4th Quarter Covers – NCAA Week 3
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 third 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.
Houston (-7) 40, Cincinnati 16: The first game of the college football week featured a tight battle in the AAC with highly ranked Houston and Cincinnati knotted up at 10-10 at the half with both teams missing some opportunities. Houston’s defense got the lead with a third quarter safety but on the first play of the fourth quarter Cincinnati connected for a touchdown to lead 16-12. It didn’t take long for Houston to go in front with a 19-16 edge and the Cougars put the game away with another touchdown run from quarterback Greg Ward to put Houston up by 10 with just over six minutes to go. The scoring got a bit out of hand late and even gave those on the ‘over’ a brief glimmer of hope as on consecutive Cincinnati offensive plays Houston scored consecutive interception return touchdowns to make for a misleading final score with the Cougars reaching 40 points with almost half of the scoring coming on defense.
Baylor (-34) 38, Rice 10: For the second straight week Baylor had a bit of a slow start with no points in the first quarter and it was still a competitive game as halftime approached as Baylor led just 14-10 before a touchdown in the final two minutes of half put the Bears up by double-digits. Baylor added 10 points in the final five minutes of the third quarter and they were up by 28 early in the fourth quarter, needing one more touchdown to pass a heavy road favorite spread. The Bears put together a 14-play drive and had 1st and goal at the Rice 10-yard line with less than five minutes to go in the game but four straight runs came up empty as the Owls held on to the home underdog cover.
Utah State (-9½) 34, Arkansas State 20: The Aggies had a great start Friday night taking a 24-0 lead just a minute into the second quarter. There wasn’t much offense the rest of the half and Arkansas State regrouped in the third quarter to make it a game. A pair of touchdowns put the Red Wolves within 10 but a field goal allowed Utah State to take a 27-14 lead into the final quarter. Arkansas State had a pair of red zone drives but wound up settling for short field goals to the chagrin of those on the ‘over’ but the Red Wolves were in position to cover trailing by just seven points. Utah State was almost able to run out most of the clock out with a 13-play drive that went 91 yards, and they could have taken a knee on consecutive plays to run out the clock as Arkansas State had just one timeout left. They opted to try to score from the one-yard line and closed the game with a 34-20 advantage and a late favorite cover.
[displayProduct type=”carousel” sort=”nameaz” productnamecolor=”#ffffff” pricecolor=”#ffffff” textcolor=”#ffffff” carousel=image,title,price,button,excerpt]
Penn State (-8.5) 34, Temple 27: This game wound up much higher scoring than most would have expected and Penn State seemed to have revenge in hand with a 24-10 edge late in the third quarter. The Owls climbed within seven before the start of the final frame however and were within three with eight minutes to go in the game. Saquon Barkley broke a 55-yard run just a few plays after Temple’s touchdown and Penn State was just past the spread with a 10-point advantage. With time running low Temple had a productive drive into Penn State territory and hit a field goal to get within seven with just over two minutes to go. Temple held on defense to get the ball back but an interception ended the threat to force overtime but the Owls did hang on for a narrow underdog cover.
TCU (-24.5) 41, Iowa State 20: After a close start in this Big XII opener TCU started to pull away late in the second quarter and by the end of the third quarter the Horned Frogs slid past the heavy home favorite spread with a 38-10 margin that extended to 41-10 in the fourth quarter. Iowa State would score 10 points in the final seven minutes of the game however to steal the underdog cover back and pile on enough yardage to make the game statistics much closer to even.
Rutgers (-8) 37, New Mexico 28: The Lobos jumped out to a 21-0 lead across the country at Rutgers but the Knights managed to climb back into the game quickly and took a 28-21 lead at the half a on spread that doubled throughout the week from an opening number of just -4. Rutgers led by 10 entering the fourth quarter but early in the final frame the Lobos found the end zone to cut the margin to just three points. Rutgers would add two short field goals in the final six minutes to slip past the closing spread and a late opportunity for New Mexico to climb back within the number came up empty with a missed 32-yard field goal in the final minute.
South Florida (-13) 45, Syracuse 20: The Orange had a 17-0 lead in this matchup but by halftime they were trailing by 11 with the Bulls scoring four consecutive touchdowns in the second quarter. Syracuse hit a long field goal late in the third quarter but after a long run South Florida was past the road favorite spread for the first time in the final minute of the third quarter. An 83-yard punt return sealed the game for South Florida early in the fourth quarter as the Bulls covered despite allowing 549 yards to the Orange.
[displayProduct type=”carousel” productnamecolor=”#ffffff” pricecolor=”#ffffff” textcolor=”#ffffff” carousel=image,title,price,button,excerpt]
San Diego State (-13½) 42, Northern Illinois 28: For the second straight week the Aztecs saw a substantial lead slip away as a 28-0 edge early became just 28-21 by the start of the fourth quarter. A long touchdown run but the Aztecs up by 14 again early in the fourth quarter and just past a spread that rose all week. The Huskies would answer with a 16-play touchdown drive to trail by seven but the underdog cover lasted just 22 seconds of game clock as San Diego State immediately answered with a 79-yard touchdown run. Northern Illinois had two more possessions in the game but those finished with an interception and being stopped on downs near midfield.
Texas Tech (-11.5) 59, Louisiana Tech 45: The Red Raiders led by 11 entering the fourth quarter in a game that featured over 1,200 yards of total offense. Texas Tech added 10 points early in the final frame to pull away and a touchdown for Louisiana Tech in the final minute wasn’t quite enough to get back within the number.
Kentucky (-22½) 62, New Mexico State 42: This game received a lot of attention as the line that opened at -18.5 climbed all the way to -22.5 and the final score fell right in between those numbers. Most of the way this was a back-and-forth game that wound up tied at 35-35 at the half. Kentucky took a 14-point lead in the third quarter but the Aggies scored late in the third quarter to trim the margin back to seven points. In the fourth quarter Kentucky struck again but a missed extra-point loomed large with the great variance in the available spreads throughout the week. The Wildcats would get the cover for those that jumped on them early in the week as a 65-yard punt return touchdown closed the scoring and set the final margin at 20 points.
Nebraska (-3) 35, Oregon 32: While +3½ was available on the Ducks at some spots over the weekend most wound up with a push on one of the big non-conference matchups Saturday afternoon. Oregon had a 20-7 edge late in the second quarter before a great punt return set up a touchdown for the Cornhuskers with five seconds to go in the half. Nebraska took charge in the second half to eventually lead 28-20 but the Ducks put together two long scoring drives in a row to take a 32-28 lead early in the fourth quarter. The Ducks take the unconventional approach of going for two after touchdowns and in this game it burned them as while successful on the first score of the game they failed on four subsequent attempts and a late Tommy Armstrong touchdown run gave Nebraska a 35-32 edge after kicking the extra-point and Oregon missed a wide open opportunity late that could have won the game.
[displayProduct type=”carousel” sort=”newness” productnamecolor=”#ffffff” pricecolor=”#ffffff” textcolor=”#ffffff” carousel=image,title,price,button,excerpt]
UCLA (-3.5) 17, BYU 14: The Bruins opened up a 17-0 lead at BYU about halfway through the third quarter. BYU finally found the end zone late in the third quarter to get within 10 and while they had virtually no chance to get in the win column the Cougars did spoil the cover for the Bruins with a touchdown with 37 seconds to go in the game, completing a 91-yard drive.
Oklahoma State (-3) 45, Pittsburgh 38: The spread on this game slipped on Saturday but Oklahoma State scored on its first offensive play and took a 31-17 lead late in the second quarter. Pittsburgh fought back in the game with the help of a defensive touchdown in the third quarter and late in the third quarter the game was tied up 38-38. Early in the fourth quarter lightning forced about a two-hour delay and the quick offensive pace slowed down once play resumed. Late in the fourth quarter the Cowboys finally struck with a 3-play 88-yard touchdown drive to go up by seven. Pittsburgh threatened in the final minute crossing midfield but the game ended after an interception as Oklahoma State escaped with the win and cover.
NC State (-24½) 49, Old Dominion 22: NC State led 35-9 heading into the fourth quarter sitting just past the heavy home favorite spread but these teams exchanged four touchdowns in the fourth quarter with the Wolfpack eventually holding on 49-22, scoring last with about six minutes to go in the game.
Alabama (-11) 48, Mississippi 43: A 24-3 lead for Mississippi with fewer than three minutes to go in the half was cut into by the Crimson Tide in Saturday afternoon’s big SEC West matchup. Alabama had a three-play touchdown drive with just over two minutes to go and then returned a punt 85 yards for a touchdown before halftime to only trail by seven points at the break. In the second half the momentum tuck with Alabama, adding fumble return and interception return touchdowns to eventually take a 48-30 lead with just over five minutes to go in the game. Mississippi fought back with a pair of touchdowns in just eight seconds of game clock after a successful on-side kick recovery. The Rebels didn’t get the 3rd down stop they needed however as Alabama hung on but Mississippi earned the home underdog cover.
[displayProduct type=”carousel” sort=”popularity” productnamecolor=”#ffffff” pricecolor=”#ffffff” textcolor=”#ffffff” carousel=image,title,price,button,excerpt]
LSU (-13) 23, Mississippi State 20: It wasn’t a dominant performance but LSU had a 23-3 lead at the half and still led by 17 well into the fourth quarter. Mississippi State made a late charge with two late touchdowns in the span of 40 seconds of game clock to climb within three points. The Bulldogs would get the ball back for its offense but LSU’s defense held firm and picked up a sack and fumble on a 4th down play to seal the win.
Navy (-7) 21, Tulane 14: Navy trailed 14-13 heading into the fourth quarter but the Midshipmen delivered the scoring drive they needed to take the lead with fewer than three minutes to go in the game. The touchdown made it 19-14, short of the road favorite spread and many watched intently with a two-point conversion try that saved a push for many on the road favorite.
Arizona (-23.5) 47, Hawai’i 28: The Wildcats led 44-14 heading into the fourth quarter but the Warriors put together two late touchdown drives to score the underdog cover while making the box score more respectable as well. Arizona settled for a short field goal early in the final frame and those missing four points could have been meaningful for some.
Washington State (-28½) 56, Idaho 6: The Cougars appeared to have their first win of the season in hand but they were short of the heavy home favorite spread leading just 28-6 heading into the fourth quarter. Four fourth quarter touchdowns changed that outcome and padded the statistics for Washington State vs. nearby rival Idaho.