Posted on

Conference Championship Notes

Conference Championship Notes

Playing for a championship is the goal of every program and eight conference champions will be decided on Saturday. College Playoff berths are not likely on the line in the Conference USA, American, Sun Belt, and Mountain West games but all four contests will be rematches to fill out the championship Saturday schedule. One of these teams should also get called for the top Group of 5 spot in the New Year’s Six.

CONFERENCE USA CHAMPIONSHIP

Match-up: UAB Blazers at Middle Tennessee State Blue Raiders

Venue: At Johnny Floyd Stadium in Murfreesboro, Tennessee

Time/TV: Saturday, December 1, 1:30 PM ET, CBSSN

Line: Middle Tennessee State -1, Over/Under 44½

Last Meeting: November 24, 2018 at Middle Tennessee State (+3) 27, UAB 3

UAB wasn’t playing football two years ago and after a successful bowl season in last year’s re-boot the Blazers look to take another step this season with a division title and a shot a the conference title. Middle Tennessee State is also in the Conference USA Championship for the first time looking to keep a run of four consecutive championships for the East division champion going.

Bill Clark stayed with UAB through the two-year hiatus after coaching the Blazers for his first season in 2014 following one year at Jacksonville State. UAB was perfect at home this season in a 9-3 campaign though the team enters this game off back-to-back losses, falling 41-20 to Texas A&M and then in last week’s game in Murfreesboro. Senior quarterback A.J. Erdely miss three November games before returning last week with freshman Tyler Johnston filling in with similar numbers as both could see the field this week.

Rick Stockstill won a Sun Belt title in his first season with the program in 2006 and this will be his first trip back to a championship game, leading mostly successful results over now 13 seasons with an 87-76 record and no losing seasons in Conference USA play. Last year’s team had a lot of potential but his son Brent was injured most of the year. Back as a senior quarterback the younger Stockstill has posted terrific numbers this season and he missed most of the one conference game the Blue Raiders lost at Florida International.

These schools are only about 200 miles apart as a good crowd should be expected even with some potential rain in the forecast for Saturday.

Regular Season Meeting: These teams met just last week on the same field. The incentives were vastly different however as Middle Tennessee State needed to win to get to this game and shortly after kickoff knew that Florida International had lost to make it a win-and-win-the-division-title game. UAB had already clinched its division and had little at stake last week and it showed, ultimately posting only 89 net yards of offense and not scoring again after taking a 3-0 lead on the opening drive in an eventual 27-3 result.

Series History: UAB won last season’s meeting 25-23 while Middle Tennessee State has won four of seven meetings since 1995 with a 3-2 ATS run in lined games since 2000.

Showing all 9 results

Sort By
Show per page

AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP

Match-up: Memphis Tigers at Central Florida Knights

Venue: At Spectrum Stadium in Orlando, Florida

Time/TV: Saturday, December 1, 3:30 PM ET, ABC

Line: Central Florida -3, Over/Under 65

Last Meeting: October 13, 2018, Central Florida (-4½) 31, at Memphis 30

This will be the fourth meeting in two seasons for these programs with UCF looking to extend the nation’s longest winning streak to 25 games with a second straight conference title. The storyline however will be the absence of quarterback McKenzie Milton who was injured for UCF in last week’s win over South Florida.

In last year’s championship game these teams put on a show with Milton helping to deliver a 62-55 win in double-overtime with both teams eclipsing 700 yards of offense in a game with several big swings. UCF has won the regular season meetings the past two years as well, getting a lopsided home win last year and this year winning in Memphis by one-point with a second half comeback.

The Tigers are one of the nation’s top rushing teams with Darrell Henderson posting 1,699 yards so far and Memphis posting 6.4 yards per carry for nearly 276 yards per game. Replacing a highly productive quarterback, junior Brady White has been effective in his first season after transferring from Arizona State. Freshman Darriel Mack will start at quarterback for UCF with Milton out. Mack did play in entire game in the win over East Carolina but that has been his only meaningful action this season. He is much bigger than Milton and a serious rushing threat but likely not nearly the same caliber performer in the passing game at this point in his career.

Regular Season Meeting: In a highly anticipated rematch of the 2017 championship game Memphis took command early with a 30-14 edge until just before halftime. UCF trimmed the deficit to just six points in the third quarter and then took a one-point lead in the fourth. Memphis fumbled twice in the second half to wind up shut out in the second half at home and losing despite a 281-165 rushing edge.

Series History: Central Florida has won S/U 12 meetings in a row in this series going back to 2005 with the last win for Memphis coming in 1990 when UCF was not playing at the top college football level. Memphis has gone 4-2-1 ATS in the seven meetings going back to 2010.

 

Showing all 2 results

Sort By
Show per page

SUN BELT CHAMPIONSHIP

Match-up: UL-Lafayette Ragin’ Cajuns at Appalachian State Mountaineers

Venue: At Kidd Brewer Stadium in Boone, North Carolina

Time/TV: Saturday, December 1, 12:00 PM ET, ESPN

Line: Appalachian State -18, Over/Under 59

Last Meeting: October 2, 2018 at Appalachian State (-25½) 27, UL-Lafayette 17

The Sun Belt split into two five-team divisions this season and will join the Championship Weekend with the inaugural title game this weekend after often featuring a full regular season schedule in this final weekend in previous years. There was great drama in determining the division champions this season with last week’s results meaningful and the heavy Sun Belt favorite to open the season, Arkansas State, did not make it.

Scott Satterfield led a 4-8 FCS squad in his first season in Boon in 2013 but has had a winning season every year since the program jumped to the FBS level in 2014. The Mountaineers are 3-0 in bowl games the past three years and 39-11 the past four years combined while going 28-4 in Sun Belt play in that span. Expect Satterfield to field interviews from prominent openings if he so chooses as he has done a remarkable job. This year may have been his best work as the roster appeared to be in a major transition with the loss of several key players from last season.

The one game in Sun Belt play that Appalachian State lost came without quarterback Zac Thomas at Georgia Southern and the numbers were dominant for the Mountaineers with a 255-108 scoring record in going 7-1 in league play. Appalachian State went 5-0 at home on the season and nearly upset Penn State in the opening week on the road.

Louisiana started the season 1-3 but losses at Mississippi State and at Alabama certainly are forgivable. The Ragin’ Cajuns beat Arkansas State at home 47-43 and last week earned this spot by besting rival UL-Monroe on the road 31-28. The Ragin’ Cajuns played both Appalachian State and Troy on the road for a difficult crossover draw and lost both games by 10 points in lower scoring games. In going 5-3 in Sun Belt play Louisiana outscored foes by just 24 points while being outscored overall on the season despite being 7-5.

Regular Season Meeting: As a massive home favorite Appalachian State led just 17-10 at the half before pulling away. The final score was 27-17 but Louisiana scored with 63 seconds to go to make the final margin tighter, though the yardage edge for the Mountaineers was modest at 372-328. The ground game was the key with a 266-140 rushing advantage for the Mountaineers at home.

Series History: These teams have met each of the last five years with five straight wins for Appalachian State, going 3-2 ATS including 2-1 in the home meetings.

Showing all 9 results

Sort By
Show per page

MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERNCE CHAMPIONSHIP

Match-up: Fresno State Bulldogs at Boise State Broncos

Venue: At Albertson’s Stadium in Boise, Idaho

Time/TV: Saturday, December 1, 7:45 PM ET, ESPN

Line: Boise State -2½, Over/Under 50½

Last Meeting: November 9, 2018, at Boise State (+2½) 24, Fresno State 17

These teams met in the Mountain West title game last season with a 17-14 win for Boise State with a 90-yard touchdown drive for the lead late in the fourth quarter. That was after Fresno State defeated Boise State at home the previous week to close the regular season. These teams also met in the 2014 MWC Championship, also a win but missed cover for Boise State.

The stakes are potentially higher this season as if UCF loses to Memphis now playing without its star quarterback, the victor of this game could be the highest rated Group of Five squad in line for a New Year’s Six bowl bid. Boise State is currently 22nd while Fresno State is 25th in those rankings. UCF is 8th and could potentially hold the highest ranked spot with a loss though that would be an unusual precedent to set as they wouldn’t be a conference champion and would likely look like a much less promising team without Milton.

Marcus McMaryion and Brett Rypien are both in the nation’s top 12 in QB Rating and both seniors are coming to the close of excellent seasons and careers. They have combined to throw only 10 interceptions in nearly 800 attempts. Defense has been the key for Fresno State however, second nationally allowing just 13.5 points per game with a significant edge in pass defense relative to Boise State. The Broncos are 119-7 S/U at home since 1999 for truly the toughest home field edge in the nation however.

Regular Season Meeting: As a rare home underdog Boise State fell behind 17-3 early in the third quarter. The Broncos rallied to win in the fourth taking a 24-17 edge while Fresno State had a missed field goal while getting stopped on downs in Boise territory on its final two possessions. Boise State had a 448-390 edge in yards and committed the only turnover in the game.

Series History: Boise State is 15-4 S/U in this series since 1996 with a 13-5 ATS record however Fresno State has covered in four of the past five meetings. This will be the MWC Championship matchup for the third time in the last five years with a 28-14 win for Boise in 2014 and a 17-14 win over Boise last season with the Broncos hosting all of those games. Fresno State did win S/U hosting Boise State in the regular season in 2013 and 2017 but has not won in Boise since 1984.

Showing all 9 results

Sort By
Show per page

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted on

MAC Championship Preview

MAC CHAMPIONSHIP PREVIEW

Championship weekend kicks off in Detroit with the MAC Championship Game Friday night in Detroit. Northern Illinois has now represented the West in seven of the last nine title games while this is just the second appearance for Buffalo. Here is a look at Friday’s closely-lined championship game in the MAC.

 

Match-up: Northern Illinois Huskies at Buffalo Bulls  

Venue: At Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan

Time/TV: Friday, November 30, 7:00 PM ET, ESPN2

Line: Buffalo -3, Over/Under 49

Last Meeting: 2017, at Northern Illinois (-8) 14, Buffalo 13

 

Buffalo has been the prominent MAC team all season since starting the year 4-0 with notable wins at Temple and at Rutgers. The Bulls started 6-0 in conference play to take a commanding lead in the East but slipped up at Ohio in mid-November before clinching the division title last weekend. At 10-2, it has been the best season record-wise in Buffalo history already and the Bulls will have two more opportunities to add to the win count.

 

This if the fourth season for Lance Leipold who won six Division III championships in eight years at Wisconsin-Whitewater and figures to be a candidate to be interviewed for major conference positions in the near future. Buffalo went 5-7 and 2-10 in his first two seasons before reaching 6-6 last year without getting a bowl invite.

 

Rod Carey took over Northern Illinois for the Orange Bowl at the end of the 2012 season after Dave Doeren was hired at NC State. In six-plus seasons he is 51-29 with the Huskies finishing in the top three in the West every season while this will be his fourth MAC title game, going 1-2 in three straight appearances from 2013 to 2015. A bowl win has eluded Carey, winless in five tries but the program has been a consistent force in the conference.  

 

The Dollar General Bowl in Mobile vs. a Sun Belt team has been the typical landing spot for the MAC Champion though there are not true ranked bowl tie-ins for the MAC. The Camellia, Famous Idaho Potato, Frisco, and Bahamas Bowls are also tied to the MAC with the conference featuring seven bowl-eligible teams including six that are at least 7-5 this year.

 

Showing all 9 results

Sort By
Show per page

West champion Northern Illinois is just 7-5 but the Huskies lost non-conference games to Iowa, Utah, and Florida State, while beating BYU for one of the nation’s most difficult non-conference schedules. The Huskies held this spot despite losing its final two MAC games to slide to 6-2 in league play, falling in single-score games hosting Miami and at Western Michigan in the final two weeks.

 

Northern Illinois has the top scoring defense in the MAC, allowing just 19.8 points per game while Buffalo was one of the conference’s top offensive teams, posting 35.5 points per game in conference play. These teams didn’t play in the regular season this year but Buffalo did face Eastern Michigan and Toledo in the crossover games for a fairly difficult schedule. Northern Illinois drew Ohio and Miami as both teams faced the second and third place teams from the opposing divisions.

 

Experienced mobile quarterbacks are on both sides with sophomore Marcus Childers playing significantly last season as a freshman for Northern Illinois. He posted worse numbers across the board this season however despite a similar record for the Huskies. Junior Tyree Jackson threw nearly twice as many touchdown passes this season compared with last season for Buffalo but he also saw major declines in most of his passing numbers compared with last season. At 6’7” Jackson is a difficult matchup for any defense but the Huskies have had great defensive numbers this season.

 

Only Clemson is allowing fewer yards per carry than Northern Illinois at just 2.6 yards per rush attempt on the season. The Huskies were only out-gained on the ground three times this season and never in MAC play with only Iowa, Florida State, and BYU holding a ground edge in this matchup while in six of eight MAC games Northern Illinois had a rushing edge of at least 96 yards.

 

Dominating the ground game has been the key to beating Buffalo this season as in the team’s two losses they had a major rushing deficit. In September Army out-gained Buffalo by 178 rushing yards and won 42-13 in Buffalo while in mid-November Ohio out-rushed Buffalo by 280 yards in a 52-17 result that prevented the Bulls from clinching the division at the time.

 

Showing all 9 results

Sort By
Show per page

Despite the 6-2 record Northern Illinois played almost exclusively close games in MAC play with seven of eight games decided by 10 or fewer points in either direction. The only lopsided result was a home win over 2017 MAC Champion Toledo but that game featured nearly identical production but a few big turnovers and special teams plays tilting the scales to the Huskies. Northern Illinois actually has a negative scoring differential on the season despite being 7-5, though they outscored MAC foes by an average of 5.3 points per game.

 

Buffalo outscored foes by an average of 11.0 points per game overall this season and 10.9 points per game in MAC play. Buffalo scored at least 31 points in nine of ten wins this season while five of seven wins for Northern Illinois came with 26 or fewer points scored by the Huskies as these teams have generally been in contrasting types of contests and whoever dictates the pace could have the advantage.

 

2017 Meeting: In mid-October Northern Illinois visited Buffalo and took 14-3 lead with a pair of early second quarter touchdown drives led by Marcus Childers who ran for the first score and threw for the second. Buffalo would answer with 10 points before halftime including getting a field goal following a fumble for a one-point game at the break, 14-13. Northern Illinois had 1st-and-goal early in third quarter before a Childers fumble and on the next possession the Huskies missed on a 43-yard field goal. Buffalo got zero points after an 81-yard drive early in the fourth quarter with a missed field goal that could have taken the lead and a few minutes later an interception in Huskies territory also cost the Bulls a chance to get in front. Northern Illinois missed another field goal in the final minutes as the 14-13 edge held after a scoreless second half filled with missed opportunities.

 

Series History: Northern Illinois is 10-0 S/U in this series since Buffalo joined the FBS ranks with the Huskies 7-3 ATS. Northern Illinois has been favored by at least seven points in every previous meeting as this will be the first time Buffalo has been favored in this series and in eight of the previous 10 meetings Northern Illinois has been favored by 14 or more points.

 

MAC Championship History: The MAC Championship has been won by the West representative in eight of the last 12 seasons and Northern Illinois has been six of the previous eight MAC championships, winning the title in 2011, 2012, and 2014, with the last title under current head coach Rod Carey.  

Showing all 2 results

Sort By
Show per page

Posted on

4th Quarter Covers – NCAA Week 13

4th Quarter Covers – NCAA Week 13

11/25/2018

Glancing at the scoreboard won’t tell you the whole story in most games. Here are some of the games that went down to the wire relative to the spread in the fourth quarter last week in the final big college football weekend. Each week there are several teams that cover despite not necessarily deserving it, as well as other teams that played much better than the final score shows.

Miami, OH (-14½) 42, Ball State 21: This Tuesday night game was tied at halftime as heavy favorite Miami scored two touchdowns in the final four minutes of the first half to erase a 21-7 deficit. Miami took over in the third quarter to lead by 14 on a spread that was as high as -17½ early in the week. In the fourth the Redhawks got past the number with a 95-yard touchdown drive to lead by 21 and then held off two late Ball State drives into Miami territory.

Iowa (-8½) 31, Nebraska 28: The spread on this game dived from -10 down to as low as -7½ and the halftime score was right in that range with a 21-13 Iowa edge. Iowa went up by 15 early in the third quarter but then was stopped going for it on 4th down at the Nebraska 3-yard-line to keep the Cornhuskers in the game. Nebraska completed a 98-yard touchdown drive to get back within eight and looked poised to get closer early in the fourth before an interception in Iowa territory. Iowa wasn’t able to extend the lead as a 37-yard field goal was missed and the Huskers went 80 yards to tie the game, successfully converting the two-point conversion. Iowa was able to methodically burn the remaining clock while giving kicker Miguel Recinos a shot at redemption and he hit from 41 yards for the Iowa win as time expired, though the underdog earned the cover.

Texas (-15) 24, Kansas 17: With a spot in the Big XII title game on the line Sam Ehlinger played for the Longhorns but it was a flat start with just a 7-0 edge at halftime. Texas was able to score twice late in the third quarter to get to 21-0 but Kansas wound up with 17 points in the fourth quarter including 10 points in the final four minutes to steal the underdog cover, though with just a 297-296 yardage edge for Texas as the Jayhawks deserved the close scoring result.

Showing all 2 results

Sort By
Show per page

Central Florida (-14½) 38, South Florida 10: UCF took an early 17-0 lead but South Florida trimmed the margin to 17-10 late in the third quarter in a game where star Knights quarterback McKenzie Milton left with a serious leg injury. UCF would run the ball with great success and turned a 14-point edge at the start of the fourth quarter into a 38-10 final result.

Memphis (-10) 52, Houston 31: There were wild swings in this game as a 7-0 Houston edge early turned to a 17-7 deficit before Houston scored twice in two minutes late in the second quarter to lead 21-17 at the half. A back-and-forth game continued in the third quarter with the score knotted at 31-31 through three quarters. Houston posted three scoring drives in the fourth quarter leaning on Darrell Henderson while Houston’s final two drives ended stopped on downs and with an interception. The Tigers will head back to the AAC Championship game for a rematch with UCF while finishing well past the favorite spread that jumped from -7 to -10.

Virginia Tech (+5½) 34, Virginia 31: Looking to snap a long drought in this series the Cavaliers botched some early opportunities with a red zone fumble and then on an interception return at the end of the half, Tim Harris was caught by quarterback Ryan Willis short of the end zone as the Hokies kept a 14-0 edge at the break. Virginia would score touchdowns on four straight possessions to start the second half to lead 28-24 with seven minutes to go facing a spread that fluctuated in between -3½ and -5½. The Cavaliers then forced a fumble and an interception on the next two possessions for the Hokies, eventually adding a field goal to lead by seven with just over two minutes to go. Virginia Tech hit a 45-yard pass to get into the red zone and then on a rush approaching the end zone a forced fumble that would have effectively ended the game for the Cavaliers was recovered for a touchdown by the Hokies. In overtime Virginia Tech went first and didn’t gain a yard but hit the 42-yard field goal, leaving those laying the points with the Cavaliers in need of a second session. The Hokies came up big on defense forcing another turnover to keep bowl hopes alive while maintaining the winning streak in this rivalry.

Oklahoma (-3) 59, West Virginia 56: This game for a spot in the Big XII title game lived up to expectations with a high scoring back-and-forth affair. A defensive touchdown gave Oklahoma the early edge with a 35-28 halftime advantage but West Virginia tied the game early in the third quarter and had a 49-45 lead through three quarters. It would be defense that again delivered for Oklahoma with a 48-yard fumble return touchdown with 10 minutes to go for a 10-point edge. West Virginia climbed back within three to match the closing spread though most Sooners backers likely had a number below -3. Oklahoma picked up a 4th-and-5 conversion just past midfield and then got another first down to end the game with the three-point edge.

Clemson (-25½) 56, South Carolina 35: Highly ranked Clemson was tested in a back-and-forth first half vs. South Carolina with the Tigers eventually posting 744 yards but not exactly looking like a championship contender on defense with the Gamecocks also reaching 600 yards of offense. The Tigers led by just seven at halftime and by 21 through three quarters but a 98-yard touchdown drive put the Tigers up by 28 and past the favorite spread early in the third quarter. The Gamecocks scored the next 14 to get back within the number as a late Tigers touchdown wasn’t quite enough to get past the heavy favorite spread.

Showing all 9 results

Sort By
Show per page

Marshall (-3½) 28, Florida International 25: The Herd led 14-0 early with the help of a interception return touchdown playing as a slight road favorite with a closing line of -3½ though most books opened with FIU as a slight favorite. Marshall scored on a blocked punt late in the third quarter to lead by 11 but early in the fourth the Panthers got a touchdown and a two-point conversion to trail by just three. Marshall answered with a four-minute drive to lead by 10 but FIU again scored to get back within three with about five minutes remaining. The Herd burned the remaining clock and got inside the 10-yard line of FIU but didn’t need to add points and took a knee for a common line push though the hook was added on Saturday for many.

Northwestern (-14½) 24, Illinois 16: With a championship game on deck Northwestern was sluggish early but two touchdowns in the final four minutes of the first half put the Wildcats up 21-6 and then a third quarter field goal made the margin 18 points on a spread that opened at 18 and dipped to 14½ by kickoff. Illinois would add 10 points in the fourth quarter in a game where the Illini had a production edge and actually had the ball inside the Northwestern 20-yard-line late with a potential chance to tie before an interception.

NC State (-7½) 34, North Carolina 28: These nearby rivals were tied 21-21 through three quarters and 28-28 late in the fourth quarter. NC State opted to punt across midfield in the final minute to play for overtime and the move paid off as the Tar Heels went first in overtime and missed a field goal. Much of the week the NC State was just -6 and that was the final margin with a Wolfpack rush into the end zone that preceded some spirited post-game activity in the end zone between the teams.

Liberty (-6) 28, New Mexico State 21: Liberty stormed out to a 17-0 lead in the first quarter of this same-season rematch. New Mexico State would score on a kickoff return touchdown and an interception return touchdown to get back in the game before the end of the first quarter. Liberty moved ahead 28-14 by halftime facing a spread that dropped from -9 all the way to -6 by kickoff. With less than a minute to go the Aggies found the end zone on a 4th-and-goal play to land in the middle of the potential numbers.

Showing all 9 results

Sort By
Show per page

Boise State (-2½) 33, Utah State 24: Boise State led 17-7 early as just a slight favorite at home with a spot in the Mountain West Championship on the line. Through three quarters the lead was trimmed to six points and Utah State hit a field goal early in the fourth to trail by three. Boise State scored halfway through the final frame after getting a red zone 4th down conversion but a bad snap cost the Broncos the PAT for just a nine-point advantage. A pair of punts followed but with about three minutes to go the Aggies connected for an 83-yard touchdown to suddenly trail by just two. The Aggies had converted a 4th-and-1 from their own 24-yard line and hit the big play on 2nd-and-25 after a pair of penalties for what looked like a miracle score for those getting the points with Utah State, with a two-point margin thanks to Boise missing on the PAT earlier in the quarter. A 59-yard run put Boise State inside the Utah State 10 in the final minute and eventually facing 4th down with only eight seconds to go the Broncos opted to go for it from the 1-yard-line rather than kicking a field goal. Both types of scores would have been enough for Broncos backers and Alexander Mattison made it a moot point by pounding into the end zone to secure the home favorite win and cover.

California (-11½) 33, Colorado 21: The Bears had a pair of touchdowns on interception returns in the first two minutes of the game and then added another short field score to lead 21-0 as Colorado’s hopes of making a bowl game were extinguished quickly. The Buffaloes kept things interesting relative to the spread however as they scored two touchdowns in the third quarter to cut the margin to just six points after trailing 24-7 at halftime. The Cal offense barely topped 200 yards in the game but converted a red zone 4th down via penalty and added a touchdown for a 12-point edge, failing going for two to sit right near the spread that opened at -11, reached as high as -12½, and closed at -11½. The Buffaloes would reach midfield on a late possession but didn’t add points for a 12-point final margin that led to mixed spread results.

Stanford (-7) 49, UCLA 42: The Cardinal extended its lead to 41-27 late in the third quarter but the Bruins added nine points late in the quarter with a safety and a subsequent kickoff return touchdown to make it a five-point game into the fourth quarter. The Bruins took a one-point edge with a 90-yard touchdown drive five minutes into the fourth quarter but didn’t get the conversion. A minute later Stanford hit a 52-yard pass for a touchdown and the Cardinal got the two-point attempt for a seven-point edge in a critical play with a spread that bounced between -6½ and -7 for the road favorite. UCLA missed a long field goal try on its next possession and was stopped on downs on two late drives in Stanford territory as the Cardinal escaped with the seven-point edge holding.

Texas A&M (-3) 74, LSU 72: The Aggies led by seven after the second and third quarters but a defensive score for LSU tied the game early in the fourth quarter. LSU would take a 31-24 lead in the final frame and then stopped the Aggies on 4th down in LSU territory with just over two minutes to go. LSU only burned a minute off the clock before punting and Aggies delivered a big finish surviving an interception that was overturned on review and then converting a 4th-and-18. One second was put back on the clock for Texas A&M after a Kellen Mond spike and he hit Quartney Davis for the tying touchdown. The game would eventually go to seven overtimes with some big conversions on both sides to reach a basketball level final score. In the seventh session LSU scored on just one play but didn’t get the two-pointer to lead by just six. The Aggies got the tying score and then got a pass interference call on the first two-point conversion try. The Aggies then had a false start but found the completion for the go-ahead conversion though it wasn’t quite enough for Aggies backers who crossed or reached the favorite number going first in the second, fourth, and sixth overtimes but couldn’t end the game on defense.

Showing all 9 results

Sort By
Show per page

Notre Dame (-14) 24, USC 17: With all the pressure on Notre Dame as a heavy road favorite, USC led 10-0 early before the Irish got on the board just before halftime. Notre Dame was composed out of the break and scored 10 points to take a seven-point edge into the fourth quarter. On a spread that climbed from -8 to -14 Notre Dame made the margin 14 with a 51-yard passing touchdown with just over three minutes remaining to put most on the favorite in position to collect. USC didn’t fold however and on 3rd-and-10 in the final minute the Trojans hit a 20-yard strike to get back within the number.

Alabama (-26½) 52, Auburn 21: Alabama hasn’t had to do much 4th quarter scoring this season but after Auburn cut the margin to 10 points late in the third quarter Alabama turned it back on with three consecutive touchdowns on just eight offensive snaps to make it a 31-point margin with nine minutes to go in the game. Auburn gained some yardage late but wasn’t a serious backdoor threat late on two drives across midfield as the Iron Bowl wound up with a blowout final score and the heavy favorite snagging the cover.

UNLV (+14) 34, Nevada 29: The Wolf Pack led 23-0 early in this game but only took a 26-21 edge into halftime. UNLV kept the momentum and led through three quarters. A field goal put Nevada in front by one in the fourth quarter but with Armani Rogers back UNLV completed a late long drive to secure the upset while Nevada’s last threat ended with an interception.

Arizona State (-1) 41, Arizona 40: The Sun Devils opened as a 3-point favorite but the line dipped down to just -1 in this rivalry game with Arizona looking to earn a bowl spot. The line differences didn’t seem to matter with Arizona in front 40-21 through three quarters, missing on a two-point conversion tries when they were up 12 in both the second and third quarters. Those missed points came back to bite as Arizona State engineered a remarkable comeback with 20 points in the fourth quarter, with the final two scores following Arizona turnovers with the lead. After ASU went in front 41-40 with three minutes remaining, Khalil Tate led the Wildcats in position for a 45-yard field goal but the go-ahead kick was missed.

Posted on

Free NCAA Pick Saturday

#220 Florida Atlantic -17 over Charlotte 5:00 PM CT

After Thursday’s loss at North Texas, the 2017 Conference USA champions need to win this game to make a bowl game. The Owls have much better statistics than the record suggests, outscoring conference foes by 37 points despite the 3-4 record. Charlotte was once 4-4 but now sits at 4-7 and Brad Lambert will not be retained the school announced after the 42-35 loss to Florida International. A lot of narrow losses filled the conference campaign but the 49ers might not have much left in the tank. In Boca Raton the Owls are 11-1 S/U and 8-4 ATS since losing the season opener last season and nine of those 11 wins have come by 18 or more points. Charlotte has not won a road game since November of 2016 with a 0-12 S/U and 4-8 ATS run with nine of those losses coming by double-digits.

Showing all 9 results

Sort By
Show per page

Don’t miss Nelly’s college football Game of the Year for Saturday coming off a 6-1 weekend last week. We hit our sixth consecutive 2* winner yesterday and we are on a 13-6 3* college football run since December 2015 while 4-0-1 in our last five college or bowl GOY picks.

Also check out the next 20* from the Big E in Conference USA – 9-4 this season in 20* & higher picks! Maximum has a rare 10* Game of the Month today to build on a huge college football season while Point Train has a late night 5-unit pick looking to add to nearly 70 units of profit this season!

Showing all 2 results

Sort By
Show per page

 

Posted on

Free NCAA Pick Early Saturday

#204 Baylor +5.5 over Texas Tech 11:00 AM CT

Texas Tech has won by double-digits the past two seasons in this series after losing five in a row from 2011 to 2015. A season that has featured many promising moments comes down to this game for Kliff Kingsbury however. Both teams are 5-6 as a spot in the postseason is on the line in what feels like a critical season for Kingsbury.

Showing all 9 results

Sort By
Show per page

Baylor failed in a great opportunity at home last week with the Bears now losers of four of the past five. Texas Tech has much better scoring numbers in league play but has lost four in a row and the offense just hasn’t been as successful without Alan Bowman at quarterback including posting only 181 of offense last week at Kansas State.

Showing all 9 results

Sort By
Show per page

Baylor was burned by three turnovers last week to lose hosting TCU but the previous week the Bears posted over 500 yards of offense against one of the best defenses in the Big XII in a 28-14 loss at Iowa State. The Bears also have wins over Kansas State and Oklahoma State while competing very well at Texas with the only lopsided losses on the season coming at Oklahoma and at West Virginia. Texas Tech got to host those games as the Bears drew one of the tougher schedules in the conference.

Showing all 2 results

Sort By
Show per page

Posted on

Thursday College Football Preview

Thursday Night College Football – Mississippi State at Mississippi

Mississippi State and Mississippi will be playing on Thanksgiving night for the second straight season as one of nation’s longest uninterrupted rivalries will be featured in the final Thursday night regular season game of the season. The Egg Bowl features great intensity and has featured numerous memorable games in recent years. Here is a look at Thursday Night Football between Mississippi and Mississippi State.

Match-up: Mississippi State Bulldogs at Mississippi Rebels

Venue: At Vaught-Hemingway Stadium in Oxford, Mississippi

Time/TV: Thursday, November 22, 7:30 PM ET ESPN

Line: Mississippi State -11, Over/Under 59

Last Meeting: 2017, Mississippi (+15) 31, at Mississippi State 28

After a post-game brawl in 1926 Ole Miss and Mississippi A&M (now Mississippi State) created a Golden Egg trophy for the victor although the rivalry game wasn’t referred to colloquially as the ‘Egg Bowl’ until 1979. While both programs have had some ups and downs the 2014 meeting was one of the high points of the rivalry with two highly ranked teams with #19 Ole Miss upsetting then #4 Mississippi State 31-17. This year’s game doesn’t carry the same weight but the intensity on the field will remain strong.

After a messy off-season in 2017 Matt Luke took over as the interim head coach for Ole Miss with the Rebels finishing 6-6 after winning this season finale vs. a ranked Mississippi State squad for the third win in the past four years of this rivalry. Luke was retained to lead the program moving forward and it has been an up-and-down season. A win this week at home will get the Rebels to 6-6 again though Mississippi is still in the midst of a postseason ban.

Showing all 2 results

Sort By
Show per page

There were big changes for Mississippi State ahead of this season as Dan Mullen departed after nine solid seasons in Starkville, taking over at Florida. Joe Moorhead was hired to lead the program following a four-year stint as Fordham’s head coach from 2012 to 2015 while serving as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Penn State under James Franklin the previous two years.

Moorhead inherited a great senior quarterback in Nick Fitzgerald to lead his offense but while Fitzgerald has been productive, he hasn’t had the same statistical success he had in his best season in 2016. He’ll likely surpass his rushing and passing totals from last season by the end of the season but his per carry average has gone down substantially, as has his passing completion rate.

Despite Moorhead’s offensive background the Bulldogs are 7-4 mainly thanks to the SEC’s second best scoring defense, allowing just 16 points per game in league play. 28 points allowed at Kentucky in the SEC opener has been the season high allowed by the Bulldogs, who held Alabama to a season low 24 points earlier this month. Mississippi State has only scored 17 points per game on average in SEC play however as the least productive offensive team in the entire SEC.

Mississippi has averaged nearly 37 points per game this season although just 25 points per game in SEC play. The Rebels are surrendering more than 36 points per game however and in SEC play that average is nearly 42 points per game as this matchup will feature a great clash of style and pace.

Mississippi is just 1-6 in SEC play only beating Arkansas and that win featured a wild comeback, trailing by nine with five minutes to go. Ole Miss has lost the past four games but two of those results have been single-score games including losing in overtime last week at Vanderbilt.

Showing all 9 results

Sort By
Show per page

Jordan Ta’amu has been very productive at quarterback for the Rebels as he’ll likely eclipse 4,000 yards passing this week, while posting nearly 9.6 yards per attempt. Ta’amu isn’t the ground presence that Fitzgerald is but he has rushed for 366 yards while Scottie Phillips is close to 1,000 rushing yards out of the backfield. A. J. Brown leads a talented receiving corps with 81 catches for 1,259 receiving yards, the fifth most yards nationally.

Mississippi State can clinch a winning season in SEC play with a victory this week to get to 5-3 with Mullen surprisingly only topping 4-4 in SEC play once in nine seasons in 2014. The Bulldogs would also finish at worst tied for third in the SEC West with a win with Mullen only finishing above 4th place in that 2014 season to potentially boost its bowl standing.

2016 Meeting: This was a bowl elimination game between 5-6 teams last season in Oxford. It was a back-and-forth first half with a 27-20 lead for Mississippi State. That score held until just over five minutes to go in the third quarter before the Bulldogs went on a 28-0 run the close the game for a somewhat misleading 55-20 final result. Mississippi State had just a 566-528 yardage edge and benefitted from a 2-1 turnover edge including a 4th quarter pick-six. Nick Fitzgerald rushed for 258 yards and accounted for five touchdowns while current Michigan quarterback Shea Patterson threw for 320 yards for the Rebels but had two interceptions to match his two touchdowns.

Last Season: Mississippi took an early 10-0 lead but the Bulldogs got a pair of field goals before halftime to trail 10-6.  A.J. Brown and D.K. Metcalf scored on receptions of 77 yards and 63 yards from Jordan Ta’amu in the final eight minutes of the third quarter as the Rebels led 24-6. Mississippi State made a late rally to close to within three points with just over a minute remaining but didn’t get the on-side kick attempt. Mississippi State had a 501-355 edge in yardage and a 27-11 edge in first downs but had five turnovers.

Historical Trends: Ole Miss owns a 21-17 S/U and 22-15-1 ATS edge in this series since 1980 including winning and covering in four of the past six meetings. Mississippi State won 55-20 two years ago in Oxford but is 2-7 S/U and 2-6-1 ATS in the last nine road meetings in this series. This will be the biggest road favorite spread for the Bulldogs in this series as far back as there is data to 1980. Mississippi State is 1-5 ATS in the past six games as a double-digit favorite including losing 28-7 at Kentucky this September in the most recent instance. Mississippi is 0-5 ATS in the past five games as a home underdog including going 0-2 S/U and ATS this season. Mississippi is 8-5 ATS as a double-digit home underdog since 2006.

Showing all 9 results

Sort By
Show per page

 

 

 

Posted on

4th Quarter Covers – NCAA Week 12

4th Quarter Covers – NCAA Week 12

11/18/2018

Glancing at the scoreboard won’t tell you the whole story in most games. Here are some of the games that went down to the wire relative to the spread in the fourth quarter last week in the 12th college football weekend. Each week there are several teams that cover despite not necessarily deserving it, as well as other teams that played much better than the final score shows.

North Texas (-4½) 41, Florida Atlantic 38: In a rematch of last season’s Conference USA championship game, North Texas stormed out to a 17-0 lead as a slight favorite that climbed from -2½ to -4½. The Owls battled back to take a 21-20 lead in the second quarter and led 24-20 early in the third quarter with scoring drives of 29 and 22 yards following rare Mason Fine interceptions. North Texas posted back-to-back touchdowns to go up by 10 but Florida Atlantic climbed back within three by the start of the fourth quarter. The Owls would miss a potential tying field goal later in the fourth quarter and then with about four minutes remaining, DeAndre Torrey broke loose for a 92-yard touchdown run to put the Mean Green up by 10. The lead didn’t last as in three plays plus a personal foul Florida Atlantic went 73 yards to trail by only three. North Texas had to punt the ball back in the final minutes but sealed the game with an interception, though it wasn’t quite enough for most on the home favorite.

Showing all 9 results

Sort By
Show per page

Memphis (-8) 28, SMU 18: With a total of 75 fireworks were expected Friday night in this AAC West showdown. Offense didn’t materialize until late however as Memphis led 7-5 at halftime and 14-12 through three quarters. Memphis pulled ahead 21-12 early in the fourth and then put the game away with another 4th quarter score to lead by 16. SMU went 75 yards in five plays to get back within 10 and had the ball back in the final minutes. SMU crossed midfield but a pair of penalties and a sack forced the Mustangs to go for it on 4th-and-38 on their final play.

Boise State (-22) 45, New Mexico 14: The Broncos scored on a fumble return and added a field goal before halftime to turn a 14-7 edge into a 24-7 advantage. Boise State was up 31-7 through three quarters to sit just past the road favorite spread but New Mexico got on the board with an 86-yard punt return touchdown. The third turnover of the day for New Mexico handed Boise State a short field and the Broncos slipped past the favorite spread with a 41-yard touchdown run and for good measure the Broncos added another touchdown with just over a minute remaining.

Wisconsin (+3½) 47, Purdue 44: Purdue led by 11 heading into the fourth quarter and pulled ahead by 14 with a field goal with 10 minutes remaining. The Badgers put together a touchdown drive to trail by seven with fewer than seven minutes remaining and the defense stepped up to force a 3-and-out. Jonathan Taylor picked up 35 yards on 1st down and Jack Coan delivered three completions as Wisconsin tied the game with fewer than three minutes remaining. Purdue got 35 yards on first down but stalled at the Wisconsin 40 and opted to punt and Wisconsin was able to avoid disaster pinned deep managing to get into overtime. Both teams scored touchdowns quickly in the first two sessions but Purdue was held to a field goal going first in round three. A pair of Taylor runs completed the comeback for the Badgers with a huge day for the nation’s leading rusher.

Georgia (-42) 66, Massachusetts 27: The Bulldogs had 42 points by halftime and led 59-13 late in the third quarter. Massachusetts hit a big play as time expired in the third to take a 39-point deficit in the final frame. Georgia added an early touchdown to get past the heavy favorite spread again but UMass answered and Georgia methodically burned nearly nine minutes of game clock to complete the win without giving the ball back though they also failed to add points, falling just short of the massive number.

Showing all 9 results

Sort By
Show per page

Kentucky (-15) 34, Middle Tennessee State 23: The Wildcats were past the spread in the first quarter with a 17-0 edge and led 31-10 late in the third quarter before a Middle Tennessee State touchdown put the margin right on the number as the Blue Raiders missed the PAT. Middle Tennessee State would get within a single-score with an early touchdown in the fourth quarter to trim Kentucky’s lead to eight but the Wildcats added a field goal to lead by 11 with four minutes remaining, though it wasn’t enough to cover and the Blue Raiders were a much bigger threat to add late points, reaching the Kentucky 5-yard-line in the final minute.

Wyoming (-3) 35, Air Force 27: After a tight first half Air Force took control of this game with a 10-point lead through three quarters, and that lead was extended to 14 points after a short field goal with about nine minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. Wyoming would complete a long drive with 4:32 to play to close to within six and the defense forced a 3-and-out. With a big 4th down conversion in their own territory the Cowboys eventually connected for a 22-yard touchdown pass with just over a minute remaining, taking a one-point lead that wasn’t quite enough for the favorite spread of -2½, eventually even closing at -3 at some outlets. Air Force threw a 1st down interception and Wyoming would add a late touchdown run on the short field for the improbable favorite cover.

Appalachian State (-27) 45, Georgia State 17: The Panthers hit a 52-yard field goal late in the third quarter to trail by only 21 but the Mountaineers scored two touchdowns in the first three minutes of the fourth quarter to lead by 35. Appalachian State was still ahead of the number after a Georgia State touchdown with eight minutes to go and they didn’t give the ball back with a 13-play drive to run out the clock.

Showing all 5 results

Sort By
Show per page

Oklahoma State (+6) 45, West Virginia 41: With a lot of attention on the home finale with Oklahoma, West Virginia was in control in Stillwater up 31-14 at halftime and still leading by 10 halfway through the fourth quarter. The Cowboys trimmed the margin to three just after the five-minute mark and the Mountaineers stalled near midfield with a false start penalty making it 4th-and-11 and necessitating a punt. With more than two minutes remaining the Cowboys went 75 yards in seven plays to take the lead with 42 seconds to go. Will Grier led the Mountaineers to the red zone and had one final shot with one second remaining from the 14-yard-line but the pass was broken up to shake up the Big XII standings.

Southern Miss (-2) 21, Louisiana Tech 20: The Bulldogs led 17-14 at the half before a scoreless third quarter. Louisiana Tech added a short field goal early in the fourth to lead by six, closing as a 2-point underdog but actually favored most of the week until flipping on Saturday. With Jack Abraham back at quarterback Southern Miss went 85 yards in 14 plays to take more than seven minutes off the clock, taking a one-point lead with six minutes to go. Louisiana Tech crossed midfield on its final possession but opted to punt on 4th-and-10 and didn’t get the ball back as Southern Miss burned the final four minutes for the one-point win, with mixed spread results depending on the timing.

Florida State (+3) 22, Boston College 21: Boston College led by one through three quarters and seemingly was in control after an 18-play drive put the Eagles up by eight early in the fourth quarter, closing as a 3-point favorite in Tallahassee, though early in the week the line flipped back-and-forth between -1 on either side. Florida State managed a field goal to close to within five with 12 minutes remaining and the defense forced consecutive Boston College punts. Getting the ball back with two and a half minutes to go the Seminoles picked up a first down then connected for a huge play, striking for a 74-yard touchdown. Up one, Florida State went for two and failed as the one-point edge would prove to be the final margin.

Showing all 2 results

Sort By
Show per page

Nebraska (-2) 9, Michigan State 6: The Huskers flipped to the favorite role Friday night and failed to score until the fourth quarter. Michigan State had a 6-0 edge in windy conditions in Lincoln. One of several unsportsmanlike penalties in a testy game gave the Huskers good field position after the kickoff and with a 35-yard gain on 1st down, Nebraska was able to get on the board with a field goal. Michigan State fumbled a few plays later and suddenly Nebraska had tied the game 6-6 with eight minutes to go after being unable to find the end zone despite 1st-and-goal from the 2-yard-line. Kicking into the wind Michigan State had a marginal 3-and-out and punt as Nebraska had good field position again and despite gaining only 23 yards, the Huskers went in front with a 47-yard kick from Barret Pickering. The Spartans gained yardage on its final two possessions but had their final threat end on downs on the Nebraska 29-yard-line as the Huskers picked up a narrow comeback win.

UCLA (+3) 34, USC 27: USC led 27-21 through three quarters at the Rose Bowl after settling for a 22-yard field goal. After an exchange of punts, the Bruins were buried at their own 3-yard-line early in the fourth quarter but eventually took the lead thanks to a 55-yard run from Joshua Kelley. JT Daniels was picked off on the next snap for USC but the Trojans stayed in the game as UCLA had to settle for a 19-yard field goal for a four-point edge. The Bruins had a quick 3-and-out however and UCLA added another three points to lead by seven. USC was a threat to force overtime reaching the UCLA 29-yard-line in the final minute but the Bruins defense held on.

Clemson (-29½) 35, Duke 6: The Blue Devils provided an early scare with a 6-0 lead but Clemson scored just before halftime to make a 14-6 advantage. The Tigers would add two third quarter touchdowns and early in the fourth quarter Clemson went up 35-6 for a 29-point margin on a spread that opened at -27 and reached as high as -29½.

No product found.

Oregon (-3½) 31, Arizona State 29: The Ducks led 28-13 at halftime and wound up with a substantial production edge late Saturday night. Arizona State chipped away with a third quarter field goal and then got a short field touchdown following a muffed punt, one of four Oregon turnovers on the day. That put the Sun Devils within five but Oregon was able to add a field goal to push the lead up to eight points. Arizona State converted a big late 4th down and wound up in the end zone with about four minutes to go. The Sun Devils had to go for two and the tie but couldn’t convert. Oregon threw an interception near midfield to give the Sun Devils another shot. Arizona State couldn’t take advantage as they fumbled on a third down sack and Oregon was able to run out the clock for the win but failed cover with the late melt.

Vanderbilt (-3) 36, Mississippi 29: The Commodores led by seven through three quarters but Mississippi rallied late and wound up tying the game with 40 seconds remaining in a game the Rebels had a substantial yardage edge in. Vanderbilt needed only three plays to score a touchdown in overtime but the Commodores gave Ole Miss a big gain on first down with a penalty. The Rebels couldn’t deliver however ending the game with three straight incomplete passes.

Hawai’i (-7) 35, UNLV 28: The Warriors fell behind 21-3 hosting UNLV but battled to within eight by the start of the fourth quarter. UNLV scored early in the fourth on a short field drive to lead by 15 but Hawai’i eventually responded with a 64-yard touchdown pass, plus the two-point conversion to trail by seven. Up seven halfway through the final quarter UNLV aggressively went for it on 4th-and-1 just across midfield and came up short, giving the Hawai’i the opportunity to tie the game with about four minutes to go. The Warriors forced a punt and hit another big play to suddenly go in front by seven on a spread that fluctuated between -6½ and -7.

 

Posted on

4th Quarter Covers NCAA Week 11

4th Quarter Covers – NCAA Week 11

Glancing at the scoreboard won’t tell you the whole story in most games. Here are some of the games that went down to the wire relative to the spread in the fourth quarter last week in the 11th college football weekend. Each week there are several teams that cover despite not necessarily deserving it, as well as other teams that played much better than the final score shows.

Boise State (+2½) 24, Fresno State 17: As a rare home underdog Boise State trailed 17-3 just after halftime hosting Fresno State in Friday’s big Mountain West contest. A long touchdown drive put the Broncos back within seven late in the third quarter and then the Broncos defense forced a punt. The Broncos then posted another long touchdown drive to tie the game early in the fourth quarter. The defense got a big third down stop near midfield and then for the third consecutive possession went the distance against Fresno State’s great defense to lead 24-17 with nine minutes to go. Fresno State had a 50-yard field goal blocked on its next possession but was able to get the ball right back. The Bulldogs had a new set of downs at the Boise State 28-yard line in the final minutes but took a 3rd down sack and failed on 4th-and-long as Boise State held on.

Texas A&M (-13½) 38, Mississippi 24: After a 96-yard fumble return touchdown Ole Miss led 21-14 in the third quarter but the Aggies tied the game and early in the fourth quarter went up by three with a long field goal. The Rebels missed a tying kick with seven minutes to go from just 22 yards and Texas A&M made it a 10-point game a few plays later. Ole Miss got back within seven with a field goal just after the two-minute mark to seemingly seal the underdog cover but on a short field after the failed on-side kick attempt, Travyeon Williams broke free for a 46-yard touchdown run to put A&M up by 14. Ole Miss would reach the Texas A&M 22-yard-line in the finals seconds but came up empty.

Iowa State (-17) 28, Baylor 14: The Bears wound up out-gaining Iowa State 505-355 and didn’t have a turnover yet they had just seven points entering the fourth quarter, with two early missed field goals a factor. After a third quarter brawl that led to key players on both sides getting ejected, Baylor would add an early fourth quarter touchdown to get within the spread. The Bears couldn’t get any closer as they were stopped on downs inside the 20 on two different late possessions.

Eastern Michigan (-13) 27, Akron 7: After a scoreless third quarter Eastern Michigan led Akron just 10-7 but with the Zips pinned deep the Eagles scored on a short interception return touchdown to lead by 10 and then following another interception, scored seconds later to fly past the favorite spread. Eastern Michigan added another field goal for the 20-point final in a game where Akron wound up with only 90 net yards on offense.

Showing all 2 results

Sort By
Show per page

Indiana (-1) 34, Maryland 32: Indiana led 31-15 halfway through the third quarter but Maryland made a valiant comeback, ultimately taking the lead 32-31 with about five minutes remaining and failing going for two after the second touchdown after successfully converting a two-point conversion late in the third quarter. Indiana did just enough to get into field goal range with Logan Justus hitting from 42 yards to give Indiana a two-point edge as a very slight favorite. Maryland crossed midfield on its final possession but fumbled on a sack as the Hoosiers held on.

Duke (-8) 42, North Carolina 35: Both teams had big production in this game but after a high scoring first half Duke settled in defensively and took a 42-28 lead heading into the fourth quarter. The Tar Heels were stopped on downs at the Duke 31 but were able to get the ball back and eventually completed a 16-play touchdown drive to climb within seven with just over a minute remaining. The on-side kick failed and Duke was on the edge of field goal range and opted to go for it on 4th-and-12, ultimately winding up with an interception to give the Tar Heels another shot. North Carolina reached the Duke 39-yard-line before running out of time.

Alabama (-22) 24, Mississippi State 0: This line fell from as high as -26 but Alabama led by just 21 at the and failed to add points in the third quarter. On back-to-back drives Mississippi State went for it on 4th downs near midfield and came up short, handing Alabama good field position and the Tide eventually added a field goal to go up 24-0. With just over a minute to go Alabama had the ball back inside the Mississippi State 10 but ultimately failed to add points going for it on 4th-and-goal.

Air Force (-14) 42, New Mexico 24: A defensive score put the Lobos back in the game trialing by 11 entering the fourth quarter. Air Force fumbled on its next possession to give New Mexico the ball right back but the Lobos couldn’t take advantage. Air Force eventually added a touchdown with 10 minutes remaining to slip past the favorite spread and New Mexico didn’t threaten late.

Florida Atlantic (-17½) 34, Western Kentucky 15: A lot of points were left off the board by Florida Atlantic who led just 17-9 through three quarters despite ultimately posting nearly 600 yards of offense. In the fourth the Owls took control of the game with 10 early points to lead by 18 with this spread at -18 or -18½ much of the week before closing at -17½. Western Kentucky would score with about six minutes to go to close to within 12, missing on the two-point conversion. The Owls broke a late 77-yard run to go back up by 19 to pass up the favorite spread.

Showing all 9 results

Sort By
Show per page

Old Dominion (+15½) 34, North Texas 31: The Mean Green stormed out to a 28-0 lead in this game, favored by -14 most of the week before a late rise. The Monarchs managed 10 points in the final three minutes before halftime to stay in the game however. Old Dominion scored first in the second half but North Texas hit a field goal to go back up by 14. Old Dominion kept the pressure on with a quick touchdown drive. Then on the next two possessions North Texas had a fumble and then after an Old Dominion field goal trimmed the lead to four points, the Mean Green failed going for it on 4th-and-1 just short of midfield. With 15 seconds to go the Monarchs found the end zone to complete the comeback for a stunning upset.

UL-Lafayette (-13½) 36, Georgia State 22: This was a two-point game through three quarters but the Ragin’ Cajuns scored three touchdowns in the first eight minutes of the fourth quarter to lead 36-14, going for two on the third score up by 22 and unable to get it. The spread on this game opened at -13 and reached as high as -14½ before settling at -13½. With just over four minutes to go Georgia State completed a 75-yard touchdown drive and down 16 opted to go for two in an important play for many. Aaron Winchester hit Diondre Champaigne for the conversion for a 14-point final margin.

Ohio State (-3) 26, Michigan State 6: The final score looks like a blowout but Ohio State led by just 7-6 late in the third quarter before getting nine points on defense with a safety and a fumble return touchdown in the span of just two minutes bridging the start of the fourth quarter. The Buckeyes added a field goal to go up 19-6 and then scored a touchdown with just over a minute to go to create a misleading 26-6 result.

Clemson (-18) 27, Boston College 7: Boston College scored on an early punt return touchdown to lead 7-3 but Clemson only trailed for a few minutes, getting back in front 13-7 by halftime. The Tigers added a touchdown early in the third quarter and then in the fourth got a punt return touchdown of their own to lead by 20, slipping past the heavy favorite spread.

Showing all 9 results

Sort By
Show per page

Utah (-6) 32, Oregon 25: The Utes relied on kicker Matt Gay for five field goals to lead 22-17 through three quarters. The Ducks took a 25-22 lead halfway through the fourth following a blocked punt. Utah would answer as freshman quarterback Jason Shelley led a quick touchdown drive to put Utah up by four, short of the closing number on a spread that climbed from -3 to -6 during the week. Oregon had to go for it on 4th down just past midfield and Utah did enough for Gay to add one more field goal for a seven-point win and favorite cover.

Georgia (-13½) 27, Auburn 10: Auburn led 10-6 late in the second quarter but with a few big breaks Georgia scored two touchdowns in the final three minutes before halftime to lead 20-10 at the break for a huge swing. That edge would hold through a scoreless third quarter before Auburn hit on a 77-yard run to go up by 17. On a meaningless late possession Auburn reach the Georgia 35-yard-line and threw to the end zone on 4th-and-4, getting a pass interference call but the flag was surprisingly picked up and ruled an uncatchable pass to end the game.

Texas (-2) 41, Texas Tech 34: The Longhorns led by seven at the half and by 17 though three quarters and after an exchange of touchdowns Texas still led by 17 halfway through the fourth quarter. Texas Tech added a field goal to get back within two scores and then got an on-side kick and made the most of the opportunity with a touchdown to suddenly trail by only seven. The Red Raiders forced a 3-and-out and scored again in just five plays to tie the game. With still nearly two minutes remaining Sam Ehlinger used his arm and legs to get Texas to the edge of field goal range and with 21 seconds left Lil’Jordan Humphrey made a leaping catch and dove into the end zone for the Texas win.

LSU (-13) 24, Arkansas 17: LSU managed to pull away in the third quarter to take a 24-3 lead but Arkansas climbed back in the game late with an early fourth quarter touchdown and then a score to cut the margin to just seven with still more than five minutes remaining. LSU managed to burn the entire remaining clock and ultimately took a knee at the Arkansas 1-yard-line after Nick Brossette was stopped just short of the goal line.

Stanford (-25) 48, Oregon State 17: The Beavers scored twice right before halftime to trail just 34-17 and they clung to the underdog cover trailing 41-17 through three quarters. The Cardinal added a fourth quarter touchdown to go up by 31 after Oregon State missed a field goal. Oregon State had a late shot to get back within the closing number but failed on 4th down from the Stanford 25-yard-line in the final minute.

Showing all 9 results

Sort By
Show per page

Posted on

Thursday NCAA – Temple at UCF

Thursday Night College Football – Temple at UCF

10/30/2018

This week’s Thursday night ESPN game comes out of the American Athletic Conference with a pair teams that have matching 4-0 records in the AAC East. Temple visits Central Florida tonight in a game that could decide the division title as the Knights host Thursday night football looking to extend a 20-game winning streak.

Match-up: Temple Owls at Central Florida Golden Knights

Venue: At Spectrum Stadium in Orlando, Florida

Time/TV: Thursday, November 1, 7:30 PM ET ESPN

Line: UCF -10½, Over/Under 61

Last Meeting: 2017, UCF (-12) 45, at Temple 19

A spotlight opportunity for Central Florida Thursday will give the team with the nation’s-longest winning streak a chance to make its case for College Football Playoff consideration in front of a larger audience. Going 13-0 last season, UCF is 7-0 this season for 20 consecutive wins since losing in bowl action in December of 2016. The Knights are 13-7 ATS in that span including 7-4 ATS in home games.

It has seemingly been an easy transition for former Missouri offensive coordinator Josh Heupel taking over the program after Scott Frost left for Nebraska after just two seasons in Orlando. The Knights needed a big comeback for a 31-30 win at Memphis but that has been the only drama on the field in the 7-0 start with every other win coming by at least 20 points.

UCF is up to #9 in both the AP and Coaches Polls but there is no realistic shot for UCF to get serious national playoff consideration. Not that it would have made a big difference but a road game at North Carolina was cancelled in September to deplete the schedule further as the only power conference win came at home against Pittsburgh. That 45-14 results looks a bit stronger at this point in the season with Pittsburgh looking like an a decent ACC team but unless there is major chaos in the major conferences down the stretch or  several upsets on championship Saturday, it seems unlikely that a potential 12-0 UCF team will even be considered for the final four.

Making the assumption that the Knights will run the table is a big leap as the toughest AAC games of the season remain in a stacked November schedule starting this week. Home games with Navy and Cincinnati follow before a road finale at South Florida. UCF would then need to beat the West champion, likely Houston in the AAC title game.

Showing all 9 results

Sort By
Show per page

Quarterback McKenzie Milton was a surprise scratch for the last game at East Carolina on October 20. Milton was discussed early in the season as potential Heisman candidate but his numbers this season haven’t come close to matching his great 2017 figures. He is averaging 1.2 fewer yards per pass while posting only 16 touchdowns after throwing 37 last season while not even a third of the way to last season’s rushing total. Information on his injury has been limited and he has been considered day-to-day this week. The Knights threw for just 111 yards without Milton in the win over East Carolina, leaning on the ground game with 316 rushing yards with freshman Daniel Mack taking over at quarterback.

Expectations were high for Temple this season in the second season under Geoff Collins. Losses to FCS Villanova and Buffalo started the season but the Owls have rallied to win five of the last six games with the only loss at Boston College. Wins over Maryland and Navy on the road were impressive and in the last game Temple snuck out a fortunate narrow win over Cincinnati to move to 4-0 in conference play.

Like UCF, Temple still has a tough remaining schedule as even if they win this game there would be no guarantee they could hold on to the division title with Cincinnati and South Florida close behind at 3-1. Temple still plays South Florida in mid-November and will also have a tough crossover game with West leader Houston next week.

Temple is also dealing with key injuries with running back Ryquell Armstead and defensive tackle Freddie Booth-Lloyd question marks this week. Armstead leads the team with 626 rushing yards despite missing the past two games and they have missed his production with the Owls posting only 3.8 yards per rush on the season but Armstead averaging 5.1 yards per carry. UCF is one of the nation’s top rushing teams with 5.8 yards per attempt and 261 yards per game as Armstead would be important in helping the Owls keep pace on the ground.

Showing all 9 results

Sort By
Show per page

Temple is the surprise national leader in yards per pass attempt allowed defensively, surrendering only 4.5 yards per pass attempt as even if Milton plays, UCF is likely going to have to lean on the ground game. The Owls have 24 sacks and eight interceptions while allowing only nine passing touchdowns. Only Michigan has held opposing quarterbacks to a lower QB Rating this season.

Against a lighter schedule UCF also has very good numbers defending the pass. Frank Nutile took over at quarterback last season with success for the Owls but after a slow start sophomore Anthony Russo moved into the starting role for Temple. Russo has good size but has been mistake-prone with 10 interceptions in 191 pass attempts this season. Russo has been intercepted at least once in every game he has started but he also has eight passing touchdowns in his last three games while throwing for nearly 800 yards in those three conference wins.

Both teams had close calls in the last games played on October 20. Temple saw a 10-0 lead disappear hosting Cincinnati and trailed 17-10 most of the second half before tying the game in the final minute and winning in overtime. UCF’s 37-10 win over East Carolina was closer than it looked. Playing without Milton UCF led 23-10 through three quarters and caught a few big breaks late as East Carolina fumbled on the goal line with the ball returned for a touchdown the other way turning a potential one-score game into a 20-point lead. The Knights were actually out-gained 496-427 but had a 5-0 turnover advantage and still wound up narrowly covering as a heavy road favorite.

Showing the single result

Sort By
Show per page

Last Season: After a 3-5 start to the season Temple won back-to-back games to start November before playing as a double-digit home underdog against undefeated UCF. Temple led 10-7 in the second quarter before UCF rattled off 24 straight points before halftime and eventually won 45-19. Temple actually had a 397-384 yardage edge in the game but had a 5-0 turnover deficit. That win moved the Knights to 10-0 before they turned in three straight seven-point wins over South Florida, Memphis, and Auburn to complete the perfect season.

Historical Trends: These schools have met each of the last five years with UCF going 3-2 S/U and ATS. Temple won the last meeting in Orlando with a 26-25 win in 2016 as a slight underdog. Temple is 28-14 ATS since 2007 as a road underdog including going 2-0 ATS this season and 8-3 ATS since 2015. UCF is 30-18 ATS as a home favorite since 2010, including going 22-13 ATS as a double-digit home favorite, with a 3-1 ATS mark in that role this season.

 

 

Posted on

4th Quarter Covers – NCAA Week 9

 4th Quarter Covers – NCAA Week 9

10/21/2018

Glancing at the scoreboard won’t tell you the whole story in most games. Here are some of the games that went down to the wire relative to the spread in the fourth quarter last week in the ninth big college football weekend to close October. Each week there are several teams that cover despite not necessarily deserving it, as well as other teams that played much better than the final score shows.

Minnesota (+2½) 38, Indiana 31: Off to a 0-4 Big Ten start after a 3-0 non-conference run, Minnesota played behind backup quarterback Tanner Morgan with strong results, leading 21-9 at halftime and extending that lead to 31-9 through three quarters as the underdog cover seemed all but certain. The Hoosiers hit a big play early in the fourth to cut the margin to 31-15, failing going for two and Minnesota followed with a fumble to hand Indiana good field position. Six plays later the Hoosiers were within a single-score getting a touchdown and the two-point conversion to trail 31-23 with still 10 minutes remaining. The quarterbacks traded interceptions and Minnesota had to punt in rainy conditions to give Indiana the ball back near midfield with about seven minutes remaining. Peyton Ramsey led the touchdown drive and with another successful two-point conversion, the game was tied with about four minutes to go. Minnesota again had a 3-and-out with all the momentum in favor of Indiana but the Hoosiers opted to run three times despite the success in the passing game and didn’t pick up a first down. Minnesota got the ball back with fewer than two minutes on the clock and took a shot on 1st down, connecting for a 67-yard touchdown. Ramsey was sacked on 1st down with Minnesota recovering a fumble to seal the win despite the wild fourth quarter collapse.

Pittsburgh (+2½) 54, Duke 45: Duke led 21-10 late in the second quarter before Pittsburgh connected for a 50-yard touchdown pass to climb within four at halftime. Duke led by seven through three quarters before the game was tied. Duke settled for a short field goal with eight minutes remaining to lead by three but Pittsburgh used a nice kickoff return to tie the game with a 48-yard field goal with just over two minutes remaining. Duke was forced to punt and the Panthers managed to score with just five seconds remaining. It didn’t impact the outcome but the Panthers added two points with a safety after a Duke fumble on the final kickoff trying to set-up a miracle return with a lateral.

Massachusetts (-3½) 22, Connecticut 17: This line opened as high as -6 but came down steadily throughout the week. A pair of northeastern squads desperate for a win faced off with a surprisingly low scoring first half with just 10 points. Connecticut led 14-9 through three quarters and extended the advantage to 17-9 in the fourth. Massachusetts hit a 67-yard touchdown to climb within two, failing going for two and the tie. Massachusetts forced a 3-and-out on defense and then went 81 yards on its next possession to take a five-point edge which held for the final margin.

Showing all 2 results

Sort By
Show per page

Coastal Carolina (-2½) 37, Georgia State 34: The Chanticleers were favored by -3½ or -3 much of the week before sliding to -2½ by kickoff. It didn’t seem likely to matter with a 17-0 start for Coastal Carolina. Georgia State made a rally with three third quarter touchdowns to lead 34-27 but Coastal Carolina regrouped in the fourth to tie the game early in the final quarter with a 12-play touchdown drive. Coastal Carolina got the ball back in good field position and after reaching the 5-yard-line settled for a short field goal to lead by just three. Georgia State threatened to extend the game reaching the 36-yard-line but fell short going for it on 4th down.

Oregon State (+26) 41, Colorado 34: When a nearly four-touchdown underdog wins outright there generally isn’t against-the-spread drama but Colorado led 31-3 early in the third quarter of this game to sit past the heavy favorite spread. The Beavers didn’t mail it in however and had climbed to within 14 by the first minute of the fourth quarter. Up 14 Colorado opted to go for it on 4th-and-1 just across midfield on its next possession and came up short and Oregon State added a field goal and an eight-point touchdown to suddenly sit within three with seven minutes to go. Colorado reached the Oregon State 10-yard-line before a holding penalty and settled for a field goal to lead by six, allowing Oregon State to seemingly win the game with a touchdown in the final minute. The extra-point was blocked however in a stunning finish. Colorado picked up 39 yards in the final seconds to get off a 53-yard field goal attempt but the kick missed an overtime was needed. The Beavers went first and delivered seven and Colorado was unable to match it.

Arizona State (+3) 38, USC 35: USC trailed by 10 at halftime behind Jack Sears but the Trojans scored two touchdowns in 25 seconds of game clock early in the third quarter. Late in the third Arizona State delivered a 92-yard punt return touchdown to lead by three before a tense final quarter. USC opted to go for it on 4th-and-1 from the Arizona State 20-yard-line with about 10 minutes remaining but the Sun Devils got the stop. After a pair of punts Arizona State put the game away with quarterback Manny Wilkins scrambling for a 45-yard touchdown run in the final two minutes. USC would score in the final seconds to close within three but didn’t get the on-side kick attempt.

Georgia (-7) 36, Florida 17: Florida dug a hole with early turnovers in the big SEC East matchup but only trailed by six at halftime. The Gators briefly took the lead in the second half but Georgia added nine points to lead 23-14 through three quarters with the field goal for Georgia coming after a Florida fumble at its own 1-yard-line as Georgia had a 3-0 turnover edge in the game. Florida added a field goal in the fourth to sit within the number down by six but the Bulldogs turned in two late touchdown drives to win by 19 points.

Showing all 9 results

Sort By
Show per page

Kentucky (+7½) 15, Missouri 14: Missouri led 14-3 through three quarters and appeared to get the stop of the game holding Kentucky on 4th-and-short from the 3-yard-line halfway through the fourth quarter to hold the 11-point edge for the home favorite. Missouri looked to burn some clock with the lead and the limited Kentucky offense, running the ball three times before punting but the Wildcats got back in the game with a 67-yard punt return touchdown. Kentucky went for two and failed but was within the number down five. Kentucky would get the ball back with just over four minutes remaining but had an interception taking a deep shot. Missouri only was able to burn a minute of clock and had an incomplete pass to stop the clock on 3rd-and-2. Kentucky was punned at its own 19 with just over a minute remaining and took a sack on 1st down. The Wildcats were able to get down the field and eventually wound up with an untimed down from the 2-yard-line after a pass interference call. Terry Wilson hit C.J. Conrad for the winning score.

Houston (-10) 57, South Florida 36: The big AAC showdown lived up to its billing with a back-and-forth affair. Houston led 28-21 at halftime but South Florida got five points early in the third quarter with a safety and a short field goal to climb within two on a spread that climbed from +7½ to +10. 21 points were exchanged in the rest of the third quarter as Houston led 43-36 heading into the fourth. Houston would pull away in the final frame with two touchdowns while South Florida had two fourth quarter turnovers as the Cougars escaped with the cover in a game with 1,149 total yards.

Penn State (-5) 30, Iowa 24: The line on this game was near -6 most of the week but hit -6½ and -5½ at times before landing at -5. The underdog was promising as Iowa took a 12-0 early lead but Penn State battled back to reach a 17-17 tie by halftime. Penn State took over in the third quarter with a 51-yard run from Trace McSorley and a long field goal for a 10-point advantage. Iowa got the break it needed to get back in the game with a pick-6 in the fourth quarter to trail by three but a long kickoff return put Penn State in business to extend its lead though the Lions ultimately settled for a short field goal to lead by six, right on the number for many. Iowa reached the Penn State 3-yard-line on its next possession but Nate Stanley was intercepted on 1st-and-goal. The Hawkeyes got a final opportunity and went 48 yards in the final minute but stalled just across midfield and ran out of time.

Iowa State (-6) 40, Texas Tech 31: The spread on the Cyclones climbed from -3½ to -6 and it looked like it might matter as a Texas Tech tied the game in the fourth quarter with a fumble recovery touchdown. The Cyclones got an interception later in the fourth quarter to keep the game tied and then after pinning Texas Tech deep, Iowa State took the lead with a safety. The 33-31 edge wasn’t enough to cover but Iowa State hit a 48-yard touchdown pass with just over two minutes to go to lead by nine and then intercepted Alan Bowman again in Iowa State territory to hang on to the win and cover in a key Big XII game.

Showing all 9 results

Sort By
Show per page

UAB (-15½) 19, UTEP 0: The winless Miners attracted some attention as this spread fell from opening at -17½. UTAB led 10-0 in the first quarter but did not score again until a third quarter safety and the Blazers led just 12-0 well into the fourth quarter. UTEP missed a field goal in late in the third but wasn’t a significant scoring threat and with four minutes remaining UAB snuck past the spread with a late touchdown.

Washington State (+3) 41, Stanford 38: Perfect ATS this season, Washington State was dogged at Stanford and trailed by 11 at halftime and by seven through three quarters. Washington State tied the game early in the fourth and then stopped Stanford going for it on 4th down in long field goal range with nine minutes remaining. Washington State converted a similar 4th down try on its next possession and eventually found the end zone to go up by seven with four minutes to go. Stanford answered and tied the game with more than a minute remaining but Washington State did enough to hit a 42-yard field goal to take a three-point lead. Stanford reached midfield in the final seconds but ran out of time as the Cougars took the Pac-12 North lead.

Tulane (-2) 24, Tulsa 17: Tulsa never trailed in this game until the final score but was unable to pull away despite having a 10-point lead in the second half. Tulane tied the game with 12 minutes to go and then Tulsa fumbled halfway through the fourth quarter in Tulane territory. Quarterback Justin McMillan broke free for a 39-yard touchdown run with fewer than four minutes to go to give Tulane its first lead in the game and Tulsa was unable to answer, going backwards after reaching Tulane territory on its final drive.

UL-Lafayette (+3) 47, Arkansas State 43: UL-Lafayette never trailed in the first three quarters but Arkansas State hit a 73-yard touchdown pass early in the fourth to move in front 35-34. UL-Lafayette answered quickly but Arkansas State would respond as well, making its two-point conversion to go up three after the Ragin’ Cajuns were unable to get its own conversion attempt on the previous score. UL-Lafayette burned nearly five minutes in 11 plays before turning in the game-winning touchdown with just over a minute to go.

Boise State (-10) 48, Air Force 38: These Mountain West foes were tied at halftime before Boise State pulled ahead by 10 early in the fourth quarter. Air Force cut the margin to three with five minutes to go but the Broncos responded with a 61-yard touchdown pass to close right on the number with a 10-point win.

Showing the single result

Sort By
Show per page

Mississippi State (-1) 28, Texas A&M 13: There were many possible outcomes with the Bulldogs leading by one through three quarters with the spread on this game bouncing around before kickoff. Mississippi State went up by eight early in the fourth quarter and with just over two minutes remaining sealed the win with an interception in the end zone to hold A&M off the board. Two plays later the Bulldogs got a long run from Nick Fitzgerald to pad the final margin.

Notre Dame (-22½) 44, Navy 22: Notre Dame led 27-0 at halftime but Navy put forth a good effort in the second half to put up 22 points, climbing to within two scores early in the fourth quarter with a two-point conversion successful. The Irish answered to lead by 22 while Navy turned it over in Notre Dame territory on its next two possessions. Notre Dame didn’t add points as Navy barely held on with an underdog spread that dipped from 24 to 22½.