4th Quarter Covers – NCAA Week 9
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
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
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
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.