Misleading College Football Scores, Week 10: Alabama-LSU Could Have Been Much Worse
- Ken Barkley dives into college football box scores to tell you which teams played better or worse than the final score indicates.
- Alabama-LSU could have been much worse, and Tennessee probably should have lost to Charlotte.
It was the week of the QB showdown.
All week coverage was focused on the battle for the title of “greatest” ever between Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady in the NFL.
In college football, a lot of stories looked back at the college showdown between Baker Mayfield and Patrick Mahomes when the two were at their respective schools.
But I think we all know the real quarterback showdown, the best of the best, the one we’ll all be talking about for the rest of our days…
Noah Johnson vs. Josh Adkins.
Alcorn State vs. New Mexico State.
They combined for 8 touchdowns, no interceptions, and their teams put up almost 1,200 combined total yards. Johnson threw for 316 and ran for another 138. Adkins threw for almost 400, and his team scored a touchdown on their first five possessions of the game. The Aggies won, 52-42.
When Johnson and Adkins are facing off on Sunday Night Football in a few years, I’m sure we’ll all look at back at this final score and remember where we were.
Here are some other final scores that stood out:
UCF 52, Temple 40
For the second straight year, Temple’s going to be kicking itself for missing a huge opportunity to beat Knights. In a game that had all the offensive firepower of the aforementioned Alcorn-New Mexico State barnburner, Temple had the same number of first downs and outgained UCF in total yards, 670-630.
But by losing the turnover battle, settling for field goals on promising drives, and having 149 penalty yards, the Owls will once again be on the outside looking in for the AAC title game (in all likelihood).
Alabama 29, LSU 0
This absolutely could have been worse. It maybe should have been worse.
Within a few minutes, it became abundantly clear how one-sided this matchup really was. Alabama ended up out-gaining LSU 576-196, and two of the Tide’s most-promising first half drives ending in a punt (after a penalty backed them out of FG range) and a field goal from inside the 10.
The score was close only because it took Alabama longer to distance itself from the score (0) of the other team than usual. We entered the game unsure of Alabama’s candidacy as one of the greatest ever. The candidacy is now legitimate, although many tests remain.
Syracuse 41, Wake Forest 24
Wake led this game 10-0. It finished the game with slight advantages in first downs and total yards. It held Eric Dungey to a stat-line of 23 of 35, for 157 yards and 0 touchdowns. And yet, it lost by 17.
Once again, turnovers were the deciding factor in this game, and not just any turnovers. Wake committed two absolutely backbreaking turnovers that led to an immediate Syracuse 10 points the other way.
When you turn it over in a spot that puts your defense in an impossible position, that’s obviously much worse than, say, a 50-yard pass downfield that’s picked in the end zone. The long-pass turnover is like a punt. This type of turnover is like getting punted in the midsection.
All in all, this game took a very mediocre performance by Syracuse and shined it up as nicely as possible.
Auburn 28, Texas A&M 24
Oh no, Aggies. How did you do this?
Texas A&M won first downs 28-13, and total yards 421-278. The Aggies held Auburn to 21 rushes for 19 yards. 21 for 19!
That’s almost impossible to do, and this is Auburn we’re talking about. As a result of this strong play, A&M led 24-14 with about seven minutes left, and that was with one of the Auburn touchdowns being scored directly off a turnover (a 1-play, 20-yard touchdown drive).
But, as we have so frequently seen, once momentum shifts, it can become an avalanche that overwhelms the other side. A&M has the ball up by 10 midway through the fourth, and throws an interception.
And that starts the worst five minutes of Texas A&M’s season.
Jarrett Stidham starts carving up the Aggies defense, marches down and scores, and then off a punt, two plays later, Auburn takes the lead with another touchdown.
It all happened in a flash, and it undid what was basically 53 minutes of incredible play by the Aggies.
Wisconsin 31, Rutgers 17
Just another Wisconsin win, right? Where it runs the ball, the opponent is overmatched and can’t stop it, and the Badgers emerge victorious?
Ehhh … not so fast.
Despite the comfortable margin, two things really stand out as awful signs for the Badgers here. Alex Hornibrook returned after missing the Northwestern loss with a concussion, and was 7 for 16 with 92 yards and 2 interceptions against a Rutgers defense that was just 75th in S&P+ entering the game.
Secondly, the Badgers allowed Rutgers to pass for 261 yards. And I know you’re thinking “yeah, but it’s against a prevent defense or something probably, so who cares?”
Well, I care, because Rutgers can’t pass the ball, on ANYONE. Or at least, it shouldn’t be able to. Artur Sitkowski threw for 38 yards against Ohio State. 38. He threw for 8 (!) yards against Maryland. He followed that up with 81 against Northwestern, in a game Rutgers almost won somehow.
When you’re allowing Rutgers to pass the ball on you in any context, it’s a warning sign. Wisconsin is trying desperately to turn its season around, and a trip to the Big Ten title game is still possible (although unlikely given the head-to-head loss to Northwestern).
I wouldn’t view this result optimistically going forward for them.
Tennessee 14, Charlotte 3
Should Charlotte have won this game? I don’t even know where to begin.
This is the rare box score that puts you to sleep before you get to the bottom, so I can’t imagine what watching the game was like.
Charlotte won first downs 13 to 10 (yep, 13 to 10), and outgained Tennessee in total yards, 244-192. Now, I understand the Vols have Kentucky on deck and isn’t going to show any offensive wrinkles here against the 49ers, but come on.
Tennessee had a punt return touchdown in the first quarter, and added another to go up 14-0. The rest of the game was actually dominated by Charlotte, but it just couldn’t finish drives.
The Niners went for it twice on fourth down in Tennessee territory (fourth-and-5, and fourth-and-1) and didn’t get either. They had to settle for their three points despite being inside the Tennessee 5-yard line.
It was entirely possible that a big upset was looming here, but Charlotte didn’t quite get the bounces or execution in big spots that was needed.