4th Quarter Covers - Week 8
October 23, 2012
By Joe Nelson
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Glancing at the scoreboard won't tell you the whole story in most games. Here are the games that went down to the wire relative to the spread in the fourth quarter last week in 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, get the details in this weekly column.
Wisconsin (-17½) 38, Minnesota 13 (46½): Minnesota's top two quarterbacks were question marks all week and in a surprise move the Gophers pulled the redshirt off Phillip Nelson, giving the highly regarded freshman the start in this game. He showed some promise and had Minnesota down just 24-13 entering the fourth quarter, but Wisconsin was able to pull away with a relentless rushing attack that eventually totaled 337 yards on the ground. Wisconsin scored twice in the fourth quarter to get by the big home favorite spread.
Boise State (-28) 32, UNLV 7 (56): Boise State dominated this game defensively, but the Broncos only climbed to a 32-0 lead through three quarters. The door was left open for UNLV to steal the cover, finally getting into the end zone on defense with a 30-yard fumble return touchdown. UNLV was stopped on downs four times in the game and also missed a field goal after a productive drive as the Rebels had opportunities.
Texas Tech (+2) 56, TCU 53 (57): Entering the fourth quarter, TCU led 23-21, right even with the closing spread, however most of the week Texas Tech was a slight favorite until late line movement. TCU struck first in the final frame, but Texas Tech pulled ahead with two touchdowns in the span of three minutes late in the fourth quarter to take a 10-point lead. TCU was not done, as the Frogs connected for a 60-yard touchdown to get within three and forced a punt. With 18 seconds left, TCU sent the game into overtime with a 42-yard field goal. It took three overtimes and after TCU had to settle for a field goal, Texas Tech found the end zone to win and cover in game where they were soundly outgained.
USC (-39) 50, Colorado 6 (57½): USC led 40-6 entering the fourth quarter and with reserves in on offense, the Trojans added a touchdown early in the fourth quarter to get past the spread, also adding a late field goal for good measure. The Trojans only outgained Colorado by just over 100 yards, but the Buffs had six turnovers in the game. The total also just barely stayed 'under' despite Colorado being deep in the red zone twice in the fourth quarter.
Oregon State (-10) 21, Utah 7 (46): It was not an impressive showing as Oregon State posted just 227 yards, but the Beavers maintained a perfect start to the season and pulled out a narrow cover at home against Utah. The Beavers led just 14-7 entering the fourth quarter after a scoreless third quarter, but one good scoring drive was enough as Utah was plagued with turnovers and also got stopped on downs in the final frame.
LSU (-4) 24, Texas A&M 19 (52): Texas A&M completely dominated the first half in this game, but two late turnovers allowed LSU to take a 14-12 lead into halftime. That score held up through three quarters, but then after a Texas A&M missed field goal, the Tigers were able to connect for three points to move to a 17-12 lead. The Aggies got a great kickoff return to move deep into LSU territory, but ultimately had to settle for a field goal attempt again, and the very short kick was again missed. The momentum swung severely at that point and LSU broke its only big play on offense of the game with a 47-yard rushing touchdown. The Aggies had another turnover on the next possession and still were able to go down the field with ease to score with just over a minute to go to get back within five, but time ran out on any desperation attempt. Texas A&M severely outgained LSU, while the 5-0 turnover deficit and seven points in missed kicks proved to be too many mistakes as LSU escaped.
Vanderbilt (-6½) 17, Auburn 13 (45½): Vanderbilt pulled to a 17-10 lead in the third quarter, slipping just by the late week numbers, but Auburn hit a field goal early in the fourth to get within four. The Commodores moved the ball well on two fourth quarter possessions, but came away with no points. After a Vanderbilt fumble, Auburn appeared a threat to win the game by getting deep into scoring territory, but they did not convert, leaving the Commodores the win, while not grabbing the cover despite dominant yardage figures in the game.
Kent State (-3½) 41, Western Michigan 24 (53½): The Broncos took a 24-17 lead in the third quarter of this game, but Kent was able to answer with a tying touchdown late in the third quarter. The Flashes owned the fourth quarter, pulling past the spread with an early touchdown and then padding the numbers with a field goal and an 85-yard fumble return quarter touchdown to create a deceptive final score.
Central Florida (-24) 35, Memphis 17 (50): Central Florida led only by 11 entering the fourth quarter, but the Knights gave hope to those brave enough to lay a big number on the road. With a long fumble return touchdown and a clock burning touchdown drive, UCF went up 35-10 to get past the spread for the first time in the game with just over four minutes to go. Memphis had enough in the tank to spoil it however, punching in a touchdown with just 39 seconds left.
San Diego State (+7) 39, Nevada 38 (66½): Nevada got its quarterback back last week and appeared on its way to victory with a 24-14 lead entering the fourth quarter. San Diego State rallied to force overtime, getting a touchdown with less than four minutes to go and then a tying field goal as time expired. Those on the 'under' also were left with a slim chance to win once overtime hit and after Nevada scored a touchdown first, San Diego State answered. Rolling the dice, the Aztecs went for two and the win and prevailed, 39-38.
UL-Monroe (+3) 43, Western Kentucky 42 (50½): The Hilltoppers led 28-7 at one point, but by halftime it was 28-21 as Monroe fought back, including a long pass play for a touchdown as the second quarter expired. A surprising scoreless third quarter left the Hilltoppers still up seven entering the fourth and the game was tied shortly thereafter. Western Kentucky punched in the go-ahead touchdown with just over two minutes to go, but there was a enough time for Monroe to answer, forcing overtime with a touchdown with 31 seconds left in the game. In overtime, Western Kentucky scored first, as the underdog Warhawks went for two after their score, and got it for the narrow win and minor upset.