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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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Free Pick Saturday

#360 Oregon State +2.5 over Arizona State 6:30 PM CT

Oregon State has covered in six of the past eight in this series but has lost by double-digits each of the past two seasons. Jayden Daniels wound up not playing last week with a knee injury but after falling behind early the Sun Devils made a late charge behind Joey Yellen. Oregon State’s rise to respectability this season took a hit hosting Friday night TV action with a loss to Washington that was a far worse showing than the score revealed with the Beavers held to 119 yards. This is still the team second place in the Pac-12 North and winning this game is a must for a bowl bid with a finale at Oregon still ahead for the upstart Beavers. This line camping out at +2.5 to attract action on the road favorite looks favorable and the Beavers are worth a shot to get the job done today for a fourth Pac-12 win for the first time since 2013.

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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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Free NCAA Pick Saturday

Western Kentucky +1 over Florida Atlantic 3 PM CT

The Owls had 576 yards and pulled away in the second half at home in this matchup last season, sending the Hilltoppers to 1-9 in a challenging 2018 season. FAU dominated Old Dominion last week 41-3 for now five wins in the past six games to sit on the edge of bowl eligibility after missing out last season. FAU has scored at least 28 points in six straight games but now will face a Western Kentucky defense that may be the best in the conference. The Hilltoppers have held five opponents to 14 or fewer points this season while allowing only 70 points combined in five conference games. Western Kentucky lost by three at Marshall last week as the Herd made a 53-yard field goal as time expired after the Hilltoppers tied the game in the fourth quarter. That loss opens the door for Marshall and FAU in the division race but the oddsmakers are showing a lot of respect for the home team with Tyson Helton posting one of the more impressive first-year coaching performances in the nation so far. With the line dropping from -3 all the way to +1 with action on the more popular and well known Owls behind Lane Kiffin, the time is right to jump in on the Hilltoppers at home.

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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.

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Free Pick Saturday

#141 California +21 over Utah 9:00 PM

Purely on a numbers perspective this is an instance where an elite defense is getting three touchdowns in a game with one of the lowest totals of the season, at just 36.5. After early week expectations that he could miss this game, Utah quarterback Tyler Huntley is expected to play tonight but if his leg injury impacts him it could greatly affect the Utah offense with his ability to scramble and move in the pocket of great importance in this system. The injuries on California’s side are more significant, already down to backup quarterback Devon Modster, he left late in last week’s game to give way to freshman Spencer Brasch. Even at full strength, California wouldn’t project to score significantly in this game as the downgrade isn’t likely worth what has been a four-point swing in this price since it opened last Sunday. California has now allowed more than 24 points in any game this season including road games vs. Washington and Oregon while in Pac-12 play Utah has twice been held below 24 points as in reality one Bears score could be enough to cover in this contest.

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4Q Covers Week 6

4th Quarter Covers – NCAA Week 6

10/06/2019

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 sixth big weekend of the college football season to open the month of 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.

Temple (-12) 27, East Carolina 17: The Owls pulled away in the second half going up 27-10 with a field goal early in the fourth quarter. The defense got a stop after East Carolina moved past midfield but Temple had to punt back to East Carolina shortly after a delay due to the lights going out with just under four minutes remaining. It appeared that the game would effectively end with East Carolina stopped on 4th-and-2 but an offsides call gave the Pirates a new set of downs. A 37-yard gain put East Carolina into scoring range and a defensive holding penalty eventually gave the Pirates 1st-and-goal. With 29 seconds remaining Holton Ahlers hit C.J. Johnson for the spread-spoiling touchdown. Temple failed to recover the onside kick but appeared to score late on defense with time expired to miraculously save those on the favorite and the ‘over’, scooping up a desperate lateral attempt and returning it to the end zone. Officials would eventually controversially rule that the ECU player that made the lateral attempt already had his forward progress stopped as the points were not added.

Louisville (-4) 41, Boston College 39: Louisville was in control most of this game and pushed the lead to nine points early in the fourth quarter. A big run put BC within two early in the fourth however and the Eagles got a big defensive stop to get the ball back midway through the fourth quarter still in range. Boston College spent 13 plays to advance only 52 yards before kicking a go-ahead field goal with just over three minutes to go, leading by one as a slight underdog. Louisville reached a new set of downs from the BC 22-yard-line looking to strike for the win but with just over a minute remaining settled for the go-ahead field goal which was enough to hold the win but kept the Eagles winning against the number.

North Carolina (-9½) 38, Georgia Tech 22: North Carolina led 17-0 at halftime but just 17-7 through three quarters before an explosion of points in the final frame. Georgia Tech trimmed the margin to nine points with a critical two-point conversion success, but the underdog cover disappeared as the Tar Heels scored consecutive touchdowns in the fourth quarter to pull away.

Texas (-10½) 42, West Virginia 31: The Mountaineers led early and trailed by just four through three quarters in this Big XII clash, eventually out-gaining Texas with 463 total yards but also with four turnovers. A pair of interceptions handed Texas a pair of touchdowns on short fields early in the fourth quarter as suddenly the Longhorns were up by 18. West Virginia scored two touchdowns in the final four minutes but Texas also added a third short-field score in the final frame to escape with an 11-point win that was enough for many that supported the road favorite for an undeserved win and cover.

Minnesota (-14) 40, Illinois 17: The Gophers had a 20-point edge but a fumble return touchdown put Illinois back in the game, down just 13 heading into the fourth quarter. Minnesota added an early fourth quarter touchdown to get back past the favorite number, eventually adding a late field goal after getting a pair of defensive stops to avenge an ugly loss vs. the Illini from last season.

Navy (+3) 34, Air Force 25: Navy led 21-9 heading into the fourth quarter for a comfortable edge for the underdog but things went sour in the final frame as Air Force scored 16 consecutive points to lead by four with just over three minutes remaining with a missed field goal and a fumble mixed in for the Midshipmen. Navy regrouped to put together an 11-play touchdown drive to go back in front with just 23 seconds remaining and then with Air Force in desperation mode, the Midshipmen picked up a fumble for a late touchdown as time expired to pad the final scoring margin.

Oklahoma (-32) 45, Kansas 20: Oklahoma allowed 360 yards and didn’t seem likely to cover in this contest with only a 14-point edge at halftime. For just over a minute of game clock the Sooners pushed the margin to 35 points in the fourth quarter but Kansas quickly answered and eventually added a second fourth quarter touchdown to stay within the number.

Memphis (-15) 52, UL-Monroe 33: Memphis pushed the lead to 19 points in the third quarter but UL-Monroe hit a few big plays for back-to-back scores and climbed within six late in the fourth. A 68-yard touchdown run from Memphis ended the upset threat and then an interception return touchdown for the Tigers put Memphis back in front of the road favorite price with about six minutes to go.

Pittsburgh (+3½) 33, Duke 30: In a turnover-filled contest Pittsburgh made the most of its early opportunities taking a 26-3 edge early in the third quarter with several short field scoring drives. On an underdog spread that dipped down to +4 or even +3½, Duke would prove to be a late threat scoring four consecutive touchdowns including a go-ahead score with 1:29 to go. Duke hit one two-point conversion and failed on two others as the lead was exactly four. It wound up not mattering as Kenny Pickett was able to lead a late scoring drive to deliver the win for the Panthers, scoring with 38 seconds remaining.

Liberty (-4) 20, New Mexico State 13: The Aggies managed to tie this game halfway through the fourth quarter but the opportunity for New Mexico State to breakthrough with a win proved short-lived as Liberty answered quickly going 75 yards in only four plays as the Flames escaped Las Cruces with a narrow win and cover.

Georgia (-24) 43, Tennessee 14: Georgia led only 29-14 through three quarters but completed a lengthy scoring drive to go up by 22 and then a few minutes later delivered a 60-yard fumble return for a defensive score to get past the heavy road favorite number. Tennessee looked likely to climb back to cover in the final minute reaching 1st-and-goal but wound up with four consecutive incomplete passes.

Ohio State (-20) 34, Michigan State 10: The Spartans scored 10 points in the final 2:24 of the first half to turn a seven-point edge into a 17-point lead. That margin remained through an empty third quarter that included a missed field goal for the Spartans out of the break. Eventually Michigan State’s underdog cover was erased as Ohio State cashed in with just over 10 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter to lead by 24. Michigan State caught a break with an Ohio State fumble later in the fourth to earn good field position, but Brian Lewerke was intercepted on the very next play.

Boise State (-24) 38, UNLV 13: The Broncos were in control with a 24-0 edge but late in the third quarter UNLV got on the board. Boise State would seal the game with a two-play drive going 70 yards for a touchdown with just over five minutes remaining to lead by exactly 24 where the spread commonly landed. With just over a minute remaining UNLV appeared to spoil that result with a touchdown, though they missed the PAT. The on-side kick attempt went quite wrong as Boise State returned it 39 yards to the six-yard-line and the Broncos went ahead and rushed in for the score with just a minute to go to get in front of the number by a point.

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Free NCAA Pick Saturday

#347 Oregon State +6 over UCLA 8:00 PM CT

Oregon State has clearly made a lot of progress to close the gap in the Pac-12 but ultimately three competitive losses vs. quality teams still add up to 1-3. The Beavers made a great late rally hosting Stanford last week and this game will be another winnable opportunity vs. a struggling UCLA game off back-to-back close finishes to start the conference season. Surprisingly Oregon State has won two of the past four visits to the Rose Bowl while UCLA is on an 8-16 ATS run as a home favorite since 2014.

Dorian Thompson-Robinson was injured last week late in a productive showing after a leg injury, replaced by sophomore Austin Burton who did give the Bruins a chance at tying field goal on the final drive. A big edge in the rushing potential certainly looks possible for the road underdog, averaging 5.3 yards per carry compared to only 2.7 for UCLA, 119th nationally. This line immediately fell from an opener of +8.5 to take it off our radar as a rated pick but the Beavers are still worth a look as Saturday’s free pick with another competitive effort in store.

Nelly’s has 2/3 offers in both NCAA & NFL action for this weekend – $25 each. We’ve won our NFL 2/3 three consecutive weeks, hitting 67% on the season in pro football while 7-1 in NFL 2* side plays!

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Thursday NCAA Football

Thursday Night College Football – Temple vs. East Carolina

An AAC East contest headlines the Thursday night pairing to open the October college football schedule. Here is a look at Temple and East Carolina, a game featuring one of the lowest totals of the week in a matchup of three-win squads looking for conference win #1.

Match-up: Temple Owls at East Carolina Pirates

Venue: Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium in Greenville, North Carolina

Time/TV: Thursday, October 3, 8:00 PM ET ESPN

Line: Temple -11½, Over/Under 46½

Last Meeting: 2018 At Temple (-10½) 49, East Carolina 6

East Carolina was a bowl fixture in the late 1990s through the mid-2000s. Steve Logan went 67-55 over 11 years for the Pirates with five bowl appearances and a successful transition to Conference USA. He resigned after a disappointing 2002 season and the program fell off a cliff with John Thompson going 3-20 over two seasons before being released. Skip Holtz took over and the program was relevant for five seasons before he jumped to South Florida and Ruffin McNeill was able to mostly sustain that success over six years including the final two years in the move to the American. After going 5-7 in 2015 he was fired and history repeated itself with an ugly short-term run for the Pirates under Scottie Montgomery.

The Pirates hope they have found a stable presence for years to come on the sidelines with Mike Houston. Still relatively young at 47, Houston led successful but brief runs at three different programs, most recently going 37-6 over three season at James Madison, including the 2016 FCS Championship which was the only title miss over the past eight seasons for FCS powerhouse North Dakota State. While his offenses ran the option at the Lenoir-Rhyne and The Citadel he has employed a spread at James Madison and at East Carolina, with hopes of capturing the high-scoring potential his Dukes teams had. There has been good balance so far with the Pirates rushing about 38 times per game and throwing 31 times per game.

An appealing underdog in the season opener, East Carolina lost 34-6 at NC State in a lopsided contest but the Pirates have quietly won three of the past four games. Two of those wins were over FCS teams however as last week’s narrow 24-21 win at Old Dominion was the first FBS win of the season. Against NC State and Navy East Carolina lost by a combined score 76-16 while out-gained by 236 and 246 yards respectively, though both of those games were on the road.

Holton Ahlers was named the starting quarterback late in the summer and the sophomore that completed only 48 percent of his passes last season but had 12 touchdowns and only three interceptions has mostly struggled this season. Ahlers has upped his completion rate to 54 percent but already has five interceptions and has lost a half-yard from last season in yards per attempt. East Carolina is running the ball with 867 yards in five games for 4.5 yards per attempt with Ahlers posting 186 yards on the ground and Demetrius Mauney leading the team with 199 rushing yards. Last season East Carolina rushed for only 3.6 yards per carry as there has been clear improvement.

East Carolina will host South Florida at the end of the month and will head to Connecticut in November but the rest of the AAC path is difficult with the Pirates likely to be a double-digit underdog in four of the next five games counting this week’s game. Since 2003 East Carolina is 24-21 in the home underdog role including a handful of power five upsets while on a 10-7 ATS run as a double-digit home underdog, even with those numbers deteriorating significantly in the ugly run the past three years.

Temple had a messy off-season after Geoff Collins left the program after two seasons to take over Georgia Tech. The Owls hired Miami defensive coordinator Manny Diaz but a few weeks later he was brought back to Miami after Mark Richt retired. Rod Carey was hired after a successful run at Northern Illinois and is now the fifth coach for the program since 2006, not counting Diaz or interim coach Ed Foley.

Temple hasn’t been thought of as one of the top Group of 5 programs often but since 2015 the Owls are 38-20 S/U and 39-19 ATS for records that few programs can match. Temple is 3-1 this season with wins over a pair of major conference teams but losing by 16 against a MAC team, which has some similarities to last season’s erratic start, opening the season with a loss to FCS Villanova before going on to win eight games. Last season’s game was obviously a big one with Collins returning to face his old team and Temple won 24-2 though with only a minimal production edge but catching huge turnover breaks with a 74-yard defensive score, a goal line fumble recovery, and a 65-yard interception return.

Carey replaced current NC State head coach Dave Doeren at Northern Illinois at the end of the 2012 season, making his head coaching debut in the Orange Bowl. He ultimately went 52-30 in six-plus seasons with the Huskies though going 0-6 in bowl games but with four division titles and two MAC Championships. Carey’s track record promoted running the ball and stopping the run with the Huskies ranking third nationally in per carry run defense last season. So far this season Temple has held foes to only 133 rushing yards per game on 3.2 yards per carry but the offense is led by the passing attack.

Junior quarterback Anthony Russo has thrown 151 times in four games and his season line is inflated by posting 409 yards and four touchdowns vs. FCS Bucknell in the opener. Against FBS completion Russo has completed just 49 percent of his passes and in those three games he has five interceptions and just six touchdowns and just 6.0 yards per attempt. In fairness he faced Maryland and Georgia Tech teams in two of those games and ultimately led his team to wins in those games despite the marginal numbers though three interceptions vs. Buffalo were certainly a big factor in the upset loss.

This is the AAC opener for Temple and three difficult games will follow this contest with a challenging West draw of Memphis and SMU in back-to-back weeks before hosting UCF. Temple also plays at Cincinnati late in the season as despite a 3-1 start there will be work to do to get to a bowl game. Last season Temple played UCF about as well as any of the other American squads in a 52-40 loss in Orlando while the Owls were able to beat Navy, Cincinnati, and Houston as this team shouldn’t be ruled out of the AAC East race either.

There aren’t many negative trends for Temple in recent years and the Owls are 11-3 ATS since 2014 as a road favorite while 27-11 ATS in all road games since 2013. Temple is 5-1 in the last six instances as a double-digit road favorite, though losing at -14 at Buffalo in September.

Series History: Meeting each of the last five years as AAC foes Temple is 5-0 S/U and 5-0 ATS in this series with every win coming by at least 10 points. Temple won 34-10 in 2017 as a slight favorite in the last trip to Greenville while the teams also met regularly in the late 1980s and early 1990s as fellow Independents. Temple is on an 8-1 ATS run in this series since 1989 and historically 7-5 S/U and 8-3-1 ATS in this series since 1986.

There is also a Sun Belt contest Thursday night to kick off the college football week as Georgia Southern visits South Alabama in a division crossover game. Both teams lost their conference openers last week and sit with just one win each on the season through September.

Match-up: Georgia Southern Eagles at South Alabama Jaguars

Venue: Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Alabama

Time/TV: Thursday, October 3, 7:30 PM ET ESPNU

Line: Georgia Southern -10½, Over/Under 45½

Last Meeting: 2018 At Georgia Southern (-12) 48, South Alabama 13

Georgia Southern won 10 games last season and finished just behind Appalachian State and Troy in the Sun Belt East race finishing 6-2. In a 1-3 start the Eagles haven’t had their typical rushing success so far this season however. Losing badly to LSU was certainly forgivable and Georgia Southern nearly had an upset at Minnesota as this squad could still emerge as a winning team. Last week vs. a Louisiana-Lafayette at home Georgia Southern was soundly out-gained turning back to Shai Werts at quarterback but it was a three-point game into the fourth quarter.

Steve Campbell went 33-15 at FCS Central Arkansas and was considered a great hire by South Alabama, though the team did have mixed success over nine years under Joey Jones, including two bowl trips in six years after making the jump to the FBS level and a huge upset over Mississippi State in 2016. Campbell inherited an inexperienced team and the Jaguars mostly struggled in a 3-9 debut season. At 1-4 the returns have been no better this season though the Jaguars did give Nebraska a scare in the season opener. The only win came vs. FCS Jacksonville State though the only FBS home game was a difficult draw vs. Memphis. While South Alabama scored late to make a 30-10 game 30-17 last week, they were only minimally out-gained and rushed for 263 yards to offer some promise moving forward.

Series History: Meeting each of the last five years Georgia Southern is 5-0 S/U and 5-0 ATS in this series with every win coming by at least 15 points. The past two meetings have both been at home with a 24-9 win in 2016 for Georgia Southern in the last visit to Mobile.

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4Q Covers Week 5

4th Quarter Covers – NCAA Week 5

09/29/2018

Glancing at the scoreboard won’t tell you the whole story in most games. Here are some of the games that went down to the wire relative to the spread in the fourth quarter last week in the fifth big weekend of the college football season to close September. 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.

Memphis (-11) 35, Navy 23: Navy wound up a with a pronounced production edge Thursday night against Memphis and the Midshipmen led 20-7 about halfway through the second quarter. Memphis returned the next kickoff 99 yards to get within six by halftime and in the third quarter the Tigers added 14 points including a 73-yard strike to put Memphis up 28-20. Navy added a field goal early in the fourth to boost the chances for the underdog but Memphis answered quickly to reach its greatest lead of the game up by 12. Navy had two late possessions but wasn’t much of a threat to add points.

Air Force (-19½) 41, San Jose State 24: San Jose State scored on its opening drive looking to back up last week’s win over Arkansas. The Spartans were also stopped on downs in Air Force territory on the next two possessions as they had an opportunity for an even better start. Air Force scored touchdowns on three of its first four possessions but had a costly fumble in the red zone just before halftime to lead by only 11 on spread that climbed upward Friday evening. Air Force scored 13 points five minutes into the second half helped by what turned into an accidental wind-aided on-side kick recovery to take a commanding 34-10 edge. After both teams botched scoring opportunities late in the third quarter a lengthy Air Force drive ended in a touchdown to put the Falcons up by 31 about halfway through the fourth quarter. With backup quarterback Nick Nash in the game, the Spartans connected for a 30-yard touchdown pass with fewer than four minutes remaining. Air Force then wound up going for it on 4th-and-short from its own 22 with a 24-point lead and fell short. Handed great field position, Nash put the Spartans into the end zone inside of two minutes to steal the underdog cover.

Arizona State (+4½) 24, California 17: After losing quarterback Chase Garbers just before halftime California managed to take a three-point lead early in the fourth quarter taking advantage of great field position after Jayden Daniels fumbled on a sack. Leaning on the running game Arizona State responded with a lengthy drive to get in front 21-17 with about five minutes to go. Cal failed going for it on 4th down on its next possession but Arizona State only added three to keep the game in play. Devon Modster and the Bears were not able to put together much on a late chance to keep its perfect season going, ultimately winding up with only 245 yards for the game. 

Wisconsin (-23) 24, Northwestern 15: The heavy underdog Wildcats hung around vs. Wisconsin but a 68-yard interception return in the fourth quarter suddenly put Wisconsin up by 21 despite the game being just 7-3 late in the third quarter. Northwestern had a 3-and-out to hand the Badgers the ball back with a chance to get past the favorite spread but the punt wasn’t handled as the Wildcats managed to recover the muff and with good field position found the end zone to secure the underdog cover. Northwestern actually adding another touchdown later in the fourth and had a two-point conversion attempt to get back within seven that came up short. It was another cover for the Wildcats in the series, while actually out-gaining Wisconsin and featuring a 21-13 edge in 1st downs but with two Wisconsin defensive scores allowed.

Wake Forest (-4½) 27, Boston College 24: Wake Forest and Boston College were knotted at 17-17 at the break but Wake Forest added a late third quarter field goal and an early fourth quarter touchdown to lead by 10. In that stretch the Demon Deacons survived an interception with a 4th down stop on defense. Boston College climbed back in the game with a touchdown completed from running back David Bailey throwing to get within three and within the underdog spread with just over six minutes to go. Wake Forest used up significant clock on a 12-play drive but couldn’t run it all out as Boston College had a late chance, eventually reaching the midfield on the final play.

Western Michigan (-15½) 31, Central Michigan 15: The spread on this game dipped from as high as -17½ to just -15½ at some outlets by kickoff. With a 24-0 edge through three quarters it didn’t appear to matter but Central Michigan put up a fourth quarter fight with nine early points. A Western Michigan touchdown with about five minutes to go put the Broncos back past the number but the Chippewas quickly answered with a 34-yard strike to score. Down 16 Central Michigan went for two and came up empty in a critical play for those that waited to play the Saturday prices.

Toledo (+2½) 28, BYU 21: BYU broke a 14-14 tie with a touchdown on a short field following a muffed punt to lead by seven as a slight road favorite. Toledo would answer less than a minute into the fourth quarter to tie the game before the teams traded punts and then empty possessions with BYU stopped on downs and Toledo having a fumble at the BYU 20-yard-line. The momentum swung back quickly as BYU quarterback Zach Wilson was intercepted on 1st down with a return all the way down to the 2-yard-line. Toledo punched in the touchdown on the next play and the defense was able to hold off a drive to the Toledo 32 in the final seconds behind BYU back-up quarterback Jaren Hall after Wilson injured his hand on the decisive interception.

Vanderbilt (-7½) 24, Northern Illinois 18: The Commodores jumped out to a 14-0 lead only about six minutes into the game and that score held through halftime. Northern Illinois managed a field goal and a touchdown early in the second half but Vanderbilt seemed to put the game away with a 38-yard touchdown pass late in third quarter. Another score was on the way early in the fourth but in settling for a short field goal, Vanderbilt kept the door open for the underdog. Northern Illinois would score just two minutes later and down eight opted to go for two, successfully trimming the margin to six points in an unexpected play with huge ramifications relative to the spread that was commonly at 6½ before rising to 7½. The six-point margin held with neither side offering much of a scoring threat in the final 10 minutes.

Oklahoma (-27½) 55, Texas Tech 16: Oklahoma’s victory was never in doubt, but the heavy underdog Red Raiders rushed for nearly 200 yards and were in position to cover with the ball back down 32. A fumble near midfield sealed their fate with about nine minutes to go and the Red Raiders came up empty in two late drives that reached well into Oklahoma territory while Oklahoma added one more touchdown to win by 39.

Notre Dame (-10½) 35, Virginia 20: Virginia led 17-14 at halftime and had a significant production edge at that point. In the third quarter the Irish ran 11 plays and the only 1st down they picked up was via a penalty but they wound up with an 11-point lead thanks to three Virginia fumbles, one of which was returned to the two-yard-line and another was brought to the end zone for a defensive score. That margin was right in-between a spread that hit as high as +13 but dropped on game day down to as low as +10. Virginia had two interceptions in the fourth quarter looking to climb back in the game while Notre Dame broke a 30-yard run for a touchdown. Down 18 Virginia opted for a 27-yard field goal with six minutes to go that was of no help to the underdog supporters.

Washington (-12) 28, USC 14: Washington led by 10 at the half and by 14 through three quarters after Michael Pittman had a 44 touchdown to bring USC back in the game. Washington fumbled near midfield to hand USC an opportunity in the fourth quarter but an exchange of punts followed. USC looked likely to earn the underdog cover late reaching 1st-and-goal from the Washington 5-yard-line but the Trojans weren’t able to get in. On its final possession Matt Fink brought USC across midfield and pass interference converted a 4th-and-10 play. The next throw was intercepted however as the Huskies escaped still up 14 after a scoreless final frame.

UCF (-42½) 56, Connecticut 21: The Knights nearly eclipsed this massive spread by halftime with a 42-0 advantage and with nearly six minutes left in the third quarter it was 56-0. The Huskies would score late in the third quarter for the first time and then again in the fourth to get the margin back to 42 and within the hefty underdog number. On its next possession UCF fumbled at the UConn 21-yard-line and then with two minutes remaining the Knights went for it on 4th-and-9 rather than attempting a long field goal. A sack on that play gave the Huskies good field position and Steven Krajewski fired away, getting the Huskies into the end zone with 19 seconds to go to secure the underdog win.

Stanford (-3½) 31, Oregon State 28: Davis Mills led Stanford to an early 21-0 edge but Oregon State made a late charge getting to 21-14 early in the fourth quarter. Stanford would answer to lead by 14 with nine minutes remaining but the Beavers kept the momentum on offense with a six-play touchdown drive to get back within seven with seven minutes to go. Oregon State’s defense forced a 3-and-out and the Beavers went 77 yards to tie the game with fewer than two minutes remaining. It was however enough time for Mills and the Stanford offense thanks to a 43-yard kickoff return as the Cardinal gained 29 more yards and connected from 39 yards for the game-winning field goal, though for many, the Beavers still collected.

Appalachian State (-14½) 56, Coastal Carolina 37: After the big win over North Carolina, Appalachian State found itself in a back-and-forth game with a 21-21 tie late in the second quarter. The Mountaineers managed two touchdowns in the final two minutes before the break to suddenly lead by 14 however. Appalachian State scored first in the second half but by the start of the fourth quarter the 21-point edge had been shrunk to 12. An interception return touchdown put Appalachian State up by 19 and they added another touchdown on a short field with about four minutes remaining. A late Coastal Carolina touchdown wasn’t enough to get back within the number in a game that was much closer in the box score than the scoreboard suggests.

Liberty (-7½) 17, New Mexico 10: Liberty led 17-3 through three quarters and had a significant yardage edge. With a common number of -7 the line did hit -7½ by kickoff and late Flames backers had reason for worry. An interception bailed out Liberty following a missed field goal and the defense again got a big stop as New Mexico went for it on 4th-and-8 early in the fourth quarter. The Lobos would not be denied on their final possession however, converting a big third down with 53 seconds to go and then hitting the end zone with 43 seconds to go to climb within seven for the final margin.

UL-Monroe (-14½) 30, South Alabama 17: The Warhawks led by just seven heading into the fourth quarter but back-to-back touchdown drives pushed the margin to 20 points with about seven minutes to go. South Alabama would go 75 yards in the next four minutes however to get back within the number and UL-Monroe did not make a push to add points late.