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Vegas Always Wins: Tar Heels turn over, then take away

The worst bad beats from Week 9 of college football

NCAA Football: Duke at North Carolina Nell Redmond-USA TODAY Sports

College football really is the only sport in the world where absolutely anything could happen on any given weekend. It doesn’t matter how good a team is or how big the skill gap, if a more talented team slips up, an upset is waiting for them. Fittingly on the weekend before Halloween, a ton of the nation’s top-ranked teams got spooked, and a good handful of those were tricked into treating an underdog to a shocking victory.

As has been the case seemingly every week now, a top-10 team was knocked off but an unranked opponent — this time the unfortunate victim the No. 5 Oklahoma Sooners, who were defeated in the Little Apple 48-41 by Kansas State. They were not alone in upset land, however, as No. 15 Texas was taken down on the road 37-27 by TCU, and No. 19 Michigan throttled No. 8 Notre Dame 45-14.

There was some shakeup at the bottom, with No. 23 Iowa State losing to Oklahoma State and No. 24 Arizona State falling to UCLA, but for the most part the rest of the Top-25 held serve. In the ranked matchups, No. 2 LSU came away with a narrow 23-20 victory over No. 9 Auburn, and No. 3 Ohio State demolished No. 13 Wisconsin 38-7.

While some of these upsets likely provided big payouts to those risky enough to bet the underdog — and surprising losses to those taking the favorites — they certainly weren’t even close to the worst beats of the weekend. Let’s dive in to the Week 9 slate, and find out where bettors lost their money and their minds.

North Carolina 20 — Duke 17
(Line: UNC -3)

Seems like an incredibly low-scoring game between these two basketball powerhouses, I guess the loss of Zion really is taking its toll on the Blue Devils... oh that’s right, these schools also play football. This low-key matchup between two middle-of-the-road ACC teams may seem insignificant, but it provided one of the worst beats of the weekend.

With UNC leading 20-17, the Tar Heels put together a 73-yard drive, and was threatening to put the game away with 1st-and-goal from the three-yard line and just over three minutes to go. North Carolina would fumble on the very next play, and instead it was Duke with a chance to win the game. After the Blue Devils drove down the field 92 yards, they faced a 1st-and-goal themselves with just 18 seconds remaining on the game clock and a chance to win or at the very least tie.

Duke attempted a jump-pass with the running back, which ended in disaster. UNC picked it off to seal the victory, with both teams final possessions of the game ending in turn overs on the goal line. Bettors of both sides had a chance to come away with a win, as either team punching it into the endzone would have covered for whichever team scored. Instead, a whirlwind of an ending resulted in a push for everyone on two red zone takeaways.

Kansas 37 — Texas Tech 34
(Line: TTU -6)

It was a weekend full of bad beats involving teams that are better at basketball than football, apparently, as the Kansas vs. Texas Tech matchup provided another shocking ending. What began as a classic Big 12 shootout, ending in calamity for the Red Raiders.

Texas Tech jumped out to a 17-0 lead, but Kansas would close out the first half strong, and by the break had cut the deficit to 17-14. The Red Raiders put 10 points on the board right out of halftime, but two long touchdown passes by the Jayhawks had things all tied up at 27 apiece. After another TD each, Kansas had the ball in a 34-34 game with 13 seconds left, and were lining up for what would be a 40-yard field goal.

After blocking the field goal, giving Texas Tech a chance to win the game in OT, the Red Raiders pitch the ball to nobody in particular, and Kansas recovers. The Jayhawks get a second try at the field goal, and knock it through as time expires. TTU would have had a chance to cover the spread had they won the game in overtime, but Red Raider bettors were left stunned as Kansas was given two attempts at a game-winning field goal.

Southern Mississippi 20 — Rice 6
(Line: USM -10)

A game that likely few had eyes on without a little bit of money on the line, this Conference USA clash had one of the worst backdoor covers of the day. The Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles headed to Texas to take on the winless Rice Owls, and struggled away from their friendly confines.

Neither team was interested in anything resembling an offense in this one, as the two squads headed into halftime with the Golden Eagles up 10-0. After extending the lead to 13-0 out of the break, the Owls would find their first points of the day on a 15-yard touchdown pass late in the third quarter, failing on the PAT, to make it 13-6. The game would remain scoreless most of the remainder of the way, with Southern Mississippi just looking to salt away the clock with under a minute to go.

With a little over 30 seconds remaining, a simple run up the middle wound up breaking away for a touchdown, resulting in a 20-6 final in a victory for the Golden Eagles. The late TD was enough to cover the 10-point spread, as those with money on Rice — who were covering for almost the entire second half — lost in an unsettling matter in the closing seconds.