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Inside the Boxscores – Week 7

Matt Fargo’s NCAAF -Inside the Boxscores – Week 6

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.

Saturday, October 11, 2008 (cont.)

(6) U-S-C 28 Arizona State 0

The USC defense was the story here as the Trojans held Arizona St. to 229 total yards including 75 yards rushing on 36 carries (2.1 ypc). The USC offense was far from dominant as it committed five turnovers including four on its first four possessions of the second half. The shutout was preserved as the Trojans blocked two field goals and held the Sun Devils to 3-18 on third down.


The score was not indicative of the actual game played as the Miami defense was stifling, allowing just 78 total yards and 10 first downs. Central Florida scored its touchdowns on a 62-yard interception return as well as a 91-yard kickoff return. The Knights punted 12 times while going 3-18 on third down. Miami didn’t fare a whole lot better as it tallied just 216 total yards and 12 first downs.

CENTRAL MICH 24 Temple 14

Temple actually outgained the Chippewas 301-297 but the Owls finished with four turnovers including three on consecutive possessions of the second half. Central Michigan jumped ahead 14-0 but Temple responded by tying the game thanks to short fields set up by punt returns. The Chippewas finished 3-15 on third down and the Owls ended the game by failing on fourth down on their last two possessions.

NORTHERN ILL 17 Miami-Ohio 13

Northern Illinois jumped ahead 10-0 but the RedHawks came back to take the lead thanks to a punt return for a touchdown. The Huskies took the ball 63 yards for the go ahead score late in the third quarter and the defense was able to stop Miami on fourth down at the 15-yard line with 1:22 remaining in the game. The RedHawks were hurt by 12 penalties for 79 yards.

New Mexico St 48 NEVADA 45

The score tells the story as this was a back and forth game throughout. New Mexico St. outgained Nevada 513-507 and the teams both finished with 28 first downs. The difference came down to turnovers as the Wolf Pack lost the turnover battle 3-1 which led to 10 points for the Aggies. Nevada scored a touchdown with 3:51 remaining to pull within three points but New Mexico St. was able to run out the clock to end it.

Arkansas 25 AUBURN 22

Arkansas outgained the Tigers 416-193 but it needed a big comeback to pull out the win. Auburn scored its first touchdown on a 97-yard kickoff return and eventually built a 20-10 lead early in the third quarter. The Razorbacks scored the next 15 points to take the lead and Auburn had a shot to regain the lead but failed on fourth down at the Razorbacks four-yard line. Arkansas took a safety to provide the final score.

STANFORD 24 Arizona 23

Stanford outgained the Wildcats 438-336 but it needed a late score to pull out the win. With the game tied entering the fourth quarter, Arizona had two great chances to put the game away but had to settle for two short field goals of 22 and 23 yards. Stanford got the ball with 5:41 remaining and drove 60 yards for the winning touchdown with just 25 seconds left. The Cardinal had three turnovers that led to 14 points.

Bowling Green 37 AKRON 33

Bowling Green won the yardage battle 419-367 but it took a big comeback to pull out the win. The Falcons trailed by 13 points entering the fourth quarter and outscored the Zips 23-6 in the final period. Akron had one last chance as it got the ball back with 2:14 remaining but failed on a fourth down at the Falcons 33-yard line. The Zips also failed on a fourth down attempt in their prior possession.

(9) B-Y-U 21 New Mexico 3

After a scoreless first quarter, New Mexico put up the first points but the Cougars defense took over the rest of the way. The Lobos entered BYU territory only twice after that and both times the drives ended on failed fourth down attempts. The Cougars offense gained just 382 total yards but it was enough as New Mexico finished with 285 yards including only 130 yards in the second half.

OREGON STATE 66 Washington St 13

Oregon St. jumped ahead 21-0 in the first quarter but the Cougars took advantage of two interceptions that led to scores to pull within eight points. The Beavers then scored the final 45 points of the game to run away with it. Oregon St. outgained Washington St. 548-132 and had a 26-8 edge in first downs. The Cougars were also guilty of 12 penalties for 145 yards while going just 3-15 on third down.


Arkansas St. had a 23-point lead early in the fourth quarter before the Warhawks made things interesting. They scored touchdowns on consecutive drives to make it a one-possession game. UL-Monroe then forced a punt to get the ball back but failed on a fourth down attempt at midfield. The Warhawks won the yardage battle 396-391 but lost the turnover battle 3-0 with those miscues leading to 13 points.

BAYLOR 38 Iowa State 10

Baylor outgained the Cyclones 435-257 and it pretty much put the game away when it returned the opening kickoff of the second half for a touchdown to take a 28-3 lead. The Bears were very efficient in the passing game, completing 22 of 26 passes despite going only 3-11 on third down. Iowa St. punted on six of its first seven possessions before scoring a late touchdown.

FLORIDA INTL 31 Middle Tennessee 21

Middle Tennessee started the scoring with a field goal but the Golden Panthers then took advantage of mistakes to pull ahead. An interception led to Florida International’s first touchdown and it then returned an interception for a touchdown on the second play of the second half. In total, three interceptions by the Blue Raiders led to 21 points. Middle Tennessee finished with only 72 yard passing.

UL Lafayette 59 NORTH TEXAS 30

UL-Lafayette outgained the Mean Green 590-528 and amassed 338 yards rushing on 47 carries (7.2 ypc). North Texas hung tough for a while as it pulled to within eight points early in the third quarter before the Cajuns scored 24 of the final 27 points of the game. North Texas was hurt by two turnovers in UL-Lafayette as well as a missed field goal. The Cajuns scored one of their touchdowns on a 97-yard kickoff return.

SAN JOSE ST 30 Utah State 7

San Jose St. dominated from start to finish as it outgained the Aggies 401-190. The defense had a shutout going until Utah St. drove 40 yards for a touchdown on its final drive of the game. Over half of the Aggies yards came in the fourth quarter as it did not register a drive longer than 13 yards in their first 11 possessions. Neither team ran well as the Spartans had 87 rushing yards and the Aggies had 71 rushing years.

(5) FLORIDA 51 (13) L-S-U 21

Florida jumped out to a 17-0 lead and never looked back. The Gators outgained LSU 475-321 and the rushing game was the big difference. Florida rushed for 265 yards on 41 carries (6.5 ypc) while the Tigers had 80 yards on 26 carries (3.1 ypc). The Gators scored on four of their five second half possessions as well as returning an interception 52 yards for a touchdown. Florida was a perfect 6-6 inside the redzone.

(8) Oklahoma State 28 (11) MISSOURI 23

Missouri outgained the Cowboys 454-402 but too many mistakes did the Tigers in. They missed two field goals, one in which was blocked and they also tossed three interceptions all in Oklahoma St. territory. The final one came at the Cowboys 31-yard line with 1:41 remaining as Missouri was driving for the winning score. The Cowboys had three turnovers as well but none led to any Missouri points.

Tulsa 37 S-M-U 31

Tulsa remained undefeated as it racked up 602 yards of offense in the come-from-behind victory. SMU took the lead late in the first quarter and did not give it back until the Golden Hurricane picked off a pass and drove 26 yards for the go ahead touchdown. The Mustangs had one last chance but they failed on fourth down at the Tulsa 26-yard line with 54 seconds remaining.

(15) Boise State 24 SOUTHERN MISS 7

All of the scoring took place in the second quarter as turnovers and missed opportunities on both sides ruled the game. After Boise St. went three and out on its first two possessions, it scored on its next four possessions to take a 17-point lead. Southern Mississippi was inside Broncos territory eight times but missed on fourth down twice, tossed an interception and had a field goal attempt blocked.

(3) Penn State 48 WISCONSIN 7

Penn St. rolled yet again despite only outgaining the Badgers 377-313. The Nittany Lions took advantage of four turnovers by Wisconsin as well as returning a punt 63 yards for a touchdown. The Badgers entered Penn St. territory only once in their first 10 possessions and eventually turned it over on three straight possessions in the second half. The Nittany Lions had just one penalty for seven yards.

TEXAS-EL PASO 24 Tulane 21

It was a back and forth game that was close throughout as both Tulane and UTEP finished with 20 first downs. After a three and out on its first possession, Tulane scored touchdowns on its next three drives but was shutout the rest of the way. The Green Wave missed a field goal as well as turned it over on downs at midfield. Tulane finished with 318 yards rushing on 39 carries (8.2 ypc).

Air Force 35 SAN DIEGO ST 10

The Aztecs started strong as they took a 10-7 lead into the break but Air Force poured it on in the second half with 28 unanswered points. The Falcons outgained San Diego St. 473-165 and had a 30-12 edge in first downs. The yardage variance included a 401-35 advantage in rushing yards. The Falcons returned an interception for a touchdown and picked off another pass two plays later that led to another touchdown.

FRESNO STATE 45 Idaho 32

Idaho actually outgained the Bulldogs 452-443 but the Vandals had two costly fumbles inside Fresno St. territory with one of those occurring at the 10-yard line. The Bulldogs had the ball eight minutes less than Idaho and ran 17 fewer plays but they were very efficient as five scoring drives were 63 yards or longer. Fresno St. rushed for 318 yards on 38 carries (8.4 ypc).

OREGON 31 U-C-L-A 24

Oregon dominated the first half as it outgained the Bruins 242-90 and the 14-0 score should have been a lot more but the Ducks missed two field goals. UCLA pulled to within a touchdown on four different occasions in the second half but could not get closer. The Ducks had only 42 yards passing but finished with 323 yards rushing on 46 carries (7.0 ypc).

HAWAII 24 Louisiana Tech 14

Hawaii outgained the Bulldogs 401-358 and took advantage of four Louisiana Tech turnovers. The Warriors ran nine fewer plays from scrimmage yet won the time of possession battle by over 12 minutes. The Bulldogs scored their final touchdown on a fumble recovery with just 19 seconds remaining, the Warriors lone turnover of the game. Hawaii hurt itself with 13 penalties for 127 yards.


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