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Inside the Boxscores – Week 4

Matt Fargo’s NCAAF -Inside the Boxscores – Week 4

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.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

LOUISVILLE 38 Kansas State 29

Louisville spotted the Wildcats a 7-0 lead and then reeled off the next 20 points to pull away. The Cardinals racked up 577 yards of offense that included 274 yards passing and 303 yards rushing on 55 carries (5.5 ypc). Kansas St. finished with 343 total yards but only 30 yards rushing on 12 carries (2.5 ypc). Louisville controlled the clock by more than 22 minutes and thus, ran 34 more plays from scrimmage.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

COLORADO 17 West Virginia 14

Colorado jumped out to an early 14-0 lead but the offense was stymied as it was shutout for over 55 minutes before kicking the game-winning field goal in overtime. The Buffaloes did get into West Virginia territory four times after those initial scores but turned it over twice and punted the other two times. The Mountaineers were successful on the ground, rushing for 311 yards on 52 carries (6.0 ypc).

Friday, September 19, 2008

CONNECTICUT 31 Baylor 28

Baylor outgained the Huskies 377-350 in what was a back and forth game right from the start. The Bears took their final lead early in the fourth quarter but Connecticut was able to get the ball back with excellent field position following a punt and drive 29 yards for the winning score. Baylor got it back but failed on a fourth down conversion at the Huskies 39-yard line with just under a minute remaining.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

GEORGIA TECH 38 Miss State 7

It was a nightmare start for Mississippi St. as it committed three turnovers, missed a field goal and turned in over on downs in its first five possessions of the game. Georgia Tech built a 21-0 lead over that span and scored the first 38 points overall before the Bulldogs avoided the shutout by scoring midway through the fourth quarter. Mississippi St. actually had one more first down and was outgained by just 93 total yards.

MINNESOTA 37 Fla Atlantic 3

Minnesota got its revenge in a big way as it broke open a 10-3 game by scoring the final 27 points in the rout. The Gophers outgained Florida Atlantic 441-276 while the defense had four interceptions, the last which was returned 50 yards for a touchdown. In total 21 points were scored off those turnovers. Minnesota crossed midfield in nine of its 11 possessions and finished the game 3-7 on third down.

NC STATE 30 (23) East Carolina 24

The teams were separated by just one total yard so it was fitting the game was decided in overtime. East Carolina led most of the way and built a seven-point lead late in the fourth quarter but the Wolfpack were able to drive 55 yards in their final possession to tie the game. Both teams committed two turnovers but East Carolina had one of its in overtime and NC State scored the winner three plays later.


Northwestern came up with a big defensive effort as it held the Bobcats to 232 total yards including just four yards rushing on 28 carries (0.1 ypc). Ohio also had five turnovers and three missed field goals so there were many opportunities missed. Northwestern did not help matters as it also committed five turnovers but none were turned into points for the Bobcats. The Wildcats finished with only 280 yards of offense.

(14) OHIO STATE 28 Troy 10

Troy actually outgained the Buckeyes 315-309 and it was down by just four points entering the fourth quarter. Field position played a big role as Ohio St. had three touchdown drives of 37, 37 and 27 yards in length. One of those came off an interception, one of two Trojans picks on the day. The other stopped a possible Troy scoring drive on the first possession of the second half.

(12) PENN STATE 45 Temple 3

After a scoreless first quarter, the Nittany Lions poured it on the in the second period, scoring 31 points to run away with it. Penn St. outgained the Owls 546-138 as the defense allowed just 10 first downs and 16 yards rushing on 28 carries (0.6 ypc). Meanwhile, the Nittany Lions rushed for 308 yards on 45 carries (6.8 ypc). Temple was forced to punt 11 times and finished 2-15 on third down attempts.


Iowa outgained the Panthers 361-259 but Pittsburgh used those yards efficiently. In the three touchdown drives, Pittsburgh amassed 207 yards while basically getting shut down in its other 10 possessions. The Hawkeyes were forced to kick two field goals while also missing a 35-yard attempt in the second quarter. Pittsburgh was forced to punt with 2:19 remaining and was able to pin the Hawkeyes on their own one-yard line.

PURDUE 32 Central Mich 25

Purdue escaped with the victory despite getting outgained 440-344. The Chippewas were down a touchdown late in the fourth quarter but drove 53 yards for the score and succeeded at the two-point conversion to take a one-point lead. The Boilermakers returned the ensuing kickoff 39 yards and also got an extra 15 yards on a penalty and scored on a 46-yard run on the next play to pull out the win.

(8) Alabama 49 ARKANSAS 14

Alabama won on the road as it outgained the Razorbacks 402-309 despite running 27 fewer plays from scrimmage. The Tide intercepted Arkansas four times, two of which were returned 63 yards and 74 yards for touchdowns. A third interception set up a short field for another touchdown. Alabama rushed for 328 yards on 35 carries (9.4 ypc) while the defense allowed just 92 yards rushing on 31 carries (3.0 ypc).


Central Florida took a 7-3 lead into halftime thanks to a touchdown on the final play of the half but Boston College dominated the second half. The Eagles ran off 31 unanswered points and the defense limited the Knights to just 82 total yards in the second half. Boston College finished with 404 total yards and doubled the Knights in first downs 24-12 but it was far from perfect, tossing three interceptions and missing a 24-yard field goal.

MARYLAND 51 Eastern Mich 24

 There was no letdown for Maryland as it easily won despite outgaining the Eagles by only 32 total yards and finishing with five fewer first downs. The Terrapins took advantage of a short field most of the day as their average starting field position was their own 43-yard line. Eastern Michigan was able to control the clock for over 11 more minutes but finished only 2-12 on third down attempts.

Akron 22 ARMY 3

The Akron defense limited Army to 223 total yards and 15 first downs while forcing five turnovers with three of those turnovers leading to 16 points. Army turned in over on its final four possessions, three of which occurred in its own territory while the fourth took place in the Akron endzone. The Zips finished with 357 total yards but went 1-9 on third down attempts and committed nine penalties.

(6) MISSOURI 42 Buffalo 21

Missouri outgained the Bulls 590-286 but the game was still in doubt toward the end of the third quarter as the Tigers possessed just a six-point lead. After pulling to within 27-21, Buffalo stopped the Tigers on fourth down but failed to capitalize. The Tigers drove 87 yards on the ensuing possession and scored on their next possession to finally pull away. The Bulls were aided by a 97-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.

(11) B-Y-U 44 Wyoming 0

This game was a lot closer than the final score indicates as the Cougars outgained Wyoming by only 364-273 and had just four more first downs. The Cowboys trailed by only seven points midway through the second quarter, with that touchdown coming on a 64-yard fumble return. BYU was able to tack on three touchdowns in six minutes to pull away and the Cougars scored their final touchdown on a 19-yard interception return.

TULANE 24 UL-Monroe 10

Tulane picked up its first win of the season as it outgained the Warhawks 454-182 and held UL-Monroe to just nine first downs. The score could have been worse but the Green Wave missed three fourth down conversions all in Warhawks territory. UL-Monroe could not move the ball at all in the first half as it was forced to punt on all six possessions while 74 its yards came in garbage time on its final drive.

Arizona 31 U-C-L-A 10

UCLA kept it close for a while as it took a 7-3 lead into the second quarter but the Wildcats defense was too strong. The Bruins scored their lone touchdown on a one-yard fumble recovery. UCLA managed only 196 total yards and 11 first downs while being forced to punt 11 times. The Bruins were also only 4-17 on third down attempts. Arizona finished with just 333 total yards and 15 first downs.

COLORADO STATE 28 Houston 25

Colorado St. jumped ahead 21-0 and the Cougars rally fell short. Houston lost despite outgaining the Rams 473-422 but it was hurt by four turnovers including three in its last five possessions. The Cougars forced a three and out with just over a minute remaining and got down to the Rams 15-yard line before being picked off to end the game. Colorado St. was able to control the clock for almost 15 more minutes.

MICHIGAN STATE 23 Notre Dame 7

Michigan St. jumped ahead 13-0 and Notre Dame was able to pull within six points early in the fourth quarter. The Spartans were then able to drive for a field goal and after a Notre Dame missed field goal, they went 77 yards for their final touchdown. In total, the Irish missed two field goals and turned it over three times which led to 10 Michigan St. points. Notre Dame finished with just 16 yards rushing on 22 carries (0.7 ypc).

NAVY 23 Rutgers 21

Rutgers dropped to 0-3 as turnovers ended up being the difference. The Scarlet Knights were driving at the end of the first half to take a 21-6 lead but fumbled in the endzone. Navy scored touchdowns on its first two second half possessions to take the lead. The Midshipmen went up by two points with a late field goal and Rutgers had a last shot but tossed an interception in Rutgers territory with just over a minute left. 

NEW MEXICO 26 Texas-El Paso 13

New Mexico only outgained the Miners by 48 total yards but it recovered a fumble on the third play of the game that set up a short touchdown drive and also came up with two big fourth down stops. The Lobos were 9-14 on third down conversions and a perfect 4-4 inside the redzone. UTEP went three and out on its first four possessions and fell in a hole it couldn’t recover from. The Miners had 30 yards rushing on 23 carries (1.3 ypc).

Wake Forest 27 OLE MISS 3

Wake Forest won the yardage battle by only 46 total yards but had a short field most of the day. The Deacons average starting field position was its own 41-yard line compared to the 22-yard line for the Rebels. Ole Miss missed a field goal, turned the ball over on downs at the Wake Forest 18-yard line and tossed an interception that set up a one-play, one-yard drive for the Deacons last touchdown.

MARYLAND 14 Florida International 10

Maryland hung on despite getting outgained 310-275. The Golden Panthers had to settle for a short field goal at the start of the fourth quarter and then were stopped at the Maryland nine-yard line on a first and goal after an interception as time expired. Florida International ran 17 less plays and lost the TOP battle by 12 minutes but averaged 5.8 ypp compared to just 3.9 ypp for the Terrapins.

AKRON 33 North Texas 13

The Mean Green actually outgained Akron 287-278 but the Zips jumped out to a 26-0 lead early in the second quarter and coasted the rest of the way. Akron scored touchdowns on its first five drives but managed just 78 total yards in the second half. North Texas had two turnovers inside Zips territory and it also turned the ball over on downs twice at the Akron four-yard line and the eight-yard line.

Mississippi State 16 U-A-B 10

Mississippi St. outgained the Blazers 281-210 but mistakes and lack of execution nearly cost it the game. The Bulldogs had two fumbles inside the UAB 23-yard line and also turned the ball over on downs at the 25-yard line. The Blazers kicked the game-tying field goal with less than two minutes remaining and then got the ball first in overtime but threw an interception which opened the door for the Bulldogs.

SOUTH CAROLINA 45 Florida Atlantic 6

Florida Atlantic scored a touchdown on its opening drive to pull within a point but the Gamecocks ran off the final 38 points for the blowout win. South Carolina outgained the Owls 492-243 and the defense allowed them to cross midfield only twice after that opening score. Florida Atlantic was only 2-14 on third down conversions and finished with only 105 yards through the air.

(21) NEBRASKA 56 Troy 0

Nebraska scored early and often as it registered two touchdowns in every quarter while outgaining the Trojans 597-140. The Huskers rushed for 316 yards on 46 carries (6.9 ypc) and held Troy to just 48 yards on 27 carries (1.8 ypc). Troy crossed midfield only once and that resulted in an interception. Two other turnovers set up a short field for Nebraska who held the Trojans to 1-11 on third down conversions.

(16) OKLAHOMA 59 Middle Tennessee 0

Another blowout saw Oklahoma outgain the Blue Raiders 462-95 in building a 45-0 lead at the break. Middle Tennessee finished with only seven first downs and its furthest penetration was the Oklahoma 42-yard line on its final drive of the game. The Sooners crossed midfield on every possession thanks to their average starting field position of their own 49-yard line.

TEXAS A&M 45 Louisiana Tech 14

Louisiana Tech had a 7-0 lead at the end of the first quarter following a fumble recovery that set up a 24-yard touchdown run. The Aggies, who had just seven total yards in the opening quarter, ran off the next 38 points and scored on six straight possessions. Texas A&M racked up 489 yards of offense and went a perfect 4-4 inside the redzone. The Bulldogs finished 2-14 on third down conversions.


UCLA jumped ahead 16-0 but the Huskies defense took over as it held the Bruins to just 80 yards in the final three quarters. Washington took the lead midway through the fourth quarter and then intercepted a Bruins pass on the very next play and retuned it for a score to pull away. The Bruins got the ball two more times but could manage just two first downs. The Huskies had only 49 yards rushing on 27 carries (1.8 ypc).

KANSAS 13 So Florida 7

Kansas outgained the Bulls 391-309 but it trailed heading into the fourth quarter before two scores put the game away. After a scoreless first half, the Jayhawks took the opening possession of the second half 60 yards to set up a field goal. South Florida responded with the go ahead score before Kansas pulled away. The Bulls had two turnovers inside the Kansas 30-yard line and turned it over on downs at the two-yard line.

SYRACUSE 34 Miami-Ohio 14

Syracuse outgained the RedHawks by just 43 total yards but the defense came up with big stops when needed. The Orange stopped Miami twice on fourth down inside the 35-yard line and also blocked a 35-yard field goal attempt. The defense also returned an interception 27 yards for a touchdown. Syracuse registered eight sacks which dropped the RedHawks net rushing to 31 yards on 29 carries (1.1 ypc).

Army 27 BAYLOR 20

Baylor lost its second straight close game, this one in overtime as it was unable to match an Army touchdown. The Bears tied the game in the final minute of regulation with a 24-yard field goal. Army started the game by getting to the Baylor 19-yard line on its first three possessions but settled for three field goal attempts, making only one. The Bears were hurt by 11 penalties for 107 yards.


Western Michigan held Temple to just 149 total yards and forced four turnovers, two of which led to short touchdown drives in the second half. The Broncos blocked a field goal as time expired in the first half and retuned it for a touchdown. Temple’s only touchdown was set up on a fumbled punt. 13 of the the Owls 14 possessions were five plays or less with 11 of those being 11 yards or fewer.

(5) FLORIDA 26 Kentucky 7

The Wildcats hung around for a half as they trailed by just five points heading into the break. The score should have been a lot worse as the Gators outgained Kentucky 514-249 but they committed two turnovers inside the Wildcats 30-yard line while also turning it over on downs at the 19-yard line. The Wildcats had just 54 total yards in the second half and finished with only 39 yards rushing on 22 carries (1.8 ypc).

(9) L-S-U 49 Tulane 7

The Tigers didn’t dominate as much as the score indicates as they outgained Tulane 373-231 but used two turnovers to set up short touchdown drives. The Green Wave made it inside LSU territory on six of its last eight possessions but two interceptions, a missed field goal and a turnover on downs kept them scoreless until a touchdown on their final drive. LSU was a perfect 7-7 inside the redzone.

NC STATE 17 Boston College 15

The Wolfpack pulled out the improbable victory on a 34-yard touchdown pass with only five seconds remaining. Boston College was down one point early in the fourth quarter and scored a touchdown but missed the two-point conversion which was the ultimate difference. The Eagles outgained NC State by one yard but missed two opportunities inside the Wolfpack 32-yard line with an interception and a turnover on downs.

(22) BOISE STATE 41 Hawaii 34

The offenses dominated as they racked up a combined 991 total yards but it was Hawaii that missed out on numerous chances. The Warriors had three turnovers inside Boise St. territory while turning it over on downs at the Broncos four-yard line. Hawaii pulled to within a touchdown with three minutes remaining but was not able to get the ball back. The Warriors ran 18 fewer plays and outgained Boise St. by 1.6 ypp.

Utah 38 SAN DIEGO ST 7

San Diego St. tied the game at seven late in the first quarter but then Utah scored the final 31 points of the game to pull away. After driving 74 yards for the tying score, the Aztecs crossed midfield only once in their next 10 possessions, gaining just 130 total yards in that span. The Utes turned the ball over twice inside the redzone but did return two of San Diego St.’s five interceptions for touchdowns.

S-M-U 55 Arkansas State 9

The Mustangs racked up 457 yards of offense and held the Indians to just 69 yards rushing on 41 carries (1.7 ypc). Arkansas St. pulled to within a point in the first quarter on a 69-yard touchdown pass but mistakes took over after that. The Indians fumbled the ball four times, twice inside the redzone and their five total turnovers led to 24 SMU points. The Mustangs were 5-5 inside the redzone.

(12) Notre Dame 40 MICHIGAN STATE 37

Notre Dame pulled out a miracle comeback as it scored 19 unanswered points in the fourth quarter including a 27-yard interception return for a score with 2:53 remaining. The Spartans had three turnovers the entire game but all three came on their final three possessions two of which led to touchdowns. Michigan St. got down to the Notre Dame 44-yard line before an interception ended the game.

(3) U-S-C 20 ARIZONA 3

Arizona trailed by just a touchdown early in the fourth quarter despite getting outgained 381-154. The Trojans increased the lead to 10 points and a fumble by the Wildcats late in the period set up a short touchdown drive that put the game away. USC finished 12-18 on third down conversions but missed three scoring opportunities inside the Arizona 30-yard line. The Wildcats had -16 yards rushing on 19 carries (-0.8 ypc).

HOUSTON 34 Oklahoma State 25

The Cougars racked up 509 yards of offense and controlled the time of possession by more than 10 minutes. The Cowboys had two costly fumbles as Houston rallied from a seven-point second half deficit to take a 10-point lead. Oklahoma St. ran 25 less plays but still gained 446 yards on offense and had a whopping 9.1 ypp average. The teams were forced to punt only twice each.


Oregon St. held the Vandals to just 185 total yards and seven first downs while forcing six turnovers. The Beavers returned an interception for a score and had a short field the entire game. Oregon St. had 380 yards of offense and finished with just a 5.2 ypp average. Idaho finished with only 57 yards rushing on 24 carries (2.4 ypc) and was 0-10 on third down conversions.

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