NCAA 14 Simulation: Boise State vs. Southern Mississippi

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 7 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:             

After a week of regrouping and correcting mistakes that cost Boise State the game, against Fresno State, the Broncos were anxious to get the game underway. Boise State had found themselves in an unfamiliar position of having just as many wins as losses to this point in the season. The Golden Eagles on the other hand found themselves in a similar position as last season while starting off their season 0-3.

Boise State elected to defer, and after a long kick, the Golden Eagles returned the opening kickoff back to their own 23 yard line. The offense marched onto the field hoping that their bye week had given them time to correct whatever mistakes have caused the winless start to their season. After three unsuccessful plays Southern Miss was forced to punt the ball which Boise State returned to their own 34 yard line. Following the Golden Eagle’s example the Broncos couldn’t get anything going and was forced to punt the ball.

Southern Miss’ offense returned to the field and, after a short 4 yard pass and two runs up the middle that were stopped by the defensive line, were forced to punt. On the punt return Williams-Rhodes made two defenders miss and returned the ball to the 50 yard line and gave Boise State great field position. The Broncos continued their new-found offense of short passes and runs up the middle all the way down to the 6 yard line before being stopped. Southwick then found Miller on a slant route for the touchdown and gave Boise State the lead.

Very little action followed the remainder of the first quarter as neither team crossed the goal line. Starting off the second quarter Boise State had the ball and continued the offensive success down to the 7 yard line where Holden Huff slipped past his defender and was rewarded with a touchdown reception from Southwick. USM then found some success throwing the ball against the young Boise State corners, followed by a field goal from 32 yards out.

Following the Golden Eagles’ score the Broncos orchestrated a drive down the field and again Miller was open for a short touchdown pass. USM took the next kickoff back to the 40 yard line and after a 24 yard pass followed by a 10 yard run, lined up for a field goal. The kick was from 43 yards out and the Golden Eagles’ kicker split the uprights to bring the score closer at 21-6 headed into halftime.

The second half started with both teams being forced to punt on their respective opening drives. Midway through the third quarter pressure forced Southwick to roll to his right where he found Huff open for a 27 yard touchdown pass. Boise State was quick to force a Southern Miss three and out, giving the Broncos possession at their own 42 yard line. After a perfectly executed fake hand off Southwick rolled to his right and found a streaking Boldewijn on the sideline for a gain of 58 yards and the touchdown. With that score Boise State took a 35-6 lead and on came the reserves.

With the reserves getting the remaining plays of the game it became very uneventful. Neither team could get their offenses going as drives ended almost quicker than they began. With less than 4 minutes left in the game Grant Hedrick started to get the offense moving in the right direction. On a third and eleven from the Boise State 36 yard line, and seventeen second left in the game, Hedrick made magic happen. (Now I know Coach Pete would never allow this, but EA does, so let it slide) Hedrick snapped the ball rolled to his left, saw pressure, ran back to the right and delivered a deep pass to Dallas Burroughs who then trotted into the end zone for a 64 yard touchdown pass with 0:07 left in the game.

Final Score: Boise State 42 – Southern Miss 6  

THE UGLY: 

With fans filling in most of the stadium, players finished up their warms ups, all while Bronco Nation appeared in a funk from the previous weeks defeat. Both teams took the field for the opening kickoff which Southern Miss elected to receive. The opening quarter was far from a barn burner as neither team could sustain a drive for more than a couple first downs as the defenses reigned supreme. All of this was put to rest when the Golden Eagles finally got the chains moving all the way down inside the red zone, and finished it off with a 12 yard touchdown pass to take the early lead.

Starting off the second quarter Boise State’s offense still seemed stumped by the formations of Southern Miss’ defense. Midway through the second quarter the Broncos’ concerns were put to rest when Southwick found Matt Miller for a 2 yard touchdown to tie up the game. The Broncos’ defense borrowed some of that offensive momentum and stuffed the USM offense to give the ball back to Southwick and Company. Boise State continued that momentum down into the red zone before being forced to kick a field goal which split the uprights with two minutes left in the half. USM drove the ball back down the field and lined up for a kick with 0:12 left, it stayed just inside the uprights, and tied the game at 10-10 heading into halftime

Coming out of the tunnel the Broncos appeared to be stunned by the fact that a 0-3 team was tied up with them at halftime, yet that was reality. After receiving the kickoff Shane Williams-Rhodes went to his left and then cut back to his right and found open field only to be stopped at the 49 yard line. That return would be the only good play for Boise State on this drive as the Broncos immediately went three and out. The punting battle continued for the next few possessions when finally the Golden Eagles sustained a drive, but ended in a 30 yard field goal. Following the confidence that USM showed on their offensive drive Southwick led the charge and Boise State found themselves 4 yards from the goal line. Jay Ajayi, who recently returned to Coach Pete’s good side, took the hand-off and ran up the middle to regain the lead for the Broncos

Early in the fourth quarter Jay Ajayi and Southwick found success in the running game and led the drive, and eventually another touchdown run, to give Boise State a 24-13 lead. Southern Miss turned the ball over and gave Boise State a chance to put the game away, but after gaining momentum with a couple first downs, was forced to punt the ball. The Golden Eagles started their drive from their own 30 yard line and with just over four minutes left in the game knew they needed a big play.

A big play was exactly what they got as they connected on a 70 yard touchdown pass and brought the game back to only a one score differential. Now being down by five points the Golden Eagles decided to go for a two point conversion, but there attempt was stopped when they tried to run it up the middle. Boise State knew that Southern Miss was going to onside the ball, and even though they were prepared for it, somehow a funny bounce later and the Golden Eagles had the ball again.

The Golden Eagles then drove the ball down to the 3 yard line with a little over two minutes left in the game before running for the touchdown. Southern Miss went for the two point conversion to increase their lead to three points and after a slant route they had done it. Southern Miss kicked the ball off to the Broncos and after a touchback, the Broncos were forced to start from their 25 yard line. Southwick returned to the field anxious to lead the charge and hopefully put the Broncos in position for the win.

The Broncos’ offense completed a 10 yard pass to Matt Miller, followed by a pass to Kirby Moore for 11 yards. Now the Broncos leaned on their running game that gained 4 yards, then three, then five, and another first down. With time running down the Broncos threw 2 incompletions to set up a third and ten from the USM 42 yard line and 14 seconds left in the game. Southwick snapped the ball and took his three step drop, threw the ball to Matt Miller who had set up for a 12 yard curl, only to have the ball batted down. Now with 6 seconds left in the game a Hail Mary was there only shot. Coach Pete made the call to take a shot for the end zone since they were out of field goal range, but after one more batted down pass, the Golden Eagles ended their losing streak.

Final Score: Southern Miss 27 – Boise State 24

 

OUTCOME:

The sting of a heartbreaking loss loomed, ever so eerily, throughout the stadium as fans piled into their seats, all while a sense of uncertainty filled the air. Would the potent new offense return or would we be subjected to another lackadaisical performance was on the minds of fans. With the game ready to begin, and Southern Miss set to receive, the questions would soon be answered.

The Golden Eagles were forced to start their drive from the 25 yard line after Dan Goodale kicked the ball into the back of the end zone. With the opening drive USM found early success using their hurry up offense all while gaining three first downs. The Golden Eagles ran into a little trouble when Bryan Douglas intercepted the next pass and returned it into the end zone to give the Broncos an early lead. In typical Bronco fashion they went for a two point conversion on their opening score, but were stopped before crossing the goal line.

Southern Miss came back onto the field and again found success running the ball up the middle and mixing in a few short passes that seemed to catch the Bronco defense off guard. Southern Miss eventually found the end zone after a 15 yard route and a missed tackle left the receiver trotting into the end zone and bringing the game even. After the PAT USM found themselves off to an early lead halfway through the first quarter.

Behind the legs of new starting running back Aaron Baltazar, Boise State found success on the ground with runs up the middle and a few sweeps. Joe Southwick and the offense eventually stumbled inside the red zone and were forced to kick a field goal which retook the lead. Boise State’s defense was up to the challenge this drive and forced a punt to give the ball back to their offense to start off the second quarter.

With momentum on their side Southwick orchestrated a pass first drive that brought the offense 14 yards from the end zone. On a first and ten, Baltazar ran up the middle for a gain of 4 yards and followed that up with a 3 yard gain on second down. On third down Coach Pete put the ball back into the senior quarterback’s hands and he delivered with a touchdown pass to an open Matt Miller.

Southern Miss started off their next drive off with a few short passes and completed a third and three after running the ball up the middle. The Golden Eagles found success passing in the middle of the field, and eventually drove the ball down inside the 13 yard line. They completed the drive with a touchdown run by the quarterback. The Golden Eagles did something daring by going for the two point conversion and converted to shrink the Broncos’ lead to 16-15. Boise State’s offense stumbled early in their drive and were forced to punt with under a minute left in the half.

Coming out of the tunnel the Golden Eagles appeared to have a rejuvenated spirit while the Broncos looked confused. Boise State took their opening drive and started it off with a 34 yard completion to Geraldo Boldewijn that left the Broncos 27 yards from a score. Those yard were hard fought, but Aaron Baltazar finished off the drive when he crossed the goal line after a 12 yard run to the outside and diving into the end zone.

Over the next eight minutes neither team’s offense found success moving the chains and it became a game of field position. With less than two minutes in the quarter, the Broncos regained their momentum, and Southwick led the offense down the field and into the end zone when he found Matt Miller open in the back of the end zone. The Broncos had extended their lead to fifteen points heading into the fourth quarter.

USM was able to muster another pass oriented drive down the field, which was stopped when Bryan Douglas batted down a pass on third down. The Golden Eagles were forced to kick a field goal which split the uprights and brought the score closer at 30-18. Southwick and company marched back onto the field ready to extend their lead and hopefully put the game away with eight minutes left in the game.

Starting off the drive Jay Ajayi was back in the game and he didn’t disappoint as he ran the ball up the middle and ran over defenders. After being benched in the previous week Ajayi seemed to protect the ball better as no matter how many the defenders there were, the ball never left his hands. With the strong running, a play action fake froze the defense, and Southwick found Kirby Moore open after slipping under the defense for an 18 yard touchdown. With four minutes left in the game Southern Miss tried to orchestrate one final drive, but came up just short as time expired.

 

 

Final Score: Boise State 37 – Southern Miss 18  

 

Stats from Game:

Joe Southwick: 19-30, 3 TD – 1 INT, 294 yards

Jay Ajayi: 9 carries, 45 yards, 0 TD

Aaron Baltazar: 16 carries, 76 yards, 1 TD

Matt Miller: 9 receptions, 129 yards, 2 TD

Kirby Moore: 4 receptions, 62 yards, 1 TD

Beau Martin: 3 tackles, 1 TFL, ½ sack

Bryan Douglas: 5 tackles, 1 INT, 2 pass break-up, 1 TD

 

Head to Head: Boise State 6 – Southern Miss 1

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