Everyone enjoys close, hard-fought games. Whether they're defensive battles or offensive shoot-outs, games that come down to the final quarter, the final drive or the final play are the stuff of which legends are made.
On the other side of the spectrum are the blowouts. Some games are over almost before they get started, and the score at the end of the first quarter is more lopsided than many final scores. These games have their fans, too. Usually, those fans are also fans of the teams on the winning end of such lopsided contests.
College football history is filled with blowouts. Ever since Georgia Tech beat Cumberland 222-0, the stage has been set for lopsided and embarrassing margins of victory. Here are some of the most lopsided games of the last decade.
The No. 4 Missouri Tigers were heavily favored going into the game, and by the time the dust settled, they had proven why.
After trading touchdowns early in the game, the Tigers rattled off four straight scores before the Cornhuskers could manage a field goal late in the first half.
The Tigers owned the second half, and put the game away early in the third quarter when Chase Daniel found Derrick Washington in the middle of the end zone, putting the Tigers up 38-10.
The Tigers went on to win, 52-17.
Perhaps the most interesting feature of this game was the fact that Missouri did not dominate the statistics. Missouri outgained the Huskers by fewer than 100 yards. But Nebraska was hampered by over 100 yards in penalties, and Missouri averaged eight yards per play.
Rivalry games are great for a whole host of reasons. But one of the best reasons is that the games are usually close, regardless of records and rankings.
The 2008 installment of the Iron Bowl is an exception to that rule. The Alabama Crimson Tide played this grudge match game as if they had a real grudge.
The No. 1 Crimson Tide complete dominated the game, start to finish, topping their arch rivals 36-0.
Auburn had just eight first downs compared to Alabama's 21, and the Tigers were an abysmal 4-for-14 on third downs. Alabama out-gained Auburn in the game, 412-170.
In the first nod to a lower division, we include this game from the 2002 NCAA Division II playoffs. Grand Valley State, under the direction of current Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly, was in the midst of their 2002 National Championship run. GVSU completely decimated their opponents, many of whom had dominated Grand Valley for decades.
The No. 1 Lakers from GVSU destroyed the Indians 62-21 a week after topping Long Island-CW Post 62-13.
GVSU followed up the win over Indiana PA with a 44-7 win over Northern Colorado before securing their first-ever NCAA National Championship with a win over Valdosta State. In that season, GVSU scored 654 points while allowing just 231.
GVSU also won Division II championships in 2003, 2005 and 2006.
Speaking of Brian Kelly, when he left Cincinnati for Notre Dame following the 2009 season, many thought it spelled the end for Cincinnati's football dominance of the Big East.
In many ways, those people were correct. But Cincy showed that it still had the ability to win games and win by big margins.
Cincinnati began 2010 with an embarrassing loss to Fresno State before beating up on FCS Indiana State.
After losses to NC State and Oklahoma, the situation for the Bearcats was looking rather bleak. But in their final non-conference game of the season, Cincy rebounded and took it to the Redhawks from Miami, putting up 45 points. What was just as impressive was the fact that the typically defensively weak Bearcats held Miami to just three points for a very lopsided victory.
If you're a Big Ten fan who is trying to argue the Big Ten versus SEC argument, this is one game you're going to want to avoid at all costs.
The co-Big Ten champions from 2010 met up with the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2011 Capital One Bowl, and the results were embarrassing not only for Michigan State but for the Big Ten as a whole.
Almost from the opening kickoff, it seemed as if MSU was over-matched at nearly every position on the field. The Crimson Tide steamrolled the Spartans 49-7, holding the proficient Spartans to just 171 total offensive yards.
In contrast, Alabama ran over, around and through the MSU defense to the tune of 546 yards, including an eye-popping 275 rushing yards.
Michigan State didn't even manage to get on the score board until there were less than six minutes left in the game.
Miami's 557 total yards were way too much for the Duke Blue Devils, who could only manage 128 of their own.
The No. 9 Hurricanes also held Duke to just eight passing yards on the day as Miami topped their ACC opponent, 52-7.
Miami held a 31-0 halftime advantage, and Duke was only able to mount one successful drive to open the second half before Miami finished the game with three straight touchdowns.
Big Ten games in late November can often be low-scoring affairs, marked by limited passing and strong, grinding run games.
On this late November day in Madison, the Wisconsin Badgers proved that they could play any type of game in any type of weather, as the No. 5 Badgers beat up on the visiting Northwestern Wildcats, 70-23.
Wisconsin passed for 230 yards and four touchdowns, while also having a pair of 100-yard rushers on the day. Wisconsin's win gave them a share of the Big Ten championship, and the loss of Northwestern left them with a 7-5 record.
It's fair to say that had Dan Persa not missed the game with an injury, the score may have been closer. But Dan Persa isn't responsible for keeping other teams out of the end zone—a location Wisconsin visited 10 times on this Saturday.
At season's end in 2001, the Missouri Tigers traveled north to East Lansing to face the Michigan State Spartans. Both teams were finishing seasons that were unremarkable, and both teams were 3-5 in their respective conferences.
Michigan State got out to a quick start, scoring 17 unanswered points in the first quarter, and after another 14 in the second, the rout was on.
Michigan State rattled off 55 points before Missouri was able to score their lone touchdown of the day, which came late in the fourth quarter.
Michigan State's 55-7 victory over the Tigers was one of the few bright spots during the Spartans 2001 season.
The Rice Owls, not a team known for its signature wins, traveled to Tallahassee in late September of 2006 to face the Florida State Seminoles.
FSU started the game with a quick touchdown, only to watch Rice answer back less than three minutes later with a touchdown of their own. That was enough to aggravate the Seminoles sufficiently to keep Rice from scoring again on this particular afternoon.
Florida State ended up winning after 48 unanswered points, 55-7.
However, this victory was just one of many that Florida State was forced to vacate and is part of Florida State's “official” 2-11 2006 season.
Columbus, Ohio is always a difficult place to play football, unless you're the Buckeyes.
Northwestern knows this fact as well as any team, and after their 2007 visit to Columbus, the Wildcats are acutely aware of what can happen to an over-matched, unprepared team visiting Ohio Stadium.
In the blink of an eye, the Buckeyes jumped out to a 28-0 first quarter lead, and by halftime, that lead had ballooned to 45-0.
Behind the play of quarterback Todd Boeckman and running back Chris Wells, Ohio State embarrassed the Wildcats, 58-7.
Ohio State makes another appearance on our list, and when it's a program like Ohio State facing a program like Eastern Michigan, one almost expects a blowout, right?
A blowout is one thing, but any time a team puts up 73 points, it's something special.
The Buckeyes looked to be in midseason form when they hosted EMU on September 25 of last season, but Eastern Michigan has a habit of making any team look good.
EMU's problem was that their ability to hand any other team a victory was met with the ability of Ohio State to beat almost anyone in the nation on any given Saturday.
Behind the play of Terrelle Pryor and Dan Herron, the Ohio State Buckeyes raced out to an early 24-0 lead in the first quarter. EMU tried to respond with 14 points in the second, but couldn't keep the Buckeyes out of the end zone.
At the end of the day, Ohio State had 30 first downs and 645 yards of offense. EMU had just 12 first downs and 248 yards. With those kind of lopsided numbers, a final score of 73-20 shouldn't be a shock.
The 2010 season was the last time we'll see Michigan State and Penn State in a Big Ten season finale, but it's been the norm for a good many years, and in 2002, The No. 15 Penn State Nittany Lions played host to the Spartans for the annual battle for the Land Grant Trophy.
From the start of the game it was clear that Michigan State was going to have problems stopping Penn State's running attack. By the time the game was over, Penn State's Larrry Johnson had amassed 279 yards on just 19 attempts and four touchdowns. He also had a 10-yard reception, bringing his total yardage for the game up to 289 yards.
Michigan State was completely outmatched as Penn State finished with 548 yards and 61 points. Michigan State was only able to manage a single touchdown on the afternoon, basically handing the Land Grant Trophy to Penn State, 61-7.
Once again, Eastern Michigan appears on the list, and once again, they're on the fuzzy end of the lollipop.
Eastern Michigan made the eight mile trip to the University of Michigan with little hope of winning. But EMU certainly didn't expect the beatdown the Wolverines had in store. Michigan scored four touchdowns in the first quarter alone en route to a 55-0 dismantling of the Eagles. U-M had three times as many first downs as EMU and almost four times as many yards. Michigan also held Eastern to just 15 rushing yards on the day.
Michigan has traditionally been one of the better teams in the Big Ten, which is traditionally one of the better conferences. Eastern Michigan is one of the worst teams in the MAC, one of the worst conferences. Result? 55-0.
Prior to this matchup, Oklahoma was certainly the favored team. When the game began and Oklahoma jumped out to quick 14-0 lead, it looked as if OU was preparing for a beat down of the Aggies. Texas A&M responded, however, and by the end of the first quarter, the score was 14-10. Perhaps this was going to be a contest after all.
As it turned out, the only thing those 10 points did was aggravate the Sooners, who proceeded to rattle off 51 unanswered points to embarrass the Aggies, 65-10.
Blowouts aren't terribly rare in college football, and teams from the Big 12 can certainly claim their fair share of blowout wins. But when a team like Texas A&M is on the losing end of one of these lopsided decisions, people take notice.
The 55-point margin of defeat is easily one of the Aggies more embarrassing moments on the gridiron.
We try to stay away from the FBS-taking-the-FCS-team-to-the-woodshed type of games, but this game is important for a couple of reasons.
First, Michigan was one of the last FBS programs to schedule an FCS opponent. In 2007, the mighty Maize and Blue hosted the Mountaineers of Appalachian State in U-M's first meeting with an FCS program. We all know how that turned out.
Follow that up with a year of Rich Rodriguez driving the program squarely into the ground, going 3-9, losing to the likes of Toledo, and it wasn't out of the realm of possibility that Michigan could lose to another FCS program or at least have one heck of a game on their hands.
Michigan wasn't about to let that happen. There was no chance the Wolverines were going to let another FCS program get anywhere close to beating the storied Michigan program. And after blasting out to a 49-0 lead in the second quarter, it was clear that Michigan wasn't going to let another FCS team get within sight of a Big House victory.
Michigan had a mind-blowing 727 yards of offense in the 63-6 victory, while holding the Hornets to just 216 yards and a pair of field goals.
In the 2004 season opener for both teams, the Idaho Vandals traveled south to meet the Boise State Broncos in a in-state WAC battle.
In the years before Boise State was a household name and national power, there wasn't much attention paid to football in the state of Idaho, at least outside of the state of Idaho.
Still, the Broncos were in the midst of their still current conference home winning streak, and they were not about to let their in-state rivals steal the WAC limelight.
With ruthless efficiency, the Broncos scored the first 65 points in the game, only allowing an Idaho score in the last two minutes of the game.
In all of the years of greatness from Boise State, the 65-7 win over Idaho still ranks as the biggest Broncos win of the last decade.
In our second nod to the “lower” divisions, we have one of the most lopsided victories anywhere, in any division, in this meeting between Georgia Southern from Division I-FCS and Johnson C. Smith from Division II.
As happens in the FBS, there are FCS programs that schedule D2 programs throughout the year as schedule fillers or win padding. The difference is that Division II usually rattles off a couple of wins each year against FCS opponents. But the FCS programs that lose aren't the top FCS programs, and the Division II programs that win are some of the best in that division.
Georgia Southern is one of the top programs in the FCS, and Johnson C. Smith is a non-factor in Division II. That spells trouble right from the start.
But no one could have expected the outcome.
By the end of the first quarter, Georgia Southern held a 37-point lead. It only got worse as the game dragged on. At halftime, Georgia Southern was already up 58-0. The final score was an embarrassing (for both teams) 84-3.
Georgia Southern had 547 rushing yards. Thankfully, the Georgia Southern coaching staff had enough mercy and sense not to throw the ball much, only accumulating 27 passing yards in the game on just three attempts, using three different quarterbacks. For their part, Johnson C. Smith had just 128 yards of total offense—a number outpaced by GSU's leading rusher in the game, Lance Turner, who had 140 yards on 13 carries.
Regardless of who you are or who you're playing, a 81-point margin of victory needs to be recognized on any list of college football blowouts.
Penn State makes it back on the list with the 2007 dismantling of FIU.
The No. 17 Nittany Lions hosted the Panthers in what was expected to be an easy win for Penn State. Probably no one expected just how easy the win would turn out to be.
Joe Paterno's Lions had 549 yards of offensive productions compared to just 114 for Florida International. Penn State's defense also held FIU to just seven first downs in the game, as Penn State coasted to a 59-0 victory.
Unfortunately for FIU, they're making a second-straight appearance on our blowout list.
When the game was originally scheduled, FIU had to understand that they'd be the underdogs. But just how good the Florida team they'd be facing was jaw-dropping. The No. 1 Gators were defending SEC and BCS champions, and were a perfect 10-0.
FIU was 3-7, and just hoping to get past this game without getting badly embarrassed.
No such luck.
Tim Tebow led his Gators to a one-sided game in which FIU looked like a high school program playing the Green Bay Packers. Tebow had 215 passing yards and two touchdowns before his night ended very early. Brantley picked up where Tebow left off, accounting for 146 yards and three touchdowns.
At the end of the afternoon, Florida was still No. 1 after dispatching the FIU Panthers, 62-3.
The Gators appear again as a blowout victor, topping the SJSU Spartans in 2003 by a final score of 65-3.
In the season opener for both squads, the No. 17 Gators were looking for a game to sharpen some of those teeth before diving into their SEC schedule. They found a somewhat willing victim in San Jose State.
SJSU opened the game's scoring with a field goal on the opening drive. The Gators clearly didn't appreciate that, as they scored 65 unanswered points, giving us the final margin of 65-3. Ingle Martin went 14-of-23 for 196 yards and a touchdown to lead the Gators passing attack. A host of Gators rushers amassed a collective 155 yards on the ground as Florida outgained SJSU 512-185.
The only thing that kept this onslaught in check was the fact that the Gators were just 6-14 on third downs in the game.
In 2005, everyone knew Texas was good. Vince Young was having a storied season, and he was leading the Longhorns towards a BCS championship game berth.
While everyone viewed the 2005 Big 12 Championship Game as simply a formality, no one predicted just how lopsided the score would be at the end of the game.
Colorado, the Big 12-North champions, entered the game 7-4, and were looking to spoil Texas's perfect season. Texas obviously just needed to get past Colorado to earn a spot in the BCS championship.
Vince Young went to work early, and after 193 passing yards and three touchdowns, the Longhorns walked off the field with a 42-3 halftime lead.
Luckily for the Buffaloes, Mack Brown and company pulled the chute in the second half. But Colorado couldn't manage a single additional score, and after Texas's 28-point third quarter, the Longhorns were crowned Big 12 champions, winning 70-3.
Scoring 70 points is always impressive. Scoring 70 points in a conference championship game against a divisional champion is just amazing.
The Sooners return to our list with their 2002 steamrolling of the Miners from UTEP.
The No. 8 Sooners entered the early season game against UTEP as possible contenders for the BCS in 2002. UTEP entered the season with hopes of keeping their dignity intact.
By 10:00 on the night of Sept. 14, 2002, that hope was gone.
There isn't much to say about this game, other than the fact that it ended up pretty much as you might expect.
The Sooners win, 68-0. Scoring a ton of points is great. Keeping the other team from socing at all, even better.
There are days when a ULM fan has to wonder why their football team is an FBS program. Sept. 7, 2002 was probably one of those days.
While Kansas State was the No. 6 team in the nation, and ULM didn't have much chance of winning the game, one wouldn't expect Monroe to be completely unable to move the football. In fact, Monroe had six drives of negative yards gained. There were 11 total drives that resulted in fewer than 10 total yards gained. There were 10 three-and-out drives. There were zero points scored.
There were 68 points surrendered.
The Washington State Cougars were just 1-6, and they had the unenviable task of hosting the No. 6 USC Trojans.
USC is always a tough opponent, and some of the best teams in the nation walk away losers. When you're one of the worst teams in the nation, you just have to hope you walk away.
Washington State barely managed to do that, but it was after giving up 625 yards and 69 points to the Trojans.
The stupefying numbers given up by the Cougar defense is only exacerbated by the anemic numbers put up by the offense. WSU was only able to gain 116 yards, four first downs, was 1-for-13 on third downs and had just 28 yards passing.
Note to the Washington State coaching staff. If you're massively outmatched, and you're down by several touchdowns, you might want to try throwing the ball once in a while. Washington State only attempted nine passes in the entire game.
If you're too afraid to throw the ball, maybe you should find a new line of work.
Since the FCS and Division II have both been mentioned, it's only fair to mention Division III. And even if it wasn't only fair, this game would still make the list.
In the 2003 season opener, the Trinity Bible College Lions traveled to Rockford, Illinois to take on the Rockford College Regents.
Almost from the opening kickoff, it was clear that Trinity Bible College was in for a very, very long night. After an opening drive punt by Trinity Bible, the Regents took just five plays to score their first of many, many touchdowns on the evening. A three-and-out by Trinity Bible led to another Rockford touchdown. Then a safety. Then another touchdown. Then another. And another.
When the afternoon was over, the 918 people in attendance could hardly believe the scoreboard—which had been rendered useless. The final score was Rockford 105, Trinity Bible 0.
Rockford broke the 25-year-old Division III scoring record with their 105 points, breaking Concordia-Moorhead's 97 points in 1977. Rockford gained 548 yards of offense, and held Trinity Bible to just 14. No, that's not a misprint. Fourteen yards. With 61 total plays, the Lions were only able to manage just 14 yards of total offense, including -34 yards rushing. Trinity Bible also committed six turnovers during the game.
Of Trinity Bible's 18 drives, 12 ended with zero of negative yards. The Lions' third drive starter on their own 18, but ended with a safety. They had the ball just once in Rockford territory, but lost the ball on a failed fourth-down conversion. Trinity Bible was just 1-for-18 on third downs.
All in all, it was a complete and utter failure for Trinity.
It also stands as the most points scored and largest margin of victory for any college football team across all NCAA divisions over the last decade.
The Oregon Ducks began the 2010 season as the No. 11 team in the nation, and after their first game against New Mexico, it was clear that the Ducks were a special team.
From the first kickoff, the Ducks featured an offensive display rarely seen in the FBS. A 28-point first quarter was followed by a 31-point second quarter.
Touchdown after touchdown came for the Ducks, and their eventually rode their offensive juggernaut all the way to a Pac-10 title and BCS championship game berth.
It may end up as a historical footnote, but the first team dispatched by the prolific Oregon offense in 2010 was the hapless New Mexico Lobos.
Oregon posted one of the largest FBS versus FBS margins of victory, and certainly the largest margin of 2010 in this 72-0 rout of New Mexico, earning them top spots on our list of biggest blowouts of the last 10 years.