, but forced a fumble and returned 40 yards to score. Washington St. responded with an 81-yard drive to set up the game winner. Both teams committed four turnovers, including a costly interception by Baylor at the Cougars’ 16-yard line.
(20) TCU 12 (24) Texas Technology 3
The Horned Frogs held Texas Tech’s potent offense to just 281 yards and neither team could find the end zone. TCU kicked four field goals, three of which came on units of 48 yards or less. The Red Raiders turned the ball over on three attempts and finished a combined 3-17 in conversions on the third and fourth down. TCU had just 101 passing yards and was hurt by 12 penalties for 105 yards.
KENTUCKY 31 Ole Miss 14
Mississippi actually outscored the Wildcats 395-380, but the mistakes killed the rebels. They turned the ball over four times, stopping two scoring drives and also led to 10 points for Kentucky in the other two. The Rebels also turned the ball over on downs once and threw an interception at Kentucky’s 10-yard line. The Wildcats’ four touchdown drives were 69 yards or more, so they didn’t get many gifts.
(8) Texas 52 RICE 7
Texas edged the Owls 493-168 and also used a fumble recovery and punt return for consecutive touchdowns in the second quarter. The Longhorns turned the ball over twice in Rice territory, once at the one-yard line, which was the only possession they didn’t score on in the first half. The Owls didn’t have a single drive over 22 yards until their final possession of the game, where they went 79 yards for their only touchdown.
Bowling Green 33 FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL 28
Bowling Green edged the Golden Panthers 403-332 but needed two interceptions in the last two series to secure the victory. Florida International returned the second half kickoff for a touchdown that came within two points, but was never able to take the lead. The Golden Panthers finished with four turnovers, one of which was a fumble return for a touchdown for the Falcons.
WASHINGTON 21 Fresno State 20
This game was closed at all times and the Huskies were able to block the extra point that tied the game to take the victory. Washington took the lead early in the fourth quarter before the Bulldogs kicked off and headed for the possible tie score. The Huskies secured the victory with a late interception. The Bulldogs also missed a field goal late in the first half that would have been the difference.
Tulane 32 MISSISSIPPI STATE 29
Mississippi St. trailed 32-7 before a big rally in the fourth quarter that just fell short. The Bulldogs returned a fumble for a touchdown to start the final period scoring and then had their best two drives the next day, but couldn’t get the ball back. Mississippi St. delivered the ball on downs at the Tulane three-yard line late in the third quarter, which could have been the winning possession.
SOUTH OF MISSISSIPPI 37 State NC 17
Southern Mississippi edged the Wolfpack 442-274 as the offense crossed midfield on every possession. NC State had three interceptions, two of which occurred within the Golden Eagles’ 33-yard line. Wolfpack’s best drive came at the end of the fourth quarter when the game was already decided. Southern Mississippi didn’t clear once, while the defense held NC State to 77 yards on the ground.
STATE OF OKLAHOMA 48 Florida Atlantic 8
The Cowboys limited Florida Atlantic to just 215 total yards and just 88 yards during the first three quarters while building a 41-0 lead. The Owls went three and out on eight of their first nine possessions and the only other series consisted of just five plays. Oklahoma St. rushed for 246 yards on 43 carries (5.7 ypc) and closed the scoring with a 70-yard touchdown run.
TULSA 28 North Texas 3
North Texas was 3-0 until the last play of the first half when Tulsa finally got on the scoreboard. The Golden Hurricane had two interceptions and delivered the ball on downs on three of their first four possessions. The defense held North Texas to just 89 total yards and only six first downs. Mean Green’s only score came on one of those interceptions, resulting in a 26-yard drive.
(22) Arizona State 21 COLORADO 3
The Sun Devils outscored Colorado 430-219, but had four turnovers, missed a field goal and turned the ball over. The first interception led the Buffaloes to just points, a field goal that came off a five-yard scoring drive. Colorado also had three turnovers, including a fumble at the goal line and an interception at the 23-yard line. Arizona St. was also hit by 11 penalties totaling 73 yards.
EAST CAROLINA 35 Memphis 20
East Carolina rallied from a 20-7 deficit by scoring two touchdowns in the fourth quarter on interception returns. The Pirates outscored Memphis by just 22 total yards, but the Tigers’ six turnovers ultimately led to 28 points. East Carolina did themselves no favors by committing two turnovers inside Memphis territory, missing two field goals and delivering the ball on downs once at the 18-yard line.
ALABAMA 41 UL-Monroe 7
Alabama outscored the Warhawks 444-196 and scored the final 31 points after La-Monroe moved within three points midway through the second quarter. After the Warhawks’ touchdown drive, Alabama held them to 63 yards the rest of the way. The Tide scored on his first four possessions of the second half and finished with 219 rushing yards on 43 carries (5.1 ypc).
NORTHERN ILLINOIS 31 Buffalo 13
Northern Illinois racked up 500 yards of offense, including 344 rushing yards on 36 carries (9.6 ypc). The Huskies didn’t pull away until the beginning of the fourth quarter when the Bulls defense forced three consecutive punts to keep the game close. Buffalo had two units stopped within the northern Illinois 30-yard line as the running game never got underway, finishing with 99 yards on 32 carries (3.1 ypc).
Clemson 27 (9) FLORIDA STATE 20
Clemson outscored the Seminoles 345-204, but needed a touchdown with eight seconds left to win. Florida St. tied the game early in the fourth quarter, but the Tigers went 85 yards for the winning score. The Seminoles scored eight points on a blocked PAT and a field goal to keep them in the game. Florida St. finished with just 102 rushing yards on 38 carries (2.7 ypc).
(7) Florida 21 (13) TENNESSEE 20
Florida edged Tennessee 320-220, but it took a rally late in the second half to claim victory. The Gators trailed by 10 points at the end of the third quarter and finally took the lead with just over six minutes remaining. Tennessee got the ball back once more, but threw an interception to fall short. Florida missed two field goals and threw an interception into Tennessee territory, killing three other scoring opportunities.
Missouri 27 NEW MEXICO 17
Missouri dominated the Lobos by beating them 396-201, but led by just three points heading into the fourth quarter. The Tigers scored two touchdowns in a row to walk away before New Mexico scored a garbage score in the final seconds. Before that Lobos touchdown, his only other trip to the end zone was on an 11-yard interception return. New Mexico finished with 33 yards rushing on 27 carries (1.2 ypc).
(4) USC 28 (19) Nebraska 10
USC edged the Huskers 399-211, but the game was still in doubt early in the fourth quarter as Nebraska edged closer to 11 points. The Trojans proceeded to drive 81 yards to secure the final margin. Nebraska missed two golden opportunities for interceptions and also fumbled at its own 30-yard line that resulted in a USC touchdown. The Huskers had just 68 yards rushing on 36 carries (1.9 ypc).
Utah 48 STATE OF UTAH 0
Utah edged the Aggies 401-98 and kept them on just seven first downs. Utah St. came into Utes territory just twice that night and lost its best chance to score on a fumble at the 17-yard line. In total, the Aggies committed six turnovers that ultimately led to 31 points for Utah. The Utes returned two interceptions for touchdowns, while the other three units after turnovers were 38 yards or less.
NEVADA 28 State of Colorado 10
Nevada limited the Rams to just 177 total yards and 10 first downs and errors led to Colorado St.’s only points. The Rams blocked a punt for a touchdown and then kicked a field goal on a two-yard drive that resulted from an interception. Colorado St.’s top two drives came in the second half, but they missed a field goal and threw an interception at the Wolf Pack’s 25-yard line. Nevada was 8-12 in third-down conversions.
Texas A&M 28 ARMY 24
The Aggies were never able to get away, but the defense was stopped with a stop at the six-yard line that ended the game. Army missed that opportunity along with settling for a field goal in the previous drive and also throwing an interception at the 10-yard line at Texas A&M. The Aggies finished with 262 rushing yards on 44 cavities (6.0 ypc) and 14 of their 18 first downs were won on the ground.
Navy 37 STANFORD 9
Navy racked up 368 yards rushing on 69 carries (5.3 ypc) but the Cardinal was outscored by just 102 total yards. Mistakes were the problem, as Stanford fumbled twice in his own turf and threw an interception at the Navy’s 18-yard line. The Midshipmen were in Stanford territory in each of their last eight possessions, but had to settle for three field goals while also searching awkwardly at the 10-yard line.
HAWAII 42 UNLV 13
Hawaii jumped to a 42-0 lead as the Warriors racked up 583 yards of offense. The Rebels scored two garbage touchdowns when the game was almost decided, but the first chances were missed. UNLV finished 1-6 on the fourth down, delivering the ball four times within Hawaii’s 33-yard line. The Rebels also threw an interception on the first play of the second half that was returned for a touchdown.