Misleading College Football Final Scores, Week 12: Was Ohio State Really That Bad?

Misleading College Football Final Scores, Week 12: Was Ohio State Really That Bad? article feature image

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Urban Meyer

  • Ken Barkley dives into Week 12 college football boxscores to find which teams played better or worse than the final score might indicate.
  • This week, he's looking at how bad Ohio State was, and how well Northwestern played, and much more.

Before we celebrate Thanksgiving, a special holiday gift came to Kansas fans Sunday, as Les Miles was introduced as the Jayhawks football coach. Yes, that Les Miles. Yes, that Kansas. I know, I have trouble wrapping my head around it too.

In a world of misleading final scores, that Miles story led to this wonderfully misleading fact: Kansas is now the only school to currently employ a head football coach and men’s basketball coach that have won national titles. The Jayhawks … an athletic powerhouse in all things!

We’ll see if the type of success that has run through The Phog can permeate through David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium, as well. The football team already covered against Oklahoma on Saturday night in Norman. Maybe the team really is on to bigger and better things. Or maybe Oklahoma’s defense is really just that bad.

Here are some other final scores that stood out:

Miami Ohio 13, Northern Illinois 7

At one point, there were nine consecutive punts in this game. Riveting stuff. In the type of game where points are at a premium, though, one big mistake can really doom your team, no matter what edges you have on the field.

Northern Illinois had more total yards, and ran the ball MUCH better (5.7 per carry to the Redhawks’ 2.3), but leading 7-6 in the second half, the Huskies threw a pick-six that ended up deciding the game.

NIU finished -2 in turnover margin, and lost despite its defense holding Miami quarterback Gus Ragland to 15 of 24 passing for 107 yards. Offense hasn’t been the Huskies’ thing all season, but the defense has to be particularly mad at their counterparts after this game.

These two teams both play Tuesday night — NIU at Western Michigan, Miami Ohio hosting Ball State.

Ohio State 52, Maryland 51 (OT)

A weird game in  many ways, but the extent to which the Buckeyes perpetually shot themselves in the foot throughout the 60-plus minutes cannot be understated. They ended up with a 36-18 first down edge, won total yards by about 130 (in a game where there were about 1,200 yards, admittedly), and most importantly, committed atrocious turnovers.

The turnovers weren’t just bad; it was the context in which they occurred which was worse. J.K. Dobbins fumbled inside the 5-yard line as the Buckeyes were about to score a touchdown before half. Instead, they get nothing. Then Dwayne Haskins threw a pick that was returned for a touchdown early in the second half. Essentially 14 points in two plays, which helped this score compress as much as possible.

Don’t get me wrong, Ohio State’s defense was awful, especially against the run, but much of the adversity it faced in this game was of its own making.

Now how many people want to bet the Buckeyes against Michigan?

Kentucky 34, Middle Tennessee State 23

After the last couple weeks, you might have seen this score and thought “Oh, Kentucky righted the ship a little bit. Good for them!” Well…not exactly.

Much like their early-season results, this win was predicated on huge plays going in the Wildcats’ favor. They had an interception returned for a touchdown on Middle Tennessee’s first offensive series, then MTSU fumbled just after, which led to another Kentucky touchdown. 14-0 before you can blink.

The entire rest of the game, Kentucky struggled. Middle Tennessee had the ball down by eight late in the fourth quarter, in Kentucky territory, with a chance to tie, but came up short.

The Raiders ended up winning total yards against the Wildcats, too. Just tough to overcome gifting 14 points right when the game begins.

Northwestern 24, Minnesota 14

There probably needs to be a support group for people who have bet against Northwestern multiple times this year. In Big Ten play specifically, the Wildcats have just been cover machines.

These two teams were dead even in first downs, total yards, and time of possession. However, the difference was a basket full of mistakes by the Gophers. They were -3 in turnover margin, and didn’t convert on a fourth-and-1 inside the Northwestern 30, as well.

On a second-half possession, facing fourth-and-2 this time, Minnesota opted to kick rather than go for it from the 20, and missed the field goal. That’s how a game with absolutely nothing between the teams, and maybe even a small advantage to Minnesota, becomes a 10-point Wildcat win.

TCU 16, Baylor 9

The Bears quest to become bowl eligible this season under Matt Rhule must wait another week, and it was all their own fault. Much like with Minnesota, in a game that was pretty dead-even in terms of raw numbers on each side, Baylor managed to make every single type of mistake possible to lose this game.

The Bears were -3 in turnover margin. Two of the turnovers led directly to TCU points, and the third was a Charlie Brewer fumble inside the TCU 20 as Baylor was going in. Baylor had another red-zone drive stall because of penalties and settled for a field goal, then failed to convert a fourth-and-2 in TCU territory later in the game.

As a result, we now have 5-6 Texas Tech vs 5-6 Baylor Saturday in the “Bowl Eligibility Bowl.” Sounds like something the Action Network should sponsor.

Oregon 31, Arizona State 29

I wonder how many people dozed off on the couch, or went to bed early, on Saturday night thinking Oregon -3/-3.5 was safe. “It’s 28-13 at halftime, with Oregon playing at home, and I have a busy day tomorrow. I’m calling it a night.” But, as is customary, #Pac12AfterDark delivered more stomach-churning drama.

At 28-23 Oregon in the fourth, the Ducks were driving for a touchdown that would once again make the spread not a factor. Unfortunately, the drive stalls and they kicked to go up 31-23. This, of course, after a second half where Justin Herbert and the Oregon offense completely stalled out (the Ducks scored 28 in the first half, and this field goal was their only points of the second half).

And if you were awake, and had Oregon minus the points, leading by 8, you knew what was going to happen next. The Sun Devils drove down the field, convert on a fourth down, and then punch it in to trail by two.

This is the type of sequence that will always see create frenzied yelling in a sportsbook. People with Oregon now want Arizona State to convert so the Ducks can win by a touchdown in overtime, and Arizona State backers want Oregon to stop their team so the game ends on 2. Everyone switches hats. It’s remarkable to see.

Naturally, Arizona State doesn’t convert, and actually because of another Oregon turnover, had a chance to win the game outright before coming up short. Oregon wins 31-29, goes -3 in TO margin and wins total yards by 100-plus. Just another Saturday in the Pac-12.

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