Last Updated Aug 30, 2021, 10:01 AM
4th Quarter Covers - Week 7
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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 seventh big college football weekend in mid-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.
Boston College (-11½) 38, Louisville 20: The Eagles took an early 14-0 lead in this game but found themselves down 20-14 with halftime approaching before getting a blocked punt for a touchdown. A 24-20 halftime lead for Boston College held through a scoreless third quarter with Boston College stuffed going for it on 4th down from the 5-yard-line late in the quarter. Early in the fourth the Eagles put together a 93-yard touchdown drive to lead by 11, not quite enough on a spread that dropped steadily after opening as high as -15. Louisville would manage seven net yards on its final three possessions and with just over three minutes remaining Boston College added another touchdown for the 18-point final margin and the home favorite cover.
Eastern Michigan (+2½) 28, Toledo 26: Eastern Michigan stormed out to a 21-0 lead in this game in the first 10 minutes and led 28-3 at halftime. Eagles games seem to often end with close results and late drama and this game was no exception. Toledo rallied in the fourth quarter to get within eight points with six minutes to go and then was handed great field position as the Eagles opted to go for it on 4th-and-1 on their own side of the 50 with about two minutes to go. Toledo got the stop and wound up scoring with 20 seconds to go with the two-point conversion try to force overtime. A throw to the back of the end zone was deflected as Eastern Michigan held on for the minor upset.
Ball State (+2) 24, Central Michigan 23: Central Michigan led 20-7 at halftime and both teams missed in scoring opportunities in the third quarter with a missed field goal for Ball State and Central Michigan was stopped going for it on 4th-and-1 from the 27-yard-line rather than attempting a long but makeable field goal. That decision proved costly as the Cardinals scored on the next possession to climb within six points early in the fourth quarter and took a 21-20 lead after scoring again on its next possession. Central Michigan managed a 47-yard field goal with about four minutes remaining to go back in front but Ball State responded in kind in the final minute for the one-point road win.
Buffalo (-11) 24, Akron 6: The Bulls led by four well into the third quarter but completed an 80-yard touchdown drive with about 17 minutes to go in the game to lead by 11, right even with the closing spread, with numbers from -10½ to -12 possible. For Akron Kato Nelson was intercepted at the Buffalo 25-yard-line and the Bulls added another touchdown early in the fourth quarter to lead by 18 and the Zips didn’t provide a credible threat after that.
Florida International (-1) 24, Middle Tennessee State 21: These Conference USA foes were tied at halftime but a strong punt return helped put the Blue Raiders in front in the third quarter playing behind backup quarterback Asher O’Hara. Florida International missed a field goal on its next possession but added three early in the fourth quarter to trail by five. Later in the fourth the Panthers put together an 84-yard touchdown drive that included three 3rd down conversions, going in front with about four minutes remaining. Up by one, the two-point conversion was a huge play relative to the spread that was at -2 or -2½ much of the week. The Panthers were able to convert for a three-point lead but faced a late threat from the Blue Raiders. Middle Tennessee State picked up 28 yards on a 4th-and-10 play just across midfield to reach the FIU 15-yard-line but on 3rd-and-long O’Hara was intercepted in the end zone.
Utah State (-27½) 59, Unlv 28: The Aggies dominated this game with a 42-7 edge at the half but relative to the spread things got interesting late as the margin was trimmed to 24 points with about three minutes remaining after the Rebels connected for a 79-yard touchdown. With no reason to add points Utah State passed on 2nd down with a 24-point lead and just over two minutes remaining and then on 3rd-and-1 Henry Colombi broke through for a 37-yard touchdown to snag the clear home favorite cover for Utah State on a spread that jumped upwards from an opener of -23½.
Oregon (+3½) 30, Washington 27: The Huskies led much of the first half but Oregon continued to answer and these teams wound up locked at 17-17 at the break and then 24-24 through three quarters. Early in the fourth quarter the Ducks missed a 42-yard field goal but Washington failed to take advantage, fumbling in Oregon territory on a 4th-and-short attempt. Oregon shifted the field position but needed to punt with about five minutes remaining and Washington put together a great late drive that included a 4th down conversion. As time expires Peyton Henry missed a 37-yard field goal after being iced as overtime was needed. The Huskies picked up 19 yards on the first play of overtime but stalled and settled for a 22-yard kick. The Ducks converted a big 3rd-and-11 in overtime and then C.J. Verdell rushed for the game-winning touchdown on a 3rd down.
Northern Illinois (-5½) 24, Ohio 21: The Bobcats had a 21-9 lead on the road at the start of the fourth quarter but Northern Illinois delivered a comeback with two touchdowns including a two-point conversion to take a three-point lead with about five minutes remaining with Ohio fumbling on its possession in-between the scoring drives for the Huskies. The Bobcats had to punt after losing yardage and Northern Illinois broke a 32-yard run to reach the red zone late in the game. Northern Illinois would face 3rd-and-1 from the Ohio 10-yard-line with a potential field goal ahead had the Huskies been stopped. Tre Harbison got the yardage and the Huskies took on a knee on the doorstep to wind up just short of the spread.
Temple (-6½) 24, Navy 17: This game featured a big early week line move from -4½ up to -7 before some outlets settled back at -6½ Saturday morning. It didn’t seem likely to matter as the home underdog Midshipmen led by 10 into the third quarter. Temple hit a field goal to climb back within seven and then tied the game before the start of the fourth quarter. Navy made an aggressive call going for it on 4th-and-8 from the Temple 38 and came up with an incomplete pass and Temple took a shot and hit on the very next play with a 62-yard touchdown pass to suddenly lead by seven. The Owls were poised to add more points in the final minutes but Anthony Russo was intercepted in the end zone with about four minutes remaining to leave the final margin at 7 for a push for many though those on the Owls early or late snuck out a win.
North Texas (-7) 30, Southern Miss 7: The Mean Green reached a favorite line as high as -9½ before this line fell dramatically Saturday. It was a three-point game until the final minute of the third quarter as North Texas went up by just nine with the extra-point after that touchdown blocked. North Texas would pull away with two fourth quarter touchdowns to mask a fairly even statistical game as the Golden Eagles had 367 yards despite only seven points.
Northwestern (-3) 34, Nebraska 31: The winless Cornhuskers attracted a lot of attention this week opening as a nine-point underdog before closing at just +3. Nebraska looked like the winning side with a 28-14 edge early in the fourth quarter but the Wildcats struck quickly with a 61-yard touchdown pass and stayed in the game holding the Huskers to a field goal following an interception. The Wildcats got back within one score with a field goal following a 15-play drive that featured a pair of 4th down conversions. Northwestern held on defense but Nebraska special teams came through with a punt to the one-yard line. In the final two minutes Northwestern delivered the 99-yard touchdown drive, tying the game with 12 seconds left to force overtime. Going first Nebraska faced 4th-and-1 from the 16 and opted to go for it but got a bad snap as Adrian Martinez had to heave a pass to the end zone amidst pressure, ultimately intercepted. Northwestern conservatively picked up a few yards and kicked the winning field goal for a closing line push though many still collected on Nebraska tickets.
Alabama (-28) 39, Missouri 10: The top ranked Tide led just 13-10 through the first quarter as it looked like Missouri might provide a solid test. Alabama pushed its advantage to 30-10 by halftime and added a safety as the third quarter ended. That meant just a 22-point edge however but it didn’t take long for Alabama to slip past the spread with a touchdown run early in the fourth to lead by 29. Missouri reached the Alabama 7-yard-line on its next possession but failed going for it on 4th down as Alabama broke its three-game ATS losing streak.
Florida (-9½) 37, Vanderbilt 27: This spread sat around -7 most of the week before climbing to as high as 10 on Saturday and closing at -9½. Vanderbilt took a 21-3 lead early as the spread differences didn’t appear likely to matter. Florida would score 10 points in the final three minutes before halftime and was within one through three quarters. The Gators broke a 48 yard run to lead 27-21 early in the fourth quarter but Vanderbilt added a field goal after a Florida fumble. The Gators maintained control with a steady touchdown drive to lead by 10 with eight minutes to go. Vanderbilt added a long field goal to briefly get back within seven but Florida hit a field goal with 37 seconds remaining to earn the favorite cover with the 10-point win.