EA NCAA Football 11 Simulation: USF at West Virginia

I made a pretty big mistake in my simulated dynasty. When the CPU Bulls lost to Syracuse last week I turned the PS3 off before I saved the season progress and rolled forward to the next week. No problem, right? Just have the computer sim the game again. Unfortunately, USF won the "rematch" and CPU B.J. Daniels dislocated his elbow in the process. He was going to be out for two months, and that time the game autosaved so there was no going back.

That means I had to abandon the actual season, and will now just sim exhibition games. That means fully healthy rosters and no injuries carrying over. Welcome back to the lineup, A.J. Love!

On to the game, and in a result that was just as surprising to me as the Syracuse game...

FINAL SCORE: USF 35, WEST VIRGINIA 30

When you look at the final stats, you'd have to think that the Mountaineers should have won. They outgained USF by over 200 yards (528-319), won the time of possession battle, got over 400 yards passing out of Geno Smith, knocked Mo Plancher out of the game, and held Demetris Murray to only 44 rushing yards. How the hell did they lose?

They lost because of special teams. Terrence Mitchell ran a kickoff back for a touchdown. Dede Lattimore blocked a punt and Scott Kozlowski foolishly recovered it just outside his own goal line, leading to an easy USF touchdown. And Tyler Bitancurt jaked an extra point and also missed a field goal.

Also all of that yardage advantage was a result of garbage time. The Bulls had a 35-9 lead early in the fourth quarter and completely let off the gas, letting West Virginia drive down the field for three touchdowns while the USF offense failed to get a single first down in the final period. The Mountaineers even got the ball back again with 22 seconds left and had a fleeting chance to win the game, but couldn't make it all 80 yards to the end zone.

B.J. Daniels was 20-for-39 for 232 yards and four touchdowns. (If you've ever played NCAA 11, you know that the CPU Mountaineers are outrageously aggressive on defense, so a lot of big plays are available in the passing game.) Even though Murray averaged less than two yards per carry, he did catch two TD passes. On the other side, Noel Devine rolled up 193 yards from scrimmage, but his longest run was only 10 yards and he didn't break off a big one until it really didn't matter -- a 28-yard reception on the final play.

This surprising win brings the CPU Bulls to 4-2 on the season and 1-1 in conference play. Next up is a game at Cincinnati.

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