Although college football’s rivalry weekend is typically reserved for the final weekend in November, it does not mark the end of heated games between schools who meet on the gridiron in yearly football battles. Case in point: this week’s STAT BOX STORIES entry for NCAA Football 12, pitting the Oklahoma Sooners against the Oklahoma State Cowboys at Boone Pickens Stadium in Stillwater, OK.
In the state of Oklahoma, this football season has seen various milestones for each of the two majors schools. Oklahoma began the season as the consensus #1-ranked team in college football and appeared to have an inside track at securing a spot in the BCS National Championship game; unfortunately for the Sooners, losses at home to Texas Tech and on the road against Baylor resulted in two losses and a lost chance at becoming this year’s champion. Oklahoma State began the season ranked in the Top 10 and jumped as high as #2, putting themselves on track to take one of the spots in the BCS National Championship game as well until their title game hopes were derailed on the road against the Iowa State Cyclones. The Cowboys remain in the Top 10 as one of a few teams with only a single loss on the season, but their chances of competing for a national title rest upon the result of the Bedlam Game against their in-state rivals from Norman.
As much as I hated to have another game in the span of a few weeks where I was playing against the Sooners, they hold the ratings advantage in NCAA Football 12 and as a result I decided to suit up in the black-and-orange of the Cowboys from Stillwater.
To begin the game, I won the coin toss and elected to kick off to begin the game and receive the kickoff at the start of the second half. Unfortunately, my defense looked shaky and allowed for a significant drive over a short period of time with Oklahoma’s no-huddle offense. However, the Sooners’ quarterback made a bad decision in the red zone and his pass was picked off by one of my cornerbacks, who took the ball 105 yards all the way to the opposite end zone for the game’s opening touchdown.
Oklahoma’s next offense possession ended in a 3-and-out, and it only took a few more plays for me to find the end zone again; this time on offense with a 72-yard pass from my quarterback to a receiver running a deep streak pattern along the sideline. With an early 14-point lead, I was definitely feeling good about my chances of defending home field in the rivalry showdown. Of course, this led to an extended drive for the Sooners which resulted in a short 1-yard pass for a touchdown and a 14-7 lead.
On my next offensive possession, I converted a short 4th-and-Inches attempt trying to hold onto possession but eventually I was forced to punt the ball away when facing a longer distance for a new set of downs. This set into motion a series of three consecutive punts where each defense stepped up their play and kept the ball from getting into scoring position. With 2:23 remaining in the first half, however, a mid-range pass from my quarterback to a slot receiver resulted in a 71-yard catch-and-run touchdown and a 21-7 lead which I was able to take into the break.
With a comfortable lead, my opening possession of the 3rd Quarter chewed time off the clock but ultimately stalled and resulted in a punt. On Oklahoma’s first possession of the second half, they threatened to put up 7 points but had to settle for a short field goal to bring themselves to within 11 points. Less than a minute later, a 6-yard rush by my starting halfback found the end zone and allowed me to re-take an 18-point lead, 28-10.
Another exchange of punts ended the third quarter and began the fourth, and the Sooners managed a 19-yard pass for a touchdown with 4:04 left in the game. Their attempt to run a wide receiver sweep play on the 2-point conversion attempt was snuffed in the backfield, keeping a two-possession lead at 28-16. Another quick Oklahoma State drive resulted in a 21-yard field goal, extending the lead to 31-16.
With 1:54 remaining in the game, an Oklahoma pass was picked off by the Cowboys and I turned my attention to trying to run down the clock. However, the Sooners had three timeouts remaining and were able to force a final offensive possession. With 22 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, a 15-yard pass to the back of the end zone was initially ruled incomplete but then overturned after a booth review to bring the Sooners with 9 points pending another 2-point conversion attempt. The QB option play they chose resulted in negative yardage on the attempt, however, and then Oklahoma’s last-ditch onside kick attempt was recovered by Oklahoma State to allow the Cowboys’ celebration to begin.
Though I controlled the scoreboard as Oklahoma State for much of the game, Oklahoma’s offensive statistics were considerably better than mine. They converted 10 more first downs and outgained me by more than a hundred yards. Rushing yards were nearly equal, but the Sooners’ passing attack resulted in 146 more yards over the course of the game. Turnovers were a big key to the game, however, as Oklahoma threw 3 interceptions to my one.
In terms of player stats, Oklahoma’s QB would’ve had a much better game compared to mine if not for the three interceptions; even though the Oklahoma State QB completed less than 50% of his attempts, his two deep TD passes helped pace the Cowboys to victory. On the ground, the Sooners’ lead HB crossed the century mark but couldn’t find the end zone; While neither of the two HBs on the Cowboys gained 100 yards, HB #1 did contribute a score to the effort. Each team had a receiver end the game with over 100 yards receiving. One of the defensive stars of the game was definitely Oklahoma State SS #10, who compiled 10 total tackles for the game and also scored on the 105-yard interception return for a touchdown on the game’s opening drive.
Though history suggests that the Cowboys of Oklahoma State will not win their game against Oklahoma, it would surely be a story for college football if they manage to keep themselves alive in the hunt for the BCS National Championship. Be sure to tune in for the game this weekend, and come back here to STAT BOX STORIES tomorrow for a Madden NFL 12 match-up between youthful quarterbacks as the Carolina Panthers face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.