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NFL Close Calls Wk15

NFL Close Calls – Week 15

12/16/2019

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 or total in the fourth quarter last week in Week 15 of the NFL regular season including two late defensive scores that made a great impact.

Baltimore Ravens (-17) 42, New York Jets 21 (44): The Ravens wrapped up this game with a 35-7 edge through three quarters but a blocked punt touchdown in the fourth put the Jets back in the conversation against the heavy underdog spread. A touchdown halfway through the fourth put the Jets within 21 after a successful two-point conversion and New York got the ball back at midfield with still five minutes remaining. On 4th-and-1 a Sam Darnold throw fell incomplete and Baltimore was able to run out the remaining clock with Robert Griffin III in the game.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (-6) 38, Detroit Lions 17 (46): The Buccaneers stormed out to a 21-0 lead in this game but the Lions slowly climbed back in the picture, completing a long touchdown drive on the first play of the fourth quarter to trail by only seven on a spread that climbed as high as +6 by kickoff. Tampa Bay missed a field goal on its next possession as the Lions were a live upset threat but with about five minutes remaining David Blough was intercepted with a 70-yard return for a touchdown. The Lions had to go for it on 4th down short of midfield on its next drive and the Buccaneers added another score to pull away for a somewhat misleading 21-point final margin. Three fourth quarter touchdowns also shifted a possible ‘under’ with 34 points through three quarters to a clear ‘over’.

Philadelphia Eagles (-6½) 37, Washington Redskins 27 (38): The Redskins led at halftime and erased a three-point deficit through three quarters with an early fourth quarter touchdown run from Adrian Peterson for a four-point lead as a home underdog. The fourth quarter would feature 33 points to soar ‘over’ the total and Philadelphia was able to set-up next week’s NFC East clash by going in front with 26 seconds to go, leading by four for the largest lead of the game for the Eagles. That would change with no time on the clock however as in desperation mode just across midfield an attempted lateral wound up going the other way for a late Eagles touchdown to flip the spread result.

Green Bay Packers (-4½) 21, Chicago Bears 13 (40½): After a low-scoring first half the Packers went in front 21-3 with two third quarter scores. The Bears added a field goal early in the fourth and later a touchdown while forcing five consecutive Green Bay punts with only one first down allowed. Down eight the Bears had three late possessions ending in an interception, stopped on downs in Green Bay territory with a failed pass interference challenge, and then delivering an incredible final play that nearly shifted the spread and total results and could have sent the game to overtime. The Bears had one second on the clock from the Green Bay 34-yard-line and opted for a short pass rather than a deep throw to the end zone. Against loose coverage Tarik Cohen had a lateral back to Mitchell Trubisky who sent the ball to Jesper Horsted who rumbled inside the 10-yard-line. Horsted failed to send the ball back one more time even with two Bears with an opening down the sideline in what could have been a score for Chicago to set-up a possible tying two-point conversion.

Houston Texans (+3) 24, Tennessee Titans 21 (50½): The Texans had a 14-0 lead in the huge AFC North contest with some big momentum swings early in this game. Deshaun Watson was intercepted for a touchback on the opening drive but Houston would block a field goal attempt for a scoreless first quarter. The play of the game was a deflected Ryan Tannehill pass to the edge of the end zone deflecting for an interception and an 86-yard return to set-up a Houston touchdown. Up 14-0 Houston stopped the Titans on downs later in the first half but Tennessee managed to score back-to-back touchdowns to tie the game around an interception of Watson in the end zone to thwart another scoring opportunity. Houston would respond with a touchdown on the next drive and later a field goal to lead by 10 but Tennessee added a score just ahead of the two-minute-warning to stay in play while keeping those on the ‘over’ in the mix for a late miracle. The Titans wouldn’t get the ball back until just 17 seconds remained and Ryan Tannehill was sacked to end the threat, narrowly avoiding a potential defensive score.

Seattle Seahawks (-6) 30, Carolina Panthers 24 (49): The Seahawks seemed to be in complete control going up 30-10 with about seven minutes remaining in the game. Those on the ‘over’ and taking the points found late life however with the Panthers scoring with about five minutes remaining on a Christian McCaffrey run while the defense then forced a quick 3-and-out. Just over minute later the Panthers were in the end zone again to send the total ‘over’ while allowing many Carolina tickets to be cashed at +6½. The scoring stopped there as Seattle was able to take a knee to eventually burn over three minutes of clock, moving to the #1 spot in the NFC.

New York Giants (-3½) 36, Miami Dolphins 20 (46½): The Dolphins trailed by one late in the third quarter despite botching two early scoring opportunities with a missed field goal while being stopped on downs at the 10-yard-line as well. A false start pinned Miami deep and a safety followed while the Giants got a good kickoff return and scored a few plays later to turn a one-point edge into a 10-point edge in quick order. Miami’s offense disappeared from there and the Giants pulled away while a 10-7 game at halftime turned into a clear ‘over’ with 39 second half points.

Buffalo Bills (+1) 17, Pittsburgh Steelers 10 (37): The Steelers led 10-7 through three quarters as a very slight favorite but the second of eventually four Devlin Hodges interceptions handed the Bills a field goal to tie the game. Buffalo didn’t have a productive offensive game but Josh Allen led the Bills 70 yards in six plays in the middle of the fourth quarter with Buffalo surviving a fumble in the red zone. Down seven the Steelers had a new set of downs at the Buffalo 26-yard line with three minutes to go but went backwards with a penalty and a sack before a fourth down interception in the end zone. Hodges would be intercepted in the end zone again in the final seconds as the Bills defense came through to send Buffalo into the postseason.

Jacksonville Jaguars (+6½) 20, Oakland Raiders 16 (46½): Oakland appeared to have a good sendoff underway with a 16-3 lead at halftime though settling for three short field goals left the door open. The Jaguars added three in the final seconds of the third quarter to trail by 10 before the Raiders offense faltered in the fourth with a costly sack near midfield forcing a punt and then a missed field goal. The Jaguars would get two touchdowns from Gardner Minshew to Chris Conley with the go-ahead score coming with only 31 seconds to go. Oakland got a 33-yard pass interference call to have a reasonable shot late but the final two deep throws fell incomplete.

Atlanta Falcons (+10) 29, San Francisco 49ers 22 (49): The score was just 13-10 through three quarters in favor of the 49ers with the underdog points and the ‘under’ looking safe. San Francisco would score with 10 minutes remaining but missed the PAT in a key play with +10 a common number late in the week in this game. That wound up not mattering as the Falcons scored a touchdown with five minutes to go and San Francisco added a field goal after the two-minute warning for a five-point margin. Atlanta had a touchdown called back on review in the final seconds but on the final play Matt Ryan hit Julio Jones right at the goal line. Ruled short on the field, review gave Atlanta the score for the win. The Falcons did not add the conversion to lead 23-22 as the ‘under’ held but a disastrous 49ers kickoff return lateral situation after time expired would result in a fumble recovery in the end zone as Atlanta added six more points and the ‘over’ was cleared.

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4Q Covers NCAA Wk 13

4th Quarter Covers – NCAA Week 13

11/24/2019

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 13th and second-to-last full weekend of the college football season. 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.

Georgia Tech (+2½) 28, NC State 26: The Yellow Jackets opened as a slight favorite but Thursday afternoon the line flipped to leave the Wolfpack as a slight road favorite in the underwhelming ACC prime time matchup. Georgia Tech came to play with a 14-0 edge early and also delivered a touchdown on a short field in the final minute before halftime. Another score late in the third quarter seemingly put the game away with a 28-10 edge for the Yellow Jackets but early in the fourth quarter NC State was back within one-score down by eight, making the most of an extra opportunity off a fumble. With about five minutes remaining NC State completed a lengthy drive for a touchdown but the two-point conversion attempt failed and Georgia Tech was able run off the remaining time to hold on.

Wyoming (-4) 17, Colorado State 7: The Friday night home favorite line crashed down to -4 from -7 or -6½ much of the week and in chilly conditions in Laramie it was a 7-7 tie at halftime. Out of the break Colorado State went for it on 4th-and-short on its own side of the 50 and came up short with Wyoming able to take advantage of the short field for a touchdown drive to lead by seven heading into the fourth quarter. After the aggressive call backfired earlier in the game Mike Bobo opted to try a 50-yard field goal on 4th-and-2 early in the fourth quarter down by seven for a puzzling move that also failed to work out. The Rams later failed going for it on 4th-and-6 just across midfield and also came up short for another missed opportunity. Wyoming added a field goal to lead by 10 and the final Colorado State threat ended in an interception as the Cowboys managed to win and cover despite totaling just 17 points and 273 yards.

Kent State (+3) 41, Ball State 38: In a bowl elimination game Ball State led 24-21 at halftime as a slight road favorite in a game where both teams wound up with big yardage totals. Kent State score 10 points in the third quarter but Ball State answered twice in the fourth to keep the game tied at 31-31 and then 38-38 with four minutes to go. The Flashes were able to work the field and the clock, kicking the game winner with 19 seconds to go for a minor upset, with 6-6 still in reach next week.

Oklahoma State (-7) 20, West Virginia 13: With Spencer Sanders injured, Hawai’i transfer Dru Brown stepped in at quarterback for Oklahoma State. The road favorite trailed in Morgantown through three quarters but consecutive scoring drives put the Cowboys up by seven in the fourth, even with the closing number although much of the week the line was down to -6 and even -5½ though it briefly hit as high as -7½ early in the week. Needing a touchdown to tie West Virginia was a late threat, reaching the 17-yard-line in the final minutes but the Mountaineers got stuck in a long downs and distances and could not finish the drive.

BYU (-42) 56, Massachusetts 24: The Cougars had a 49-0 edge at halftime and with little at stake in the second half, Massachusetts was able to get a muffed punt for short field to set up a score to get on the board. BYU still led by 46 heading into the fourth quarter and stopped the next UMass drive at the goal line to keep points off the board. The Minutemen would still add two late touchdowns with the game out of hand to secure the underdog cover with the massive price.

Minnesota (-16) 38, Northwestern 22: Tanner Morgan being cleared to play for the Gophers pushed this line upward but the Gophers turned in a 21-0 edge by early in the second quarter. Northwestern would stay in the game however and is was only a 28-16 score through three quarters. Minnesota would add 10 points in the fourth to lead by 22 but with about two minutes to go Northwestern completed a 77-yard drive and down 16 went for two in a key play for some with the late rise on the spread. The conversion failed as Minnesota cleared the number for all but the latest backers who left with a push.

UCF (-8) 34, Tulane 31: UCF had a 31-17 lead through three quarters and a field goal made the margin 17 with about 10 minutes remaining. Tulane didn’t mail it in however and added a touchdown with seven minutes to go. Rather than adding a field goal UCF went for it on 4th down late in the game and didn’t get there, leaving time for the Wave. After an earlier 4th down conversion Tulane faced 4th and goal from the 7 with 26 seconds left down by 10 and converted for the spread-stealing score.

Michigan State (-21½) 27, Rutgers 0: Michigan State looked to snap its losing streak and got in front of Rutgers 17-0 by halftime. The Spartans only added a field goal in the third quarter but got the ball right back with an interception. Michigan State added a touchdown four plays later and forced two late Rutgers punts to preserve the shutout and road favorite cover.

Air Force (-24½) 44, New Mexico 22: Air Force had only a 14-10 lead at halftime as the heavy favorite cover looked unlikely. The lead was just 21-16 after exchanging touchdowns but a blocked PAT gave Air Force two points after New Mexico’s touchdown. A few minutes later the Falcons hit on a 59-yard pass play to lead by 14. Air Force added two more scores both in the air in the fourth quarter to lead 44-16 but New Mexico would eventually answer with fewer than two minutes remaining. Down 22, the Lobos went for two and failed to leave the margin there at 22 on a spread that climbed from 21½ to 24½ during the week.

Georgia (-12) 19, Texas A&M 13: Georgia never really got going on offense but managed to lead by 13 into the second half even with only one of four scoring drives going further than 23 yards. Field goals were exchanged as early in the fourth Georgia still led by 13 but the Aggies converted a pair of 3rd-and-longs on the way to a touchdown with 11 minutes remaining. Texas A&M reached the Georgia 43 on a late drive down six but opted to punt on 4th-and-11 with still more than four minutes remaining and three timeouts left but the Bulldogs never gave the ball back.

USC (-12½) 52, UCLA 35: USC scored four straight touchdowns in the middle of this game to lead by 24 but UCLA trimmed the margin to 10 by the start of the fourth quarter. Seconds into the final frame USC connected for a 49-yard touchdown to go back up by 17 but UCLA was able to answer. Defensive stops weren’t common in this rivalry game and USC was back in the end zone a few minutes later on the way to amassing 643 yards in the game. Down 17 UCLA went for it on 4th-and-7 in field goal range came up short late in the game leaving the deficit at 17 despite producing 540 yards in the game.

California (-1½) 24, Stanford 20: The Game was knotted at 17-17 halfway through the fourth quarter before Stanford connected for a 44-yard field goal with just 2:23 remaining. Chase Garbers led the Bears 75 yards in just six plays, finishing the drive with a 16-yard run to go in front and the Bears held on defense for the win, eliminating Stanford from bowl contention.

Navy (-3) 35, SMU 28: SMU led 21-10 at the half but Navy was within one by the start of the fourth quarter. Just seconds into the fourth the Midshipmen delivered the go-ahead touchdown and got the two-point conversion to lead by seven. SMU didn’t take long to answer hitting a 61-yard touchdown pass but Navy had a 70-yard touchdown run a few minutes later. SMU reached the Navy 12-yard-line in the final minutes before being stopped on 4th-and-4.

UAB (-6½) 20, Louisiana Tech 14: The Blazers led 20-7 through three quarters but Louisiana Tech spoiled the cover with a 14-play touchdown drive in the fourth quarter following a UAB interception in the end zone. There was little production either way in the final eight minutes as the final margin landed on six with a push a common result as well and results both ways possible depending on the timing.

New Mexico State (-7) 44, UTEP 35: The Aggies led 21-16 through three quarters before scoring exploded in the fourth. UTEP would briefly take the lead 22-21 but then New Mexico State added the next 16 points including a defensive score to lead by 15. UTEP closed to within eight but The Aggies answered with a 53-yard touchdown run. As time expired UTEP would find the end zone but it wasn’t quite enough with a nine-point final.

Wake Forest (-6) 39, Duke 27: Wake Forest had a convincing yardage edge and a 10-point lead heading into the fourth quarter but Duke was able to stay within striking distance with a touchdown early in the fourth and then held the Demon Deacons to a short field goal. Duke then delivered 98-yard kickoff return touchdown to suddenly take the lead. Wake Forest would answer in only three plays but couldn’t get the conversion and led by just five on a favorite spread that fell from -7½ to just -6 by kickoff. Duke wasn’t able to pick up a first down but the defense had a chance to get the ball back as Wake Forest went for it on 4th down just outside of field goal range. An 11-yard run followed and the Demon Deacons were into the end zone two plays later for the 12-point final margin.

Cincinnati (-8½) 15, Temple 13: The Bearcats led 13-0 through three quarters in this game despite several scoring chances for Temple in the first three quarters and a substantial production edge for the underdog Owls. The favorite spread for Cincinnati crashed from -10½ to -8½ on Saturday and the favorite cover still seemed possible after Temple finally got on the board as the PAT was blocked and returned the other way to keep Cincinnati ahead by nine. Temple forced a 3-and-out on defense and converted two third downs on the way to another touchdown to trail by two with seven minutes to go. Cincinnati missed a field goal on the next drive to give the Owls a great shot at the upset. A play after converting a 4th down, Temple quarterback Anthony Russo was intercepted taking a shot into Cincinnati territory as the Bearcats survived to stay perfect in AAC play.

Arkansas State (-1) 38, Georgia Southern 33: Big plays were the name of the game for Arkansas State with four early touchdowns on passes for 27 or more yards plus a 94-yard kickoff return touchdown, taking a 35-10 lead. Georgia Southern produced a massive rushing edge in this game however and while more methodical in its pace, found a way back in the game. A touchdown and a two-point conversion in the third quarter brought the Eagles within 11 and the defense caught a break with a missed Red Wolves field goal. With about five minutes left in the game Georgia Southern scored to climb within five and Arkansas State again missed a kick trying to extend the lead to eight. In the final two minutes Georgia Southern reached the Arkansas State 33-yard-line before taking a sack and a 4th-and-11 scramble netted only 10 yards as the Red Wolves escaped.

LSU (-41) 56, Arkansas 20: Two Arkansas field goals early in the game seemed possibly enough for the underdog cover with a massive spread in this contest. LSU managed two touchdowns late in the first half however and took over in the third quarter, eventually leading by 50 early in the fourth quarter. Arkansas would score twice in the fourth however including a short field score following a successful on-side kick to take the spread win.

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Wk11 NFL Close Calls

NFL Close Calls – Week 11

11/19/2019

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 or total in the fourth quarter last week in Week 11 of the NFL regular season.

Dallas Cowboys (-7) 35, Detroit Lions 27 (46½): The Lions would not go away in this game as a 10-point halftime lead for Dallas fell to three points and the Cowboys led by just six after setting for a short field goal. With eight minutes to go Dallas got a touchdown and a two-point conversion to lead by 14 to seemingly put the game away but Detroit answered quickly and the spread result hinged on a two-point conversion try with the Lions unable to convert to leave the margin at eight and in favor of the popular road favorite.

New Orleans Saints (-5) 34, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 17 (50½): The Saints had a 27-10 lead late in the third quarter but the Buccaneers would wind up with a 30-yard touchdown pass to close to within 10. The total sat ‘under’ with 44 points through three consecutive punts. With five minutes remaining Tampa Bay opted to go for it on 4th-and-10 and Jameis Winston was intercepted with a 55-yard return touchdown for Marcus Williams of the Saints sealing the ‘over’ and the road favorite cover.

New York Jets (+1) 37, Washington Redskins 17 (37½): A 20-3 score at halftime didn’t look great for the ‘under’ with a total that dropped below 38 but a scoreless third quarter gave life to that wager. The Jets scored early in the fourth and then off a turnover added another touchdown just a minute later to put the scoring at 37. Washington put up more than half of its yardage for the game in the final 12 minutes eventually adding two touchdowns to clear the ‘over’ comfortably.

San Francisco 49ers (-10) 36, Arizona Cardinals 26 (44): The Cardinals had a hot start with a 16-0 edge but would produce minimal yardage the rest of the game following their first four drives. That allowed the 49ers to get back in the game San Francisco took a 23-19 edge early in the fourth quarter but missed on the two-point conversion. Arizona would go back in front to seemingly lock up the underdog cover at a double-digit price that fell dramatically from its opening. The 49ers would score with 31 seconds left to lock up the win and then on a final desperation play San Francisco grabbed the loose ball for a touchdown as time expired. Under the rules changed ahead of last season teams don’t need to attempt the PAT as the margin stayed right at 10 for a common push.

New England Patriots (-4) 17, Philadelphia Eagles 10 (44½): The Eagles led 10-0 in this game but the Patriots had three field goals in the final nine minutes before halftime to trail by one. Out of halftime the Patriots delivered a touchdown pass from Julian Edelman and not Tom Brady and 10 consecutive punts followed. Philadelphia reached the New England 26-yard-line in the final two minutes but Carson Wentz ended the threat with four consecutive incomplete passes including a near touchdown drop on 4th down as holding Tom Brady to no touchdowns and the Patriots to fewer than 300 yards still wasn’t enough for the home underdog cover.

Los Angeles Rams (-5) 17, Chicago Bears 7 (40): The Rams led 10-0 at halftime but the Bears were able to complete a 12-play drive for seven halfway through the third quarter. Eight straight punts followed before the Rams connected for a 51-yard touchdown that was wiped out with a formation penalty. Six plays later Los Angeles was able to convert from 1st-and-goal to get past the home favorite price and Chicago behind Chase Daniel managed only six yards on its final possession.

Kansas City Chiefs (-5½) 24, Los Angeles Chargers 17 (52½): The Chargers moved the ball well in the first half Monday night in Mexico City but settled for three field goals. An interception set up a 6-yard touchdown drive for the Chiefs for a 10-9 edge at the break. The scoring pace escalated in the third quarter as Kansas City scored touchdowns on its first two drives to lead 24-9 but the Chargers answered late in the third and got the two-point conversion to trail by just seven. The scoring stalled with five consecutive punts to start the fourth quarter. Philip Rivers threw his third interception to seemingly hand the Chiefs points with just over four minutes remaining but Kansas City wasn’t able to quite get into field goal range and punted to pin the Chargers inside the 10. Rivers converted a 4th down in the two-minute drill and reached the Kansas City 14-yard-line looking to tie the game but interception #4 came with 18 seconds to go as Kansas City and the ‘under’ both held on.

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4Q Covers Week 12

4th Quarter Covers – NCAA Week 12

11/16/2019

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 weekend of the college football. 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.

Western Michigan (PK) 37, Ohio 34: Western Michigan led 10-0 at halftime but Ohio took a 14-10 lead eight minutes into the third quarter. A back-and-forth finish followed with the game eventually knotted 24-24 with 10 minutes to go. Western Michigan put together a touchdown drive to lead by seven and then stopped Ohio inside the 10-yard-line to seemingly wrap up the game. The Bobcats still had all three timeouts however and got the ball back with 47 seconds to work with. Nathan Rourke delivered four straight completions to find the end zone with nine seconds to go and the Bobcats opted to kick to play overtime. Ohio had to settle for a field goal going first in the extra session and in just three plays the Broncos got the win with a touchdown.

Northern Illinois (+1½) 31, Toledo 28: The Huskies were in command with a 28-7 edge through three quarters but Toledo put a scoring drive together to cut the margin to 14 points. A botched punt attempt provided the break the Rockets needed to get back in the game, inheriting great field position and closing the margin to seven points two plays later. Toledo would force another punt on defense and went 91 yards to tie the game with about five minutes remaining. The slight underdog Huskies were able to milk most of the clock and come away with the go-ahead field goal in the final minute and the Rockets ran out of time despite eventually reaching the 26-yard-line.

Kent State (+6½) 30, Buffalo 27: The Bulls had a commanding 27-6 edge in the fourth quarter before Kent State turned in perhaps the comeback of the season. The Flashes scored two touchdowns in the span of 27 seconds of game clock in the middle of the fourth quarter thanks to an onside kick recovery. The Flashes were set to get the ball back quickly after forcing a 3-and-out and did even better, blocking the punt to start at the 4-yard-line. Despite the field position it came down to 4th-and-goal but Dustin Crum got the completion for the tying score. Buffalo again was held to a punt and now with a chance to win Kent State had possession with about two minutes remaining, getting the 44-yard field goal as time expired after consecutive timeouts.

Pittsburgh (-4½) 34, North Carolina 27: The Panthers had a 24-10 edge into the fourth quarter but the Tar Heels hit a few big plays to quickly tie the game. Slowing down the pace Pittsburgh drained nearly seven minutes off the clock before kicking a field goal that wasn’t going to be enough against the home favorite spread. The Tar Heels reached the red zone late in the game but went backwards and facing 4th-and-12, kicked for overtime. Pittsburgh was backed up but converted on 3rd-and-14 and eventually scored seven going first in overtime, allowing for the favorite to have a shot to still cover. North Carolina converted 4th-and-4 on its overtime possession but took a sack and was left with 4th-and-16 and the final throw fell incomplete.

Northwestern (-38) 45, Massachusetts 6: This game got a bit more coverage than it deserved based on the oddity of the line with the low-scoring Wildcats a massive favorite. The line climbed as high as -41½ on a Northwestern team that had scored 100 total points over the first nine games. The first touchdown came on a field goal block as the Wildcats didn’t score on offense until 22 minutes into the game and stayed well short of the spread through three quarters with a 24-6 edge. Northwestern would take over in the fourth quarter however with three consecutive touchdowns incredibly giving the Wildcats as a 39-point edge with just over five minutes remaining to slip past the opening and closing numbers though there were plenty of successful UMass tickets in the middle. The Minutemen were a threat to spoil it but only could reach the Northwestern 6-yard-line on the final play as time expired.

UAB (-14) 37, UTEP 10: The Blazers took a 23-0 lead in this game but UTEP got on the board just before halftime and by the early fourth quarter had closed to within 20 points, or a touchdown short of covering. The Miners reached UAB territory on its next drive but opted to go for it on 4th-and-7 and fell incomplete. UAB didn’t look like a threat to add points but on 3rd-and-long connected for a 40-yard touchdown to make a late UTEP drive inside the UAB 5-yard-line meaningless. 

Oklahoma State (-18) 31, Kansas 13: The Cowboys cruised to a comfortable win over Kansas and led 31-0 through three quarters. The Jayhawks didn’t go away however with a touchdown halfway through the fourth quarter after an Oklahoma State field goal miss, but an unsuccessful 2-point try kept Kansas down by 25. Oklahoma State went 51 yards on its next drive but still wound up punting and Kansas was able to put another touchdown in with just over a minute to go, bringing the margin to 19. The Jayhawks kicked this time and the 18-point final matched the closing spread though -17 or -17½ remained common numbers that still cashed.

TCU (-4) 33, Texas Tech 31: An early 17-0 edge for TCU disappeared with a 27-16 margin at halftime and Texas Tech leading 28-27 through three quarters. The spread consistently climbed higher for the road team throughout the week after opening with the Red Raiders as a one-point favorite at some outlets. Field goals were exchanged early in the fourth quarter, then TCU burned a significant amount of clock and reached the Texas Tech 4-yard-line before offensive pass interference pushed the Frogs back. Ultimately TCU had to settle for a short go-ahead field goal rather than a touchdown that could have cleared the favorite spread. After a pair of punts Texas Tech would get the ball back with two minutes to work with but fumbled away its opportunity on 1st down.

Wisconsin (-14) 37, Nebraska 21: The Cornhuskers came to play in this game but had a few tough breaks, allowing a kickoff return touchdown while also giving up a short field score after an interception as Wisconsin led 27-14 at halftime and 34-14 late in the third quarter despite Nebraska winding up with more yardage in the game and having little trouble moving the ball against the highly regarded Wisconsin defense. Nebraska snuck within the spread with a touchdown late in the third quarter to trail by 13 after missing a field goal earlier in the quarter but in the fourth quarter the Huskers had drives of 81 and 74 yards that both come up empty on 4th-and-goal failures. In-between those long scoreless efforts for Nebraska, Wisconsin added a field goal to win by 16.

Iowa (-3) 23, Minnesota 19: Iowa was in command in the first half with a 20-3 edge but Minnesota managed a field goal just before halftime and going first after the break the Gophers looked the part of a comeback threat with a quick touchdown to close to within seven. A long scoring drought on both sides followed and included what will be an infamous moment for P.J. Fleck as he was hit with an unsportsmanlike conduct call for running on to the field to check on injured player after a 4th down incompletion, eliminating leaving Iowa back inside its own 10-yard-line. Iowa eventually converted a short field goal to lead by 10 nearly midway through the fourth quarter. Minnesota answered with a touchdown to seemingly climb even with the underdog spread but the PAT was missed in a monumental play relative to the spread. The Gophers were able to get the ball back but Tanner Morgan took a second down sack and had to leave the game with an injury. Backup quarterback Cole Kramer stepped into a tough spot with a 3rd-and-21 incompletion and a 4th-and-21 interception as Iowa held on.

Central Michigan (+1) 45, Ball State 44: The Cardinals led 27-11 at halftime and still led by 10 entering the fourth quarter. Central Michigan proved up to the task however with an early touchdown in the fourth quarter offset only by a field goal for a six-point deficit for the Chippewas. Getting the ball back with about five minutes to go, Quinten Dormady didn’t face great resistance leading a drive 72 yards in 10 plays before cashing in with a minute to go for the one-point edge. Drew Plitt wound up intercepted on 4th down for Ball State’s final opportunity as the slight underdog delivered the comeback win.

Utah State (-5) 26, Wyoming 21: The Aggies opened at -6½ but dipped to -4½ and even -3 by Saturday before a late rise to close back at -5 at some outlets. The timing wound up mattering as a 23-14 Utah State lead through three quarters was threatened. The Aggies went up by 12 with a field goal following an interception after just missing a field goal on their last drive. Wyoming answered with one of its best drives of the game to climb within five with fewer than seven minutes remaining. Utah State didn’t offer much of a threat to add points late while Wyoming’s final drive across midfield ended in an interception, the third of the day for a Cowboys team not accustomed to passing that often.

Georgia (-3) 21, Auburn 14: Auburn was kept off the board in the first half despite three drives into Georgia territory with a missed field goal, getting stopped on downs just outside of field goal range, and a fumble. Up 7-0 Georgia managed another score right before halftime to lead 14-0 and that became 21-0 with the help of a big personal foul call late in the third quarter. Auburn flipped a switch from there with two quick touchdowns and two 3-and-outs on defense and had the ball back across midfield with a chance to tie the game. A surprising replay overturn took a 1st down catch away from the Tigers and then two plays later Bo Nix missed a wide-open Harold Joiner in what would have been an easy 4th down conversion and likely a big gain. Auburn had timeouts and got the ball back with another chance in worse field position with nearly two minutes remaining but a facemask on Nix was ignored on the series and Auburn was eventually sacked on 4th down to seal the win for Georgia, who clinched the SEC East despite being held to only 251 total yards.

Iowa State (-7) 23, Texas 21: The Cyclones controlled this game but a 20-7 lead through three quarters was erased with two Texas touchdowns to suddenly put the Longhorns in the lead by one with about five minutes to go. Sam Ehlinger would get the ball back with about four minutes left after the Texas defense held but the Longhorns didn’t gain a yard before punting. Texas got hit with back-to-back pass interference calls as Iowa State looked to go back in front for 30 free yards early in the drive and then defensive offsides converted 4th-and-5 for the Cyclones. Eventually Iowa State burned the remaining clock and Connor Assalley hit the 36-yard field goal for the win but the late rally was enough for Longhorns backers.

Hawai’i (-6½) 21, UNLV 7: These teams were tied 7-7 until late in the third quarter and Cortez Davis gave the Warriors the lead with a 43-yard interception return touchdown. The Hawai’i offense added a score a few minutes later and then the defense got another interception to thwart a long UNLV drive. The Warriors then soaked up all the remaining clock with an 11-play drive to seal the win.

Washington State (-11) 49, Stanford 22: Washington State led 19-0 early in this game but Stanford remained competitive trailing 25-22 late in the third quarter. Both teams had big production totals his game but Washington State kept the scoring going, closing the game on a 24-0 run to boost the numbers and create a misleading final result with Stanford suffering two late interceptions.

Air Force (-10) 38, Colorado State 21: The Rams led 14-0 led by a defensive touchdown in the first quarter. Air Force would score 10 in the second quarter but the underdog Rams still led into the fourth quarter with a spread that reached +10½ at some outlets. Air Force took over in the final frame with a pair of scores to match the common spread with a 10-point advantage before Colorado State went 75 yards in two plays to stay in the game. Air Force scored with 2:32 to go to again make the margin 10 points and then as the Rams were poised to seal the underdog cover with a red zone opportunity, the Falcons got a 99-yard pick-six for the improbable road favorite cover.

Oregon State (+1) 35, Arizona State 34: A slight favorite all week Arizona state found itself down two scores in the second half after a short-field touchdown for the Beavers made it 35-21 late in the third quarter. It took fewer than two minutes for the Sun Devils to respond closing the margin to seven heading into the fourth. Scoring stalled from there with fumbles costing both teams scoring chances before Jayden Daniels led a 90-yard drive into the end zone. With 1:40 on the clock the Sun Devils opted to go for two but couldn’t convert as Oregon State narrowly held on.

Southern Miss (-17) 36, UTSA 17: Southern Miss allowed 422 yards to the Roadrunners in this game and led by only six late in the third quarter. A long run put the Golden Eagles up 12 heading into the fourth before five punts were traded between these teams. On a short field Southern Miss added a late touchdown to slip past the favorite spread and then had to hold off four UTSA plays from the 10-yard line with a late Roadrunners threat ending up empty.

LSU (-21½) 58, Mississippi 37: LSU continues to tantalize with its offense posting big numbers again but a now 4-7 Mississippi team put 614 yards up against allegedly the #1 team in the nation as the championship trophy shouldn’t be shipped to Baton Rouge just yet. LSU led 28-0 early in this game but Ole Miss made several charges back into the contest including trimming the margin down to 11 points late in the third quarter. The Tigers would push the margin back to 21 with about five minutes to go in the game but the Rebels would answer with another big play. LSU ran for a 49-yard score on the first play after recovering the onside kick and the game ultimately would end with Ole Miss barely hanging on to the heavy underdog cover as LSU took a knee at the 10-yard-line.

Oregon (-27) 34, Arizona 6: Arizona trailed by 22 heading into the fourth quarter as the defense kept Oregon in check respectably but the offense wasn’t able to take advantage of a Justin Herbert interception to add points in the fourth quarter. The Ducks connected for a 33-yard touchdown with about 10 minutes remaining to slip past the spread with a 28-point edge, even with a missed PAT. Arizona reached the red zone on the next possession but after converting a 4th down via penalty earlier in the drive, the Wildcats failed to come through on 4th down from the Oregon 13-yard-line. The Wildcats had another late drive into Oregon territory but couldn’t add points as Oregon managed to cover the nearly four-touchdown spread despite scoring only five touchdowns.

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NFL Close Calls Wk10

NFL Close Calls – Week 10

11/12/2019

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 or total in the fourth quarter last week in Week 10 of the NFL regular season including the epic Monday night affair in San Francisco.  

Oakland Raiders (+1) 26, Los Angeles Chargers 24 (49): The Raiders led 20-17 through three quarters after the Chargers settled for a 27-yard field goal late in the third quarter. The next Los Angeles drive started with a sack but eventually finished in the end zone while taking more than eight minutes off the clock. Down four, Oakland would need a touchdown and Derek Carr led the offense down the field without facing a 3rd down until 3rd-and-1 from the 18-yard-line with just over a minute remaining. Josh Jacobs would break through and go the distance to put Oakland up by two and incredibly Daniel Carlson missed the PAT to leave the Chargers a chance to win with a field goal. That touchdown also put the total just ‘over’ hovering from 47½ to 49 during the week. The Chargers could only pick up five yards before Philip Rivers wound up intercepted with 20 seconds to go on 4th-and-10, his third pick of the day for a 3-0 turnover edge for the Raiders in a two-point win.

Tennessee Titans (+5) 35, Kansas City Chiefs 32 (48½): Patrick Mahomes likely returning was already baked into this spread opening at -3 but Kansas City climbed all the way to -6 in Nashville with the confirmation of last season’s MVP returning. Mahomes did not disappoint with huge numbers and a 63-yard touchdown put the Chiefs up by nine in the fourth quarter. Tennessee answered with a five-minute drive to get within two and then held the Chiefs to a field goal, with Kansas City incredibly leading by five on a closing line of five despite that being a rather uncommon football margin. The Titans had to go for it on 4th-and-17 from their own 32 and failed but the Chiefs weren’t able to close out the game, taking a sack on 3rd-and-short. A bad snap botched a field goal attempt to keep the margin at five and gave the Titans great field goal position with still more than a minute to go. Ryan Tannehill delivered the go-ahead score for the Titans in just four plays and the two-point conversion put the Titans up three. Handed only 23 seconds Mahomes got the Chiefs 28 yards but a 52-yard kick to force overtime was then blocked by Joshua Kalu, with either perfect or uncalled early timing depending on your perspective.

Cleveland Browns (-3) 19, Buffalo Bills 16 (42): Cleveland led 9-7 at halftime after being unable to punch in several attempts near the goal line to prevent a larger lead, though Buffalo also missed a 34-yard field goal before the break. A safety tied the game in the third quarter but Cleveland got a field goal to lead by three on a spread of -3, though -2½ was available early in the week. A holding call for the Bills cost them a first down late in the third quarter and Buffalo went for it on 4th-and-4 and came up short on the final play of the third quarter. The Bills got a solid punt return a few minutes later to land near midfield and was able to get in the end zone after some close calls with a recovered fumble and then a touchdown brought back on review. Down four the Browns gave up a defensive touchdown but on a review Baker Mayfield’s fumble was overturned to an incomplete shovel pass. Shortly after the two-minute warning Cleveland connected for the go-ahead score to leave the margin at three. Buffalo got in position to force overtime but Stephen Hauschka missed left from 53 yards for a costly Bills defeat and a push for most on the spread.

New York Jets (+3) 34, New York Giants 27 (43): There were big scoring swings in this contest with a 14-0 lead for the Jets but the Giants scoring twice before the break. The Jets got a defensive score in the third quarter but the Giants put back-to-back touchdowns together and led 27-24 heading into the fourth, right even with the closing spread with a big move on this game from the Jets opening as a slight favorite. The Jets closed the game on a 13-0 run as a productive overall day from Daniel Jones and the Giants offense finished with four punts and a fumble for 25 net yards on its final five possessions combined.

Green Bay Packers (-4½) 24, Carolina Panthers 16 (49): The Panthers scored first in this game but the Packers took over in the second half to lead 24-10 heading into the third quarter with two scores around an interception in the end zone from Kyle Allen. The Panthers scored with about 12 minutes to go and went for two unsuccessfully to trail by eight. The defense did its part forcing two Green Bay punts and Allen led an 18-play drive going 88 yards in the final three minutes. The Panthers needed 89 however as after getting new life after a defensive penalty on 4th down, the Panthers wound up with an incomplete pass and then one final chance. Christian McCaffrey went up the middle and may have crossed the plane narrowly but amidst bodies and a snow covered field, the clear video evidence of the ball crossing the chalk wasn’t there as the Green Bay escaped and Panthers backers were left a few points short.

Chicago Bears (-6½) 20, Detroit Lions 13 (38): Matthew Stafford was ruled out Sunday morning as this line shot from as low as -2½ up to -7 before settling at -6½ with Jeff Driskel starting. It was 7-6 at halftime but Mitchell Trubisky led two scoring drives in the third quarter for a 14-point edge. The Lions were productive with a big yardage edge and scored with six minutes to go on a big play to climb within seven. The Lions failed on 4th-and-11 near midfield ahead of the two-minute warning but the Bears only could run off 32 seconds. Down at their own 10, the Lions were able to make Bears and ‘under’ backers quite nervous reaching the Chicago 25 in the final seconds but the defense held up.

Pittsburgh Steelers (+4) 17, Los Angeles Rams 12 (43½): The Rams had two interceptions to start the second half but held defensively both times. A field goal put Los Angeles within four and Aaron Donald added a safety early in the fourth quarter, sitting down two to leave the Rams with a path to cover the road favorite number with a touchdown. The Steelers converted a 4th-and-1 from their own 34 in a huge play in this outcome and then recovered their own fumble on the very next play for another close call. Eventually the Steelers were able to add a 33-yard field goal to lead by five with fewer than three minutes remaining to seal the underdog cover in most scenarios. The Rams had two late possessions but the first ended with a 4th down incomplete pass while Jared Goff had another interception on the final drive. The most impactful play of the game ultimately came just before halftime with Jared Goff ruled to have fumbled and Pittsburgh returning it 43 yards for a touchdown when an incomplete pass has often been called on similar throwing motions.

Minnesota Vikings (+3) 28, Dallas Cowboys 24 (48): A 14-0 first quarter lead for the Vikings was erased in the second quarter but Minnesota added field goals on both sides of halftime. Amari Cooper got a touchdown midway through the third to put Dallas up one but the Vikings answered with eight, going for it on 4th-and-goal and also hitting the two-point conversion. Dallas was not as aggressive in its answer kicking a field goal with 10 minutes remaining to trail by four. In the final minute of the game Dallas would again face 4th-and-5 and could not find the end zone. Minnesota didn’t do enough to run much clock off and Dallas had the ball back near midfield. A few quick gains made for a reasonable Hail Mary try that was ultimately intercepted.

Seattle Seahawks (+6½) 27, San Francisco 49ers 24 (47): Week 10 saved the best for last with a thrilling showcase game in the NFC West Monday night. The undefeated 49ers looked the part as the league’s top team with a 10-0 first quarter lead. The game turned late in the second quarter with a defensive touchdown for Seattle to climb within three despite the offense struggling. Seattle held to get the ball back before halftime in great field position and DK Metclalf nearly took the Seahawks into the end zone with a long run after contact but he was incredibly stripped of the ball for a San Francisco touchback. Seattle also fumbled on its first drive out of the break but San Francisco stalled on the edge of field goal range and fell incomplete on 4th-and-2. Back-to-back turnovers led to two quick Seattle touchdowns but the momentum shifted back quickly as the 49ers had their own defensive score to make it 21-18 early in the fourth. San Francisco tied the game with a field goal at about the six-minute mark before matching field goals sent the game to overtime, with San Francisco’s late tying field goal securing the ‘over’ as well. The Seahawks hit a huge play on 3rd-and-16 and were in field goal range going first on overtime but Russell Wilson threw his second interception of the season. San Francisco looked poised to win but fill-in kicker Chase McLaughlin missed badly from 47, the same distance he hit from to force overtime. Punts followed as a tie looked possible but Wilson had a big scramble and hit a few short gains to allow Jason Myers to deliver from 42 yards as time expired for the upset.

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4Q Covers Week 11

4th Quarter Covers – NCAA Week 11

11/10/2019

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 weekend of the college football. 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.

Toledo (-3) 35, Kent State 33: The line on this game crashed from -7½ to just -3 but Toledo led 14-0 nine minutes into the game and maintained a 28-17 edge at halftime. Kent State climbed back in the game and after a late third quarter touchdown the Flashes kicked the PAT to trail by just one. Toledo would answer less than five minutes later to go up by eight but Kent State completed a 15-play drive to find the end zone with just over five minutes remaining. That score put the Flashes in position to cover but the two-point conversion attempt to make things even more interesting came up short.

Miami, OH (+7) 24, Ohio 21: The Bobcats never led in this game but the scoring traded off throughout the game and was tied twice in the fourth quarter as overtime was realistic to keep all spread outcomes in play. With about four minutes remaining Miami connected on Sam Sloman’s 53-yard field goal to take a 3-point lead and Ohio mangled its possession, winding up needing to go for it on 4th-and-23 while having a costly penalty and burning two timeouts.  

Illinois (+16) 37, Michigan State 34: The Spartans seemed to be in complete control leading 28-3 early and still 31-10 through three quarters. Illinois would score a pair of touchdowns early in the fourth quarter to get back in the game and then got a 76-yard interception return touchdown. The PAT was missed as the Illini weren’t able to tie the game. Michigan State had to settle for a field goal however and the Illini put together a 13-play drive to go 75 yards in the final three minutes for the upset.

Purdue (-1) 24, Northwestern 22: The dormant Northwestern offense exploded for two first quarter touchdowns but Purdue would take a 21-16 lead by the end of the third quarter. Northwestern went back in front in the fourth but up by one, failed on the two-point try in what lurked as potentially big play relative to the spread with the Wildcats a slight favorite much of the week. Northwestern missed a field goal with 2:30 remaining in the game to leave the door open for Purdue to steal the win late. With about a minute remaining Aidan O’Connell was intercepted in Northwestern territory on 4th down but the play was wiped out with a pass interference call, handing Purdue a new set of downs 15 yards closer. The Boilermakers only gained two more yards and J.D. Dellinger connected from 39 yards for the Purdue win.

Texas San Antonio (+3) 24, Old Dominion 23: The Monarchs had a 23-10 lead through three quarters at home but allowed an 85-yard touchdown drive early in the fourth quarter to wind up in a one-score game. The Roadrunners forced a punt and then put together perhaps their best drive of the season with a 14-play drive that included three 3rd down conversions. The touchdown with fewer than three minutes remaining tied the game and the PAT was good for the lead. Old Dominion approached midfield on its final drive but wound up fumbling on a sack as UTSA got the win.

USC (-5½) 31, Arizona State 26: This line climbed as it became clear that Arizona State quarterback Jayden Daniels wouldn’t play. USC scored four touchdowns in the first quarter but Arizona State would battle back, climbing within eight in the third quarter before a USC field goal made it an 11-point margin heading into the fourth quarter. The Sun Devils struck early in the fourth to trail by five with a two-point conversion try coming up short in a key play relative to the number. USC continued to fail to pick up first downs managing only three points in the final three quarters but the defense got an interception in the final minute to thwart a promising late drive from the Sun Devils. The fourth quarter touchdown from Arizona State put the scoring at 57, even with a common number during the week but past the late week total that fell to as low as 54½ with the quarterback change.

Mississippi (-28) 41, New Mexico State 3: The Rebels led just 17-3 before getting a touchdown in the final minute before halftime. Adding just seven in the third quarter the margin was right near the spread with a 31-3 edge into the fourth quarter. Mississippi completed a 98-yard drive to slip past the number early in the fourth and then added a late field goal for good measure.

Texas (-7) 27, Kansas State 24: A 14-0 Wildcats lead made the favorite cover for the Longhorns unlikely but Texas scored the next 24 points to lead by 10 early in the fourth quarter. After that short field touchdown drive Kansas State returned the kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown to get back within three however. Texas was held to a 3-and-out and Kansas State got a huge 3rd-and-long unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on its drive. That gain put Kansas State in field goal range and the game was tied at the 6:45 mark. Texas quickly approached the edge of field goal range and then found itself with 1st-and-goal from the Kansas State 2-yard line with a minute and a half to go. Texas did its best to burn the entire remaining clock instead of trying to score a touchdown but on 3rd and goal Sam Ehlinger had enough space to scamper into the end zone but an illegal formation play erased it. Texas eventually kicked a 26-yard field goal that was good and Kansas State didn’t get the ball again. Those laying points on the Longhorns with a spread that jumped from -5½ to -7 didn’t see Tom Herman’s late-game logic quite the same way.

UL-Monroe (+2½) 45, Georgia State 31: This game was tied 24-24 at halftime without consecutive scores for either team. UL-Monroe would take over with a 3-play 82-yard drive to lead by seven but Georgia State answered to leave the game knotted 31-31 through three quarters. A fumble, and two fourth down failures filled the next three Panthers possessions as the Warhawaks would add two touchdowns to pull away.

Wisconsin (-7½) 24, Iowa 22: The Badgers scored a touchdown just before halftime and then again late in the third quarter to emerge with a 21-6 edge. Iowa would put up a great late fight however with 10 points in the first six minutes of the fourth quarter around a Jack Coan interception as some familiarities to the Illinois collapse for Wisconsin emerged. On its field goal Iowa’s kicker was run into but the Hawkeyes opted to keep the points and stay down five rather than going for it on 4th-and-short down eight. The Badgers would burn a big chunk of clock but ultimately couldn’t put the game away, settling for a 29-yard field goal that was barely good. Iowa connected for a 75-yard touchdown pass on its first play and lined up for the tying two-point conversion. Quarterback Nate Stanley ran up the middle and was stopped just short. Wisconsin would reach the Iowa 11-yard-line before ultimately taking a knee in the final minute without adding points.

Baylor (-1½) 29, TCU 23: TCU led 9-0 at halftime looking to end Baylor’s undefeated run but the Bears would hit two field goals to trail 9-6 early in the fourth quarter, the second of which came on a 1-yard drive after inheriting great field position with an interception. Five straight punts followed before Baylor put together a late drive aided by a pass interference call, while also having an interception called off with a false start. The Bears went backwards from the TCU 22 and had to make a 51-yard field goal to force overtime as regulation didn’t feature a touchdown. Overtime would feature five straight touchdowns with Baylor going up by six leading the third session but unable to get the required two-point conversion. That score sealed an unfortunate ‘over’ despite 18 points in regulation. Max Duggan seemed to rush into the end zone to tie the game but on review he was ruled out at the 3-yard-line. TCU went backwards from there and eventually on 4th-and-goal the Baylor defense secured the win with an interception, getting the favorite cover as well while remaining at the front of the Big XII race.

Oklahoma (-14½) 42, Iowa State 41: Oklahoma led 35-14 at halftime and still led by 21 through three quarters. Iowa State got back within the number with a touchdown on the first play of the fourth quarter. Oklahoma fumbled to give the ball right back but Iowa State was unable to score from 1st-and-goal. The defense forced a quick punt and went 80 yards in four plays to suddenly put the game back in play. Facing 3rd-and-7 Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts seemed to be trying to throw the ball away but wound up intercepted in bounds to give the Cyclones great field position. Brock Purdy led a touchdown drive and Matt Campbell made the call to go for the win with 24 seconds to go. Pressure came and Purdy made a throw on the money but egregious pass interference was ignored by the officials as the Sooners escaped.

Hawai’i (-9½) 42, San Jose State 40: The line on the late night game had a late jump to as high as -9½ from -7 to -8 most of the week. That appeared to matter with Hawai’i up nine early in the fourth quarter. San Jose State connected for a 40-yard touchdown pass to get within two but the Warriors burned more than five minutes for a 12-play touchdown drive to go back up by nine. The Warriors had a chance to hold that margin but on 4th-and-7 San Jose State converted in its own territory and a few plays later struck the end zone again with fewer than two minutes on the clock to confirm the underdog cover.

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NFL Week 9 Close Calls

NFL Close Calls – Week 9

11/04/2019

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 or total in the fourth quarter last week in Week 9 of the NFL regular season. Every home team covered in Week 9 heading into Monday night but not without late drama in several games.

San Francisco 49ers (-10) 28, Arizona Cardinals 25 (43½): While Arizona put up a decent fight they allowed a score on the final play of the first half to fall behind 21-7. Scoring a few minutes out of the break kept the Cardinals in the game but San Francisco answered three minutes later to lead 28-14 heading into the fourth quarter. In the final frame a long Cardinals drive resulted in a field goal to trim the margin to 11, with the decision to kick due to facing 4th-and-13. That wasn’t going to be quite enough for the underdog on a spread that leaped from +7 all the way to +10. The Arizona defense held and Kyler Murray and Andy Isabella connected for 88 yards to put the Cardinals back in play for the upset. The-two-point conversion was good and it was a 3-point margin. San Francisco converted three third downs including one that was upheld on a challenge to melt the remaining clock, moving to 8-0.

Buffalo Bills (-10½) 24, Washington Redskins 9 (37): A rout seemed possible with a quick 10-0 lead for the Bills in the first quarter. Washington managed a second quarter field goal but a strong Bills kickoff return followed and it was 17-3. Washington got three more before the break to trail by 11, right near the closing spread. A productive Bills drive out of halftime was stopped on 4th-and-1 and eventually Washington added three more to trail by just eight with a spread that was as low as +9½ before climbing back up. Four consecutive punts kept the scoring in check and aided the ‘under’ before the Bills inherited great field position with about six minutes remaining. The play of the game relative to the spread was Buffalo facing 3rd-and-18 in deep field goal range. An incomplete pass and Buffalo likely punts to pin Washington back but Josh Allen connected with John Brown for 23 yards. Still ahead of the two-minute warning Buffalo wasn’t going to be able to run out the clock and eventually added a Devin Singletary touchdown to flip the spread result with just 2:21 to go. Dwayne Haskins got the Redskins near midfield before falling short on 4th-and-4 in a mediocre but perhaps slightly better than some expected performance in his first NFL start against a quality defense on the road.

Carolina Panthers (-3) 30, Tennessee Titans 20 (43): After a scoreless first quarter the Panthers scored 17 in the second and led 24-7 through three quarters. The Titans completed a 94-yard drive early in the fourth but allowed a 58-yard run to Christian McCaffrey a few minutes later to stay down by 16 as a slight underdog, though the spread was +3½ or higher much of the week. Ryan Tannehill was intercepted on Tennessee’s next drive in Carolina territory but the Panthers would miss a field goal to keep the Titans in the game. With fewer than three minutes remaining Tennessee found the end zone but didn’t get the conversion to trail by 10, leaving the door open for a spread-spoiling touchdown if they got the ball back. Only 20 seconds came off the clock on Carolina’s 3-and-out with Tennessee only needing to burn two timeouts thanks to a 2nd down pass call from the Panthers. The Titans went down the field quickly but had to waste a down to stop the clock with just over a minute remaining on 3rd down and opted for a field goal on 4th-and-3 to the relief of those on the Panthers. The kick was ultimately missed anyway but the 19-point fourth quarter did clear the total ‘over’.

Philadelphia Eagles (-5) 22, Chicago Bears 14 (41): The Eagles dominated the first half in this playoff rematch as in a week where Mitchell Trubisky and the Bears offense came under great scrutiny, the offense had negative total production five drives into the game and didn’t pick up a first down until the final minute of the first half. Philadelphia extended a 12-0 halftime lead to 19-0 going 84 yards after halftime but Chicago would score touchdowns on two of its next three drives to trail by five, even with a common spread on the game. A pair of punts followed before a great Carson Wentz drive, burning more than eight minutes of clock in a 16-play effort that resulted in a field goal in the final minute of the game to give the Eagles the clear win and cover.

Kansas City Chiefs (+5½) 26, Minnesota Vikings 23 (46): The line on this game was not commonly available until the weekend and with Patrick Mahomes ruled out the road favorite price kept climbing. A 10-10 tie at halftime was broken with a short-field Vikings touchdown following a Chiefs fumble on the kickoff after the break. Minnesota missed the PAT however and that allowed the Chiefs to lead by one after Damien Williams broke a 91-yard run late in the third quarter. The Chiefs added a field goal to lead by four but Minnesota went in front by three early in the fourth. The Vikings weren’t able to hold on defense however even with a huge 3rd-and-13 sack to push Harrison Butker’s tying field goal attempt to 54 yards. Still ahead of the two-minute warning Kirk Cousins went backwards on Minnesota’s chance for a go-ahead drive. A terrible punt followed as special teams issues continue to haunt Mike Zimmer with the Chiefs starting at Minnesota’s 45-yard-line. A sack on 1st down gave Minnesota a chance to get to overtime but Matt Moore connected for two solid gains and Butker was good from 44 yards.

Pittsburgh Steelers (-1) 26, Indianapolis Colts 24 (39½): A common fallacy is assuming a near-even line won’t come into play but the difference between +1 and -1 looked significant in the Colts/Steelers game much of the way with either option available on either team depending on the timing. The scoring got off a normal trajectory as Pittsburgh recovered its own fumble in the end zone late in the third quarter to take a safety instead of allowing a touchdown, trimming a 20-16 lead to 20-18. The Colts would fumble the kickoff to botch an opportunity to have good field position and despite gaining only four yards, the Steelers added three points to lead by five. With Brian Hoyer at quarterback most of the game the Colts were in the red zone midway through the third but faced a decision on 4th-and-2. Hoyer connected for the touchdown but the Colts didn’t get the two-point try as the lead was one. A big defensive pass interference call withstood review but from 1st-and-goal the Steelers had to settle for a short kick to go back in front by two with still six minutes to go. Punts were exchanged before Hoyer and the Colts got the ball back with 2:28 to go from their own 15. Pass interference would again be the central conversation with Indianapolis gaining 35 yards on a call that withstood review. Pittsburgh would also challenge for offensive pass interference later in the drive but with no change of course. Indianapolis reached field goal range but lost three yards on 3rd-and-1 with just over a minute to go. Adam Vinatieri would miss in another high profile spot from 43 yards as Pittsburgh escaped with the win.

Oakland Raiders (-3) 31, Detroit Lions 24 (51½): While both teams moved the ball well, the scoring stalled in the third quarter as the Lions settled for a short field goal to tie the game 17-17. Off-setting penalties offset a potential 3rd down stop for the Lions early in the fourth quarter and on the re-play Oakland went up 24-17. After a series of punts the Lions took advantage of good field position to tie the game with just over five minutes remaining. Oakland quickly earned 1st-and-goal as the two-minute warning approached but on 3rd-and-9 Oakland connected to go back up by seven. The Lions got two chunks of yardage on penalties but in the final minute Matthew Stafford took a sack from the 4-yard-line. Facing 3rd-and-goal from the 14, Detroit got 13 yards and Oakland held on the final play with an incomplete pass on a jump ball off play-action, with Lions fans certainly having a valid case that the defender’s contact was early.

Seattle Seahawks (-4) 40, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 34 (50½): +6 and even briefly +6½ was available early in the week on the Buccaneers. It didn’t seem to matter with a 21-7 early lead for the road underdog. Halfway through the third quarter Seattle connected for a touchdown and a 2-point conversion to tie the game. Matching field goals followed to make it 24-24 early in the fourth before both teams had fumbles. Taking advantage of great field position Seattle took its first lead of the game with eight minutes to go on a short field goal. The Buccaneers were able to tie the game with five minutes to go. It took only three plays for Seattle to answer, hitting a 53-yard touchdown to pass up the favorite spread for the first time in the game. Jameis Winston converted a 4th down at the two-minute warning and then put Tampa Bay into the end zone in the final minute. With still 46 seconds to go, Tampa Bay kicked the PAT to tie the game. To no one’s surprise Russell Wilson was able to get the Seahawks in position to win but Jason Myers missed from 40 yards, setting up the nightmare scenario to come for Buccaneers backers. Seattle won the toss and an exhausted Buccaneers defense was picked apart. An illegal contract call gave Seattle a big first down to get into field goal range and on 3rd-and-6 the Seahawks struck for 29 yards, inevitably getting into the end zone two plays later for the win and the undeserved favorite cover for most.

Denver Broncos (+4) 24, Cleveland Browns 19 (39): Before Joe Flacco was ruled out, the Broncos were a slight favorite in this game but were +3 to +4 with Brandon Allen set for his first NFL action. Allen played well and led the Broncos to a 17-12 lead at halftime, with Denver’s defense holding Cleveland to four field goals. A Phillip Linsday run put Denver up by 12 late in the third quarter but the Browns got back within five early in the fourth. Cleveland forced a punt and had the ball back with still more than seven minutes to go. A signature drive was possible for Baker Mayfield in what has been a difficult season. The Browns reached 3rd-and-1 at the Denver 25 and kept the ball out of Mayfield’s hands with a rush from Nick Chubb losing three yards. Mayfield fell incomplete on 4th down as the Broncos held on to surpass the Browns in the ACC standings.

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4Q Covers Week 10

4th Quarter Covers – NCAA Week 10

11/02/2019

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 10th weekend of the college football season to start November. 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.

Coastal Carolina (+2) 36, Troy 35: It was clear early on that this Sun Belt game would be a high-scoring back-and-forth affair with five touchdowns combined in the first quarter. Coastal Carolina scored 11 points out the break to lead by seven but Troy answered to tie the game heading into the final frame on a spread that was near-even most of the week with the Trojans closing as a slight favorite. Troy got the ball back in the fourth and connected for a touchdown to go up by seven with just over eight minutes remaining. The Chanticleers couldn’t answer but pinned Troy deep and got the ball back with over two minutes remaining though having already used up all three timeouts. Bryce Carpenter and Coastal Carolina faced only one third down in an 11-play drive resulting in a touchdown and playing to win Coastal Carolina went for two. Pass interference was called on the initial failed conversion but inched closer on the retry CJ Marable raced in to take the lead and secure the clear cover for Coastal Carolina.

Pittsburgh (-9½) 20, Georgia Tech 10: Pittsburgh had a nearly 2-to-1 yardage edge while holding Georgia Tech below 200 yards for the game but the Yellow Jackets got a third quarter field goal following a blocked punt to trail by only seven. The Yellow Jackets were poised to tie the game reaching 1st-and-goal from the 6-yard-line but fumbled on 3rd down with a 79-yard return setting up a Pittsburgh field goal on the first play of the fourth quarter to put the Panthers back up by 10, past a spread that jumped from -7½ to -9½. Pittsburgh couldn’t put the game away missing a 44-yard field goal later in the fourth but Georgia Tech’s next play was an interception. The Yellow Jackets would punt deep in their own territory with more than six minutes remaining and never held the ball again as Pittsburgh escaped with the win and narrow cover.

Purdue (+4) 31, Nebraska 27: Adrian Martinez returned for Nebraska and fueled a 10-0 first quarter for the Cornhuskers. By halftime Purdue led 14-10 however, scoring with 14 seconds before the break on 3rd down to complete a 96-yard drive. Nebraska took a 3-point lead early in the fourth quarter and still led by three with about four minutes remaining after an exchange of touchdowns with a road favorite spread that was commonly at -3 upon release before sliding upward to -4 by kickoff. Purdue went 82 yards for the go-ahead touchdown with just over a minute remaining relying on Aidan O’Connell at quarterback after Jack Plummer was injured again earlier in the fourth quarter.

Arkansas State (-1) 48, UL-Monroe 41: The Warhawks led 21-3 early in this game before four touchdowns from Arkansas State in the span of just over 12 minutes in the second quarter. UL-Monroe would rally to tie the game by the end of the third quarter but the Red Wolves would strike first in the fourth and would add a second touchdown in the middle of the fourth to pull away. The Warhawks got back within seven and crossed midfield on its final drive before running out of time.

Tulane (-10) 38, Tulsa 26: Tulsa led 13-10 in the second quarter but would up down 31-16 by the end of the third quarter with a defensive score for Tulane part of the turnaround. The Golden Hurricane would climb within five with 10 minutes to go but on 4th-and-goal with fewer than five minutes to go Tulane was able to cross the goal line and slip past the favorite spread with a 12-point final margin as a torturous run of late-game stumbles continued for Tulsa.

Utah (-3) 33, Washington 28: Washington led 21-13 late in the third quarter before a pick-6 put Utah right back in the game. The Utes missed on the two-point conversion but added a pair of fourth quarter touchdowns to suddenly lead by 12. Washington would score a late touchdown but it wasn’t enough as the Utes avenged the Pac-12 championship loss from last season while stealing the cover as well in a game that Washington didn’t trail in until the fourth quarter.

South Carolina (-14½) 24, Vanderbilt 7: The Gamecocks led 14-7 through three quarters despite dominating the production in the game. A fourth quarter field goal after an interception calmed the upset risk and after forcing a punt the Gamecocks put the game away with a 76-yard touchdown drive completed with about six minutes remaining. Vanderbilt had another interception on its next possession as South Carolina escaped with the win and the narrow favorite cover.

Memphis (-5½) 54, SMU 48: The showcase game in the AAC Saturday night lived up to its billing much of the way before Memphis pulled away late in the third quarter. Down 16 entering the fourth quarter SMU was able to get eight to cut the margin in half but about a minute later the Tigers were back in the end zone. Memphis would go up 54-32 with about nine minutes remaining but SMU delivered a long run to stay in the game. Down 14 with just over two minutes to go SMU found the end zone and again went for two, converting a third straight two-pointer with this late conversion having a big impact on plenty of folks with late week numbers of -6 or -6½ on the Tigers.

Nevada (-4) 21, New Mexico 10: The Wolf Pack scored a pair of touchdowns in the span of three minutes in the second quarter to lead by seven at the break. New Mexico managed a field goal in the third to trail by four, even with the closing spread though lines as high as -6½ and as low as -3 were possible at various times. Early in the fourth quarter New Mexico reached the Nevada 11-yard-line but failed going for it on 4th-and-1. A series of punts followed before a solid return sparked a short-field Nevada touchdown drive to go up by 11 with just over five minutes remaining. New Mexico’s final drive reached Nevada territory before four straight incomplete passes for a Lobos team not used to throwing.

Fresno State (+2) 41, Hawai’i 38: The Warriors led by 10 at halftime, getting 48-yard touchdown 23 seconds before the break. In the third quarter Fresno State took over, outscoring Hawai’i 17-0 to take a 31-24 lead into the fourth and a few minutes into the final frame the Bulldogs went up by 14 after an interception. Hawai’i turned in a long drive to answer but came up empty despite reaching 1st-and-goal from the 4. Getting the ball back with fewer than four minutes remaining Hawai’i got back within seven and then saw Fresno State fumble on the kickoff. Five plays later the game was tied with just over a minute remaining with a roughing the passer call aiding the drive led by Chevan Cordeiro, who took over for Cole McDonald earlier in the fourth quarter. The Bulldogs were left with enough time and with limited resistance. Fresno State reached long field goal range. On 3rd-and-10 Fresno State picked up 13 yards to make it a more manageable kick and Cesar Silva was good from 37 yards to seal the minor upset as time expired.

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NFL Week 8 Close Calls

NFL Close Calls – Week 8

10/28/2019

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 or total in the fourth quarter last week in Week 8 of the NFL regular season. Most of this week’s games apply as if you won in Week 8 on sides, congratulations, almost every game could have gone the other way with many of those games certainly deserving of an opposite spread result.

Minnesota Vikings (-17) 19, Washington Redskins 9 (41½): There were eight scoring plays Thursday night but seven were field goals as Minnesota posted more than twice as many yards but couldn’t pull away. Washington trailed by just seven late in the third quarter and got the ball back with a stop on 4th-and-1 just outside of Minnesota field goal range. Two plays later Dwayne Haskins was intercepted to set-up a Dan Bailey field goal early in the fourth quarter to put Minnesota up by 10. A late touchdown would be enough for most Vikings backers on a spread that opened at -14½ and only hit -17 very late in the day before kickoff. The Vikings had the opportunity and attempted to score despite Washington being out of timeouts late but ultimately wound up stopped on 4th-and-4 from the Washington 7-yard-line in the final minute.

Detroit Lions (-6) 31, New York Giants 26 (49): The Lions had a 14-0 lead early but Detroit has made a habit of blowing leads this season. Sure enough the Giants scored the next two touchdowns but missed a PAT to trail by one. The Lions would stretch the edge to four by halftime and led by five through three quarters after an exchange of touchdowns in the third with the Giants failing going for two. Detroit hit a big play early in the fourth quarter to lead by 12 before New York was stopped on downs on back-to-back possessions. Detroit would go backwards on both late possessions however and getting the ball back just ahead of the two-minute warning, the Giants were a backdoor threat. A 25-yard pass interference call put New York in business and with 1:19 remaining the Giants found the end zone. Down six New York matched the closing number and opted to kick the important PAT to lose by just five.

Tennessee Titans (-2) 27, Tampa Bay Buccaneers 23 (45½): The Buccaneers have appealing numbers but the consistent turnovers stand out and they came to bite in this contest with Tampa Bay posting a 389-246 yardage edge in a narrow loss. The Titans led by two at halftime after the Buccaneers went for two after a score right before the break and came up short. The Buccaneers would get eight on an early third quarter score however to lead by six. Tennessee added a late third quarter field goal to trail by three but forced a punt with Tampa Bay unwilling to go for it on 4th-and-1 in its own territory. The Titans then nearly doubled their offensive production for the game with a 12-play 90-yard drive to deliver the go-ahead score, slipping past the slight favorite spread with 6:55 to go as well. Tampa Bay had three more possessions that ended in a fumble, failing on 4th-and-1 in Tennessee territory, and finally a deep pass from Jameis Winston intercepted at the Tennessee 25-yard-line.

Los Angeles Chargers (+3) 17, Chicago Bears 16 (41): The Bears commanded this game in the numbers but settled for three first half field goals while the Chargers got a touchdown. The scoring mode flipped in the third quarter as the Bears were able to find the end zone and led 16-10 as a slight home favorite after a Chargers field goal late in the third quarter. Mitch Trubisky fumbled in Chicago territory on the next possession and the Chargers were able to go 26 yards for a touchdown in three plays to lead by one. Chicago had a productive drive to reach the Los Angeles 37-yard-line but Trubisky took a 3rd down sack and the Bears had to punt. The defense got the stop to give the Bears another chance and rather than taking a few shots to get a touchdown or get closer, the Bears took a knee in the final minute and watched Eddy Pinero miss left from 41 yards.

Seattle Seahawks (-7) 27, Atlanta Falcons 20 (48½): The closing line says seven but that wasn’t an overly common price on this game. Seattle opened at -3 and held at -3½ early in the week before number jumped with Matt Ryan ruled out. -8 was typical over the weekend as results wound up varying on this game. Multiple outcomes didn’t seem possible as Seattle led 24-0 at halftime but Matt Schaub would prove to be a productive backup getting the Falcons 11 points in the third quarter. A Seattle field goal with about six minutes left in the game made the lead 16 and seemed safe but Atlanta went the distance in fewer than three minutes and suddenly was within 10, failing on a two-point conversion that mattered for many. In many ways that might have been a worse outcome for Seattle backers as with a two-score lead the Seahawks could still relax and they punted back while taking just 27 seconds off the clock. Schaub and the Falcons managed the clock well and kicked a second down field goal without using a timeout to trail by seven while still leaving more than a minute on the clock, giving many late-week Falcons backers a win. The on-side kick went out of bounds however to end any further threat as Seattle held on and the total that fell throughout the week stayed just ‘under’.

Jacksonville Jaguars (-7) 29, New York Jets 15 (40): Jacksonville dominated this game in most ways and led 22-7 after a late third quarter field goal. An early fourth quarter touchdown with a successful two-point conversion suddenly put the Jets down just seven however to land even with the common weekend number though early in the week Jacksonville opened at -4½ and was -6 to -6½ for long stretches. The Jaguars gained 30 yards on the next possession but had to punt. Hopes for a New York comeback were short-lived however with a penalty, a negative rushing play, and an interception on three snaps for the Jets. On a short field Jacksonville found the end zone on 3rd-and-goal to go up by 14. Sam Darnold was intercepted across midfield on the next possession for the Jets while another late series ended on downs.

Los Angeles Rams (-12) 24, Cincinnati Bengals 10 (48½): In London the Rams got more they bargained for with the winless Bengals with a 10-10 tie late in the second quarter before a trick play gave Los Angeles a 65-yard touchdown. Out of halftime the Rams added another touchdown to slip past the heavy favorite spread. The Bengals appeared ready to answer reaching the edge for field goal range before going backwards and needing to punt on 4th-and-long. Cincinnati held the Rams to four straight punts the rest of the game but two late drives deep into Los Angeles territory came up empty with a field goal not being worth considering given the time and score. The Bengals couldn’t convert from the 6-yard-line with about five minutes remaining and on a late drive appeared to get the underdog cover with a touchdown with eight seconds to go. On review the play was overturned and the Bengals came up incomplete on its last shot from inside the 10. Winning by 14 with only 24 points Rams backers escaped with a very fortunate cover in a game where the Bengals had more than 400 total yards but just 10 points.

New Orleans Saints (-12½) 31, Arizona Cardinals 9 (48): Arizona trailed New Orleans just 10-6 at halftime but opted to go for it on 4th-and-1 form its own 30 early in the third quarter. The aggressive play was commendable as Kliff Kingsbury is breaking the mold but the move backfired with the Saints adding a short-field touchdown to go up 17-6 a few plays later. Arizona would add a field goal and through three quarters both teams had three scores but Arizona had only field goals. Still down one score Arizona couldn’t get a big third down stop early in the fourth quarter and the Saints went up by 15. About halfway through the final frame the Cardinals reached the New Orleans 27-yard-line but a field goal did no good at that point and 3rd-and-2 and 4th-and-2 attempts to extend the series were stopped. A deflated Cardinals defense gave up back-to-back big plays as the Saints put the game away with another touchdown with five minutes to go.

Houston Texans (-5½) 27, Oakland Raiders 24 (52): The total wound up with mixed results on this game landing right on 51 where the number sat for big chunks of the week. Oakland led this game 21-13 as a Houston win didn’t seem in play but the Texans scored in the first few seconds of the fourth quarter and just went for one to trail 21-20. The Raiders managed a field goal to go up by four before a wild sequence with Deshaun Watson delivering a go-ahead touchdown pass but appearing to be seriously injured. Up three the Houston defense forced an Oakland punt and was a serious threat to steal the cover but Oakland exhausted its timeouts and Houston with Watson still in the game, was ultimately able to take a knee well across midfield after the two-minute warning without needing to try to advance further or consider a late field goal.

New England Patriots (-10) 27, Cleveland Browns 13 (43): Double-digit spreads in the NFL are rarely out of play as while the Patriots were in complete control after 17-0 first quarter, a Browns cover lurked as a real possibility. Down 27-10 Cleveland went for it on 4th-and-16 deep in its own territory and went further backwards. Dealt a 14-yard field the Patriots went backwards as well and missed on a 34-yard field goal with about four minutes remaining. A touchdown would have trimmed the margin to 10 but the Browns came up just short of a 1st down on a late series in New England territory and after a false start pushed it to 4th-and-6 they opted to kick a field goal to trail by 13. The Browns would get the ball back with about a minute to go and picked up a big gain with a pass interference call but a sack followed. With no timeouts left and the clock would run out a few plays later with the game staying just ‘under’ as well.

Green Bay Packers (-5) 31, Kansas City Chiefs 24 (48): A quick 14-0 lead for the Packers was erased in the second quarter as the Chiefs got a good performance from Matt Moore and the defense created some pressure. The Sunday night game was tied 17-17 through three quarters and 24-24 with nine minutes to go. The Packers scored on a 67-yard short pass and run from Aaron Jones to lead by seven but more than eight minutes remained. The Chiefs reached the 40-yard-line and opted to punt on 4th-and-3 with more than five minutes remaining and three timeouts left, a decision it isn’t clear they would make with Patrick Mahomes. Green Bay was able to covert a pair of third downs and run out the remaining clock for the win and narrow cover.

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4Q Covers NCAA Week 9

4th Quarter Covers – NCAA Week 9

10/27/2019

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 weekend of the college football season 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.

Toledo (-2½) 37, Eastern Michigan 34: This MAC contest had major momentum swings going from 10-0 to 10-10 by halftime before Toledo scored three touchdowns in the first six minutes of the third quarter to lead 31-10. Eastern Michigan would take over the game with three consecutive touchdowns, the third of which tied the game with 2:35 to go. Toledo fumbled deep in its own territory on the next possession to seemingly hand the Eagles the game but the Eagles would miss a 33-yard field goal. Going first in overtime Eastern Michigan would settle for another field goal and made it but on a 3rd-and-10 Toledo would find the end zone for the win and narrow cover.

Southern Miss (-10) 20, Rice 6: Rice got on the board with a touchdown with six minutes to go in the third quarter to trail by only seven after missing the PAT. The Owls wound up with only 139 yards in the game but were in position to cover with Southern Miss missing a field goal in the fourth that would have put the Golden Eagles up by 10. Looking to run the clock out Southern Miss converted a 3rd down near midfield and Rice called timeout with 1:24 remaining. The Owls got a stop on 1st down but on 2nd down Kevin Perkins broke through for 38 yards and a touchdown, slipping past the spread with 32 seconds to go.

Hawai’i (-10) 45, New Mexico 31: The outcome in Albuquerque was not in doubt for long with a 35-3 halftime lead for the Warriors. New Mexico broke a 67-yard run in the third quarter to find the end zone but Hawai’i added 10 more points to lead 45-10 with nine minutes remaining. New Mexico would score three consecutive touchdowns to become a late backdoor cover threat and they had the ball back with more than three minutes to go. The offense moved the ball and had a new set of downs at the Hawai’i 28-yard-line with a score looking inevitable, but an interception would save Warriors backers with 2:25 to go.

Marshall (-3½) 26, Western Kentucky 23: The line on this game fell throughout the week but Marshall took command early up 23-7 with a field goal midway through the third quarter. Western Kentucky would score near the end of the third to climb within 10 but missed on the PAT. The Hilltoppers quickly were a threat to score again but settled for a short field goal from 1st-and-goal. Up seven Marshall stalled near midfield and had to punt and Ty Storey led Western Kentucky quickly down the field, tying the game at the 6:19 mark. After an exchange of punts, overtime looked likely as a dormant Marshall offense had just over a minute to work with but the Herd inched their way down the field going 51 yards in 10 plays to have a late shot, with kicker Justin Rohrwasser winning the game after an icing attempt by hitting from 53 yards, though those on the favorite were hoping for overtime.

Appalachian State (-28) 30, South Alabama 3: The Mountaineers couldn’t have been much more in control of this game but through three quarters the lead was just 23-0 on a spread that was as low as -24½ early in the week and climbed to close at -28. With just over five minutes remaining South Alabama would hit a field goal to avoid the shutout and seemingly secure the underdog cover but about a minute later Appalachian State broke a 67-yard touchdown run to get there for early week wagers on the Mountaineers.

North Carolina (-3) 20, Duke 17: North Carolina led 14-3 early in the third quarter after a four-play touchdown drive out of halftime. Duke scored two touchdowns in 20 seconds of game clock in the middle of the third aided by an interception to suddenly take the lead. The eventful third quarter continued with a tying field goal from the Tar Heels before a run of five consecutive punts with only one combined first down. North Carolina would go in front with a 40-yard field goal at the 7:00 minute mark, right even with the closing spread though much of the week UNC was at -3½. Duke couldn’t answer and it appeared the Tar Heels would put the game away after they converted a 4th down in the red zone and had 1st-and-goal. On the next play a fumble was recovered by Duke and Quentin Harris would lead an epic late drive that included two fourth downs. Duke eventually had 1st-and-goal at the 3 in the final minute and inched closer with a pass interference call. The clock wound down to just 18 seconds before an inexplicable trick play went horribly wrong for Duke as after a handoff Deon Jackson leaped into the air and attempted a pass that went right to a pair of Tar Heel defenders, intercepted by former quarterback Chazz Surratt.

Navy (-5) 41, Tulane 38: Navy stormed out to a 24-0 lead and still led 31-14 at halftime. Tulane made some adjustments and benefited from good field position to add two touchdowns in the third quarter to get back in the game, trailing by only three. With 10 minutes to go Tulane tied the game with a field goal with Navy held to nine net yards on its first three second half drives. The Midshipmen made a bold decision to go for it on 4th-and-1 from their own 34 and got it and then converted another 4th-and-1 a few plays later still on their own side of the 50. Two plays later Navy was in the end zone and back up by seven with about five minutes remaining. Tulane converted its own 4th down on a 12-play 77-yard drive to tie the game with about a minute to go. Not known for big plays or quick scores Navy was able to get into field goal range and Bijan Nichols was good from 48 for the win, though Tulane held the underdog cover.

Miami, FL (+4½) 16, Pittsburgh 12: The Panthers had a severe production edge in this game but had three turnovers and settled for three field goals as Miami led 10-9 through three quarters with Miami’s scoring drives coming on 30 and 17 yards respectively. Pittsburgh was in position to take the lead midway through the fourth quarter but back-to-back penalties pushed the Panthers from the 1-yard-line to the 11 and they kicked the field goal to go up by just two. Getting the ball back with fewer than four minutes remaining a Miami offense that had produced 154 net yards in the game didn’t seem like a great threat for a game-winning drive but a 4th down was converted near midfield and Jarren Williams hit K.J. Osborn for a 32-yard touchdown with 58 seconds to go.

Charlotte (+3½) 39, North Texas 38: The Mean Green led by 14 entering the fourth quarter but Charlotte would hit a big play to climb within eight and failed going for two. The 49ers would block a North Texas field goal attempt with just over six minutes to go to stay in the game and they quickly added another touchdown but again were unable to come up with the conversion. On its next drive North Texas kicker Ethan Mooney hit from 51 to push the lead to five with just over a minute remaining, a huge kick for those involved on the spread. It wound up not mattering however as Charlotte’s offense again wouldn’t be stopped, going the distance and finding the end zone with 18 seconds to go for the win.

LSU (-12½) 23, Auburn 20: LSU led just 16-13 through three quarters despite a substantial production edge, missing a few opportunities to get ahead further in the third quarter. An 11-play drive that was completed early in the fourth quarter put LSU up by 10 before six consecutive punts as LSU was unable to pull away. Auburn would add a late touchdown for get within three despite a 508-287 yardage edge for LSU.

Memphis (-9½) 42, Tulsa 41: Memphis led 14-0 quickly in this game and still was ahead 35-24 late in the third quarter. Tulsa would rally however with a touchdown late in the third, a quick Memphis punt, and a 14-play, 85-yard touchdown drive that put the Hurricane in front. Memphis would fumble to hand the ball right back but Tulsa had to settle for a field goal to lead by six. A nice kickoff return put the Tigers in good field position and three plays later Memphis was back in front by one. Tulsa delivered a great final drive but kicker Jacob Rainey missed from only 29 yards as the Tigers escaped to set-up next week’s big AAC West showdown with SMU.

Kansas (+6½) 37, Texas Tech 34: Texas Tech led 27-14 late in the third quarter but Kansas would connect for a 65-yard touchdown, getting within seven after the PAT was blocked. The Jayhawks hit another big play in the fourth quarter with a 70-yard pass play to tie the game. Texas Tech answered just a few plays later with a long strike of its own to go back up by seven, just past the common spread. After a pair of punts Kansas delivered a 10-play touchdown drive to tie the game with about five minutes to go and the Jayhawks would force a quick punt on defense. Carter Stanley led an effective drive that chewed up the remaining time and Kansas lined up for a field goal with 13 seconds to go. The kick was blocked and recovered by Texas Tech but fumbled back to Kansas on an ill-advised lateral attempt. Two seconds remained on the clock and with the change of possession it was first down and Kansas kicked in the game-winner on the retry.