Inside the Boxscores is a weekly article by Matt Fargo that has been widely recognized as the best summary of college football. Take an in-depth look at each game and extract the most relevant information that will help you in future handicap games. College football is full of wacky plays, tricky scores, and unexpected endings. Fargo takes you inside the action.
(11) Michigan 47 (2) NOTRE DAME 21
Notre Dame mustered just 245 total yards and committed five turnovers that led to 24 points for the Wolverines. The offense gained 11 yards or fewer on each of its first eight possessions, and Michigan led 34-7 at the time. 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 rushing yards on 17 carries (0.2 ypc).
RUTGERS 24 Ohio U 7
Rutgers started 3-0 for the first time since 1981 when they outscored the Bobcats 300-119 and limited Ohio to just eight first downs. The Bobcats jumped out to an early 7-0 lead thanks to an interception that set up a 17-yard scoring drive. The Scarlet Knights allowed Ohio to have only one drive that went longer than six plays and forced four turnovers. Rutgers finished with three turnovers and a missed field goal.
WASHINGTON ST 17 Baylor 15
Washington St. outscored the Bears 336-246 but it took a last-second field goal for the Cougars to prevail. Baylor trailed 14-9 late in the fourth quarter, but forced a fumble and returned it 40 yards for a score. Washington St. responded with an 81-yard drive to set up the game winner. Both teams committed four turnovers, including a costly Baylor interception at the Cougars 16-yard line.
(20) TCU 12 (24) Texas Tech 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 drives of 48 yards or less. The Red Raiders turned the ball over three times and finished a combined 3-17 on third- and fourth-down conversions. TCU had just 101 passing yards and suffered 12 penalties for a total of 105 yards.
KENTUCKY 31 Ole Miss 14
Mississippi actually outscored the Wildcats 395-380 but mistakes killed the Rebels. They fumbled four times, stopping two scoring drives and also leading to 10 points for Kentucky on the other two. The Rebels also turned the ball over once and threw an interception at the Kentucky 10-yard line. All four of the Wildcats’ touchdown drives were 69 yards or more, so they didn’t get many freebies.
(8) Texas 52 RICE 7
Texas outscored the Owls 493-168 and also used a fumble recovery and punt return for back-to-back touchdowns in the second quarter. The Longhorns called for the ball twice in Rice territory, once at the 1-yard line, which was the only possession they didn’t score on in the first half. The Owls didn’t have a single drive of more than 22 yards until their final possession of the game, where they ran 79 yards for their only touchdown.
Bowling Green 33 FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL 28
Bowling Green outscored the Golden Panthers 403-332 but needed two interceptions in the last two drives to clinch the victory. Florida International returned the opening kickoff of the second half for a touchdown to close 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 by the Falcons.
WASHINGTON 21 Fresno State 20
This game was close throughout and the Huskies were able to block the game-tying extra point for the victory. Washington took the lead early in the fourth quarter before the Bulldogs took the ensuing kickoff and drove for the potential tie. The Huskies clinched the win with a late interception. The Bulldogs also missed a field goal late in the first half that would have been the difference.
Tulane 32 STATE OF MISSISSIPPI 29
Mississippi St. fell behind 32-7 before a big fourth-quarter rally that fell short. The Bulldogs returned a fumble for a touchdown to start the final period scoring and then had their two best drives the next day, but couldn’t get the ball back. Mississippi St. gave up the ball on downs at the Tulane three-yard line late in the third quarter, which could have been the game-winning possession.
SOUTH MISSISSIPPI 37 State of North Carolina 17
Southern Mississippi outscored the Wolfpack 442-274 as the offense crossed midfield on every possession. NC State had three interceptions, two of which came inside the Golden Eagles 33-yard line. The Wolfpack’s best move came at the end of the fourth quarter when the game was already decided. Southern Mississippi didn’t punt once, while the defense held NC State to 77 rushing yards.
OKLAHOMA STATE 48 Florida Atlantic 8
The Cowboys held the Florida Atlantic to just 215 total yards and just 88 yards through the first three quarters as they built a 41-0 lead. The Owls were three and out on eight of their first nine possessions with the only other drive consisting of just five plays. Oklahoma St. rushed for 246 yards on 43 carries (5.7 ypc) and closed out the scoring with a 70-yard touchdown run.
TULSA 28 North Texas 3
North Texas held on 3-0 until the final play of the first half when Tulsa finally got on the scoreboard. The Golden Hurricane had two interceptions and turned the ball over on three of their first four possessions. The defense limited North Texas to just 89 total yards and just six first downs. Mean Green’s only touchdown came from one of those interceptions, resulting in a 26-yard drive.
(22) State of Arizona 21 COLORADO 3
The Sun Devils outscored Colorado 430-219 but had four turnovers, missed a field goal and turned the ball over on opportunities. The first interception led to the Buffaloes’ only points, a field goal that came off a 5-yard scoring drive. Colorado also had three turnovers, including a goal-line fumble and an interception at the 23-yard line. Arizona St. was also plagued by 11 penalties totaling 73 yards.
EAST CAROLINA 35 Memphis 20
East Carolina rallied from a 20-7 deficit and scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns on interception returns. The Pirates outscored Memphis by just 22 total yards, but six Tigers turnovers ultimately led to 28 points. East Carolina did themselves no favors by committing two turnovers inside Memphis territory, missing two field goals and turning the ball over 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 closed 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 their 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 had 500 yards of offense, including 344 rushing yards on 36 carries (9.6 ypc). The Huskies didn’t pull away until early in the fourth quarter when the Bulls’ defense forced three straight punts to keep the game close. Buffalo had two drives stopped inside the Northern Illinois 30-yard line as the running game never got going, 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 remaining for the victory. Florida St. tied the game early in the fourth quarter, but the Tigers drove 85 yards to score the win. 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 outscored Tennessee 320-220, but it took a rally late in the second half to clinch the win. The Gators trailed by 10 points late in the third quarter and finally took the lead with just over six minutes to go. Tennessee got the ball back once more, but threw an interception that fell short. Florida missed two field goals and threw an interception deep in Tennessee territory, killing three other scoring opportunities.
Missouri 27 NEW MEXICO 17
Missouri dominated the Wolves in beating them 396-201, but led by just three points going into the fourth quarter. The Tigers scored two straight touchdowns to pull away before New Mexico scored a garbage in the closing 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 rushing yards on 27 carries (1.2 ypc).
(4) USC 28 (19) Nebraska 10
USC outscored the Huskers 399-211, but the game was still in doubt early in the fourth quarter when Nebraska closed within 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 their own 30-yard line that resulted in a USC touchdown. The Huskers had just 68 rushing yards on 36 carries (1.9 ypc).
Utah 48 STATE OF UTAH 0
Utah outscored the Aggies 401-98 and limited them to just seven first downs. Utah St. reached Utes territory only twice on the night and had its best scoring chance snatched by a fumble at the 17-yard line. In all, the Aggies committed six turnovers that ultimately led Utah to 31 points. . The Utes returned two interceptions for touchdowns while the other three passes were for 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 that 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 intercept. Colorado St.’s two best drives were on goal in the second half, missing a field goal and throwing an interception at the Wolf Pack 25-yard line. Nevada went 8-12 on third-down conversions.
Texas A&M 28 ARMY 24
The Aggies could never get away, but the defense made a save at the six-yard line that ended the game. Army missed that opportunity in addition to settling for a field goal on the previous drive and also throwing an interception at the Texas A&M 10-yard line. The Aggies finished with 262 rushing yards on 44 cavities (6.0 ypc) and 14 of their first 18 attempts were won on the ground.
Navy 37 STANFORD 9
Navy had 368 rushing yards on 69 carries (5.3 ypc), but Cardinal was outscored by just 102 total yards. Mistakes were the problem, as Stanford fumbled twice in his own territory and threw an interception at the Navy 18-yard line. The Midshipmen were in Stanford territory on each of their last eight possessions, but had to settle for three field goals and also turned the ball over at the 10-yard line.
HAWAII 42 UNLV 13
Hawaii jumped out to a 42-0 lead as the Warriors racked up 583 yards of offense. The Rebels scored two rubbish touchdowns with the game almost up, but blew early opportunities. UNLV went 1-6 on fourth down, turning the ball over four times inside 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.