NCAA Football ’13 Week 6 Preview
After a win against Indiana, the virtual Wildcats get set to face Penn State. In real life, Northwestern just broke into the top 25. In this simulation, however, the ‘Cats lost close games to Vandy and BC, so they hold a 3-2 overall record.
As always, I’ll use NCAA Football 13’s SuperSim function under default settings to determine the winner of Northwestern’s weekly game. Then, I’ll look at what else is happening in the simulated season. You’ll notice that the rankings don’t always match up with real life. This is a result of my simulated 2012 season running independently from real life.
Key Players on Northwestern:
SS Ibraheim Campbell (Soph): 88 Overall, 93 tackling
LB David Nwabusi (SR): 87 Overall, 92 tackling
QB Kain Colter (JR): 87 Overall, 85 agility
Key players on Penn State:
OLB Gerald Hodges (SR): 93 Overall, 90 awareness
DT Jordan Hill (SR): 87 Overall, 87 strength
OLB Michael Mauti (SR): 87 Overall, 83 speed
NU [3-2 (1-0)]: Overall: B, Offense: B, Defense: B-
PSU: [2-3 (0-1)]: Overall: B, Offense: C+, Defense: B
Northwestern Game Recap
Penn State got the ball first and moved up the field with 60 yards of passing by QB Matt McGloin. An interception by Chi Chi Ariguzo ended the drive at the 11. Penn State’s second drive also ended on an interception, this one by Ibraheim Campbell at midfield. Northwestern capitalized with a 7-play drive that ended with a short TD run. 7-0 Wildcats lead.
Northwestern had the same lead and the ball (after a Penn State punt) to start the second quarter. Starting from their own 20, Kain Colter orchestrated an epic 16 play drive that featured 2 holding penalties, 2 third down conversions and one fourth down conversion. Northwestern led 14-0 midway through the second quarter. Penn State responded with a few big pass plays, but their 38-yard field goal missed, and the Nittany Lions were still scoreless. Northwestern nearly added more to their lead, but an interception ensured that the score would remain 14-0 at halftime. The story of the first half was Northwestern’s run defense, which held Penn State under 3 yards per carry.
Northwestern got the ball to start the second half and saw their drive lose momentum in the red zone. The 23-yard field goal by Budzien was good, and the ‘Cats pushed their lead to three scores: 17-0. Penn State’s offense continued to struggle, but Kain Colter and the Wildcats’ passing game didn’t. Northwestern converted two third-and longs en route to another touchdown. Kain Colter scrambled in from 6 yards out to give the ‘Cats a 24-point lead.
The third quarter ended with Penn State deep in Northwestern territory but facing a near-insurmountable deficit. Penn State did score, but their two-point conversion failed, so the scoreboard read 24-6 early in the fourth quarter. In desperation mode, the Nittany Lions tried an onside kick. Northwestern recovered, and three plays later the ‘Cats were in the endzone. 31-6 Northwestern. Penn State couldn’t regain any momentum and the ‘Cats ran the clock out for the victory.
A 25-point win on the road sounds pretty dominant, but the numbers can lie. Sure, they outgained Penn State by 170 yards, but Penn State was down by 3 or more possessions every time they had the ball in the second half. As a result, Penn State tried only 3 rushing attempts in the second half, allowing the ‘Cats D to focus on the passing game.
This game was a coming-out party for Kyle Prater: 12 catches for 122 yards. Kain Colter didn’t have many running lanes, so he dropped back to pass nearly 40 times, completing over 70% for 334 yards. In short, this game wasn’t an example of the numbers lying. It was all Wildcats in Happy Valley.
Big Games This Week
Iowa State @ #19 TCU: Iowa State wins, 20-10
#5 Florida State @ #23 NC State: FSU wins, 27-24
#4 Georgia @ #25 South Carolina: Georgia wins, 37-21
#21 Georgia Tech @ #14 Clemson: Clemson wins, 37-17
Washington @ #2 Oregon: Washington wins, 42-35
Miami vs. #18 Notre Dame: Miami wins, 24-10
#6 West Virginia @ #12 Texas: Texas wins, 33-29
Around the Big Ten
Northwestern’s game was the only one that didn’t have top-25 implications. #7 Michigan State took care of business against Indiana to improve to 6-0. #10 Michigan opened up its conference schedule with a win at Purdue. #15 Wisconsin beat Illinois, so both teams are now 1-1 in league play. #17 Nebraska went to Columbus and fell to the unranked Buckeyes. Minnesota and Iowa had byes, so the Hawkeyes remained undefeated.
Heisman Top 5:
EJ Manuel, QB, Florida St.
Ken Malcome, HB, Georgia
Knile Davis, HB, Arkansas
De’Anthony Thomas, HB, Oregon
Marcus Lattimore, HB, South Carolina