NCAA 14 Simulation: Boise State at Fresno State

The scenario for each of these match-ups is a simple process, I take the current roster and set up multiple dynasties and simulate the seasons, to collect my data. To make sure I had a large enough sample size I simulated seven seasons to gather the right information. To make it easier to follow I edited the roster to include actual names of the players and aside from that we are all EA sports. With each opponent I will try to give you a best case scenario, worst case scenario, and a possible outcome. Boise State is running out of a pistol offense to keep it as close to reality as possible.

 

THE GOOD:

As warm-ups finished up and with kickoff looming ever so closely the Broncos appeared to have a different swagger to them, one unfamiliar to this season. With the opening kickoff the Broncos were stopped at their own 18 yard line. After a couple of first down runs Boise State was forced to punt the ball and pinned the Bulldogs deep in their own territory. After an unsuccessful drive by Fresno State, the home team for forced to punt the ball.

Boise State started their next drive from their own 35 and drove the ball right down the field and capped off their first successful drive of the evening with an 18 yard strike from Joe Southwick to Dallas Burroughs. The remaining 5:29 of the first quarter was pretty mellow with neither team putting points on the scoreboard. Starting off the second quarter Jay Ajayi led the charge and after three first down runs set the broncos up with a first and goal from the 4 yard line. A quick toss to the outside and strong running from Ajayi and the Broncos were up 14-0.

Fresno State rallied behind Brian Burrell as David Derek Carr was out with a shoulder injury. Burrell and the Bulldogs drove straight down the field and finished their drive with a 3 yard touchdown and closing the gap to 14-7. The Broncos responded when Southwick found a wide open Matt Miller in the corner of the end zone. The defense continued to dominate the offensive line of the Bulldogs and Fresno was forced to punt.  Boise State opened up their next drive with Southwick faking a hand-off to Ajayi, keeping it, and sprinting 78 yards for the score.

The Broncos, using some blitz packages, applied pressure to back-up quarterback Burrell and forced an interception. With less than a minute before halftime the Broncos had good field position and tried to run the ball for the first down. Boise was stopped on three unsuccessful running attempts and Dan Goodale kicked a 43 yard field goal with 0:09 left and gave Boise State a 31-7 advantage heading into halftime.

Coming out of the tunnel it appeared that Fresno State was missing some mojo without Carr at the helm of the offense. After three first downs to open their drive the Bulldogs were forced to punt and Southwick and company returned to the field looking to finish them off. Southwick led the charge and mixed in some short passes as the Broncos found themselves 10 yards from another score. Miller again slipped by his defender and Southwick rewarded him with a well-placed throw for the score. The Bulldogs then proceeded to find success running the ball and drove it down to the 30 yard line before they were stopped as time expired on the third quarter.

Opening up the fourth quarter the bulldogs lined up for a 41 yard field goal and split the uprights. Most of the remaining fourth quarter was watching reserves as Boise State subbed in both the second team offense and defense. Thankfully the Broncos were able to string some plays together and Aaron Baltazar scored halfway through the quarter with a powerful 4 yard run. With 2 minutes left Baltazar again found the end zone, but this time from 7 yards out while increasing the Broncos’ lead.

Final Score: Boise State 52 – Fresno State 10

 

THE UGLY:

With kickoff around the corner, the stadium finished filling up with red and white clad fans. Boise State lost the coin toss and would be receiving the opening kickoff. The opening drive opened up the same way we had in some of the previous games this year. Boise State could not seem to get anything going and after a quick three plays was forced to punt. Fresno pounced on this opportunity and drove the ball down into the red zone only to throw an interception and give the ball back to the Broncos. Boise State didn’t squander their chances and drove the ball behind a short passing game and power running down to the 1 yard line. Southwick then threw a quick fade to Matt Miller for the first score of the game. The remaining 8:14 of the quarter was pretty uneventful as neither time could sustain a long drive.

Boise State broke the scoring silence early in the second quarter when Dan Goodale kicked a 27 yard field goal and increased the Broncos’ lead to 10-0. The defenses then controlled the half as both teams gained a couple first downs and would be forced to punt the ball. Heading into the half the Broncos held a 10-0 lead, but with a potent team like Fresno State no lead appeared to be enough. Coaches still seemed uneasy with the fact that so many opportunities hadn’t been capitalized on and yet the game was still very close.

Heading back onto the field Fresno appeared to have changed something at halftime and a different team appeared from the locker rooms. Fresno took the kickoff and returned it to the 40 yard line while giving themselves great field position for their opening drive of the second half. Derek Carr then orchestrated a hurry-up offense to perfection while the Bronco defenders grew increasingly more tired. Carr found Adams open on a slant route for 8 yards and the first Fresno State score of the game. Boise State didn’t flinch after giving up a score, and behind the running game of Aaron Baltazar, moved the ball down the field and finished off the drive with a 3 yard run up the middle, increasing the Broncos lead to 17-7.

The Bulldogs didn’t seem to be rattled by falling behind, when they quickly responded with some big running plays and Carr throwing another touchdown pass, this time a 6 yard pass to Jensen. With the score now set at 17-14 and heading into the fourth quarter the crowd finally started to get into the game and got behind their Bulldogs and started to cause havoc on the Broncos’ offense.

 

Boise State couldn’t seem to find an answer to the Bulldogs’ new found confidence after their score. The Broncos’ defense allowed another touchdown early in the fourth quarter with Carr scrambling in from 1 yard out to take the lead at 21-17. With the fans rattling the stadium at this point, the Bulldogs sensed a chance to finish off the Broncos, forced a punt and gave Fresno the ball back with the lead and time not on the Boise State side. Fresno lead a long drawn out drive down the field and with less than two minutes in the game Carr found Jensen again for a score. This appeared to be the dagger in the chest of the Broncos as the clock continued counting down and Boise State couldn’t seem to put any more points on the board.

 

Final Score: Fresno State 28 – Boise State 17

 

OUTCOME:

A nationally televised game, a stadium filled with red and white, a newly ranked Fresno State team stood in the way of Boise State adding to their win streak. With the opening kickoff of the game the Bulldogs returned the ball to the 27 yard line, the game – which could decide Mountain West dominance – was underway. Derek Carr and the Bulldogs took the field ready to show that they reigned supreme in the conference. On the very first play of the game Carr found Jensen over the middle, and after a few missed tackles, a gain of 37 yards. With Fresno now deep in Boise State territory the Bulldogs found themselves more confident, and after a couple short passes and some good running found themselves in the end zone and a 7-0 lead.

Boise State started their first drive at the 25 yard line when the kickoff was downed in the end zone. Joe Southwick took the field and handed the ball to Jay Ajayi for a gain of 7 yards. Southwick took the next snap and faked to Ajayi and ran for a gain of 6 more. The Broncos hurried to the line and using their pistol formation, combined with misdirection and proper reads, drove the remaining sixty two yards. They finished it off with Southwick selling the play action and finding Kirby Moore running along the back of the end zone.

The Bulldogs started off their drive from the 25 yard line as Dan Goodale kicked the ball out of the end zone. Carr and company started the next drive with a deep pass for a gain of 37 yards after a blown coverage. The next play provided a turn in the Broncos’ favor as Demarcus Lawrence and Jeremy Ioane sacked Carr, causing him to fumble, and recovered by the Broncos.

Southwick came back onto the field and found Boldewijn open for a gain of 16 over the middle. Ajayi found some running room up the middle as the Broncos strung together four first downs in a row.  With Boise State only 4 yards from the goal line they handed to Jay Ajayi, who barreled himself through a Bulldog defender for the score. Fresno State gained some momentum back as they proceeded to block the extra point of Dan Goodale.

Opening up the second quarter Fresno had the ball and was driving towards the end zone, when Ben Weaver stopped Carr from scrambling on a third and short, forcing fourth down. The Bulldogs came out in a goal line formation and pushed through the Bronco defense for a first and goal at the 2 yard line. Fresno tied the game up with a quarterback sneak from David Carr and after the extra point found themselves up 14-13.

Boise State’s offense returned to the field and found similar success running the ball against the Bulldog’s defense. Baltazar led the charge and after using some jukes and spins gained three first downs in a row. The Broncos were 31 yards away from a score with seven minutes left in the half before Southwick threw a strike to Matt Miller for an 18 yard gain. After leading the charge the Broncos rewarded Baltazar with a toss to the outside and Aaron did the rest running the ball in for the first score of his young career.

Fresno hadn’t lost much momentum or rhythm from their previous drive as they used the hurry up offense, and gained first down after first down. Everything seemed to be going in their favor while the clock ran down and halftime lingering ever closer. The Bulldogs were stopped at the 16 yard line of Boise State when after three unsuccessful runs, and was forced to kick a field goal. When the field goal attempt split the uprights the Broncos held a 20-17 edge with 0:33 left in the half.

Boise State received the kickoff after halftime and didn’t find much success on the return as Shane Williams-Rhodes was stopped just short of the 20 yard line. The long field didn’t seem to faze the Bronco offense as Southwick found Williams-Rhodes on a short screen pass and after a gain of 19 yards was pushed out of bounds. Southwick then found an open Aaron Burks for a 61 yard pass for the touchdown and increased their lead to 27-17. David Carr returned to the field and completed a deep pass of his own that beat the Bronco defenders for the score.

After a few unsuccessful drives from both offenses the fourth quarter opened with Boise State holding a 27-24 edge and fifteen minutes left to decide a victor. The Broncos running from their now familiar pistol formation, used the legs of Baltazar and Ajayi and slowly but surely drove the ball down the field. With just over ten minutes left in the game Matt Miller found some separation from the defender and Southwick found him open for the first down. Unfortunately for the Broncos the good news ended there as they ran three plays that gained very little yards and Goodale came onto the field to attempt the field goal. The kick split the uprights, although a very low kick, and gave the Broncos a six point lead.

Fresno ran a slow methodical system of screens and draws that lead them to repeated first downs as they drove down the field while momentum returned to their favor. On first and ten from the Boise 34 yard line Carr was sacked while trying to roll to his left, a loss of 7 yards. Boise State’s defense held strong and after stopping two running attempts the Bulldogs were forced to punt with six minutes left in the game.

The Broncos were prepared to seize the moment and pushed their way down to the 14 yard line of Fresno with only 2:01 left on the clock. Southwick faked to Ajayi and Matt Miller slipped inside the defender and caught the touchdown pass to increase the lead to 37-24 with only 1:43 left in the game. The Bulldogs tried to continue to stretch the field, and with a last second Hail Mary attempt, found themselves just short of the comeback.

 

 

Final Score: Boise State 37 – Fresno State 24  

 

Stats from Game:

Joe Southwick: 18-31, 3 TD – 0 int, 266 yards

Jay Ajayi: 18 car, 83 yards, 1 TD

Aaron Baltazar: 9 car, 52 yards, 1 TD

Matt Miller: 5 rec, 80 yards, 1 TD

Kirby Moore: 5 rec, 76 yards, 1 TD

Demarcus Lawrence: 4 tackles, 2 TFL, ½ sack

Jeremy Ioane: 4 tackles, 1 TFL, ½ sack, 1 pass break-up

 

Head to Head: Boise State 5 – Fresno State 2

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