The fourth Bowl Game on the January 2nd, 2012 schedule brings us to EverBank Field in Jacksonville, Florida for a match-up between the Ohio State Buckeyes of the Big Ten and the Florida Gators of the SEC. Eric Veneziano returns for his record seventh contribution (and second today!) to the BOWL BLITZ INVITATIONAL here at STAT BOX STORIES to play today’s game.
There are multiple story lines that could be written for this match-up of STAT BOX STORIES. The Gator Bowl features two teams that have been perennial powerhouses but have not lived up to the hype as of late. Ohio State has struggled with its off the field troubles, losing starters and coaches for this year and wiping out another shot at a title. As for Florida, they still haven’t been able to get over the Urban Meyer hump. Indeed, looking at this match-up, you have the team Urban Meyer left and the team Urban is joining after this next year. We’ll forget all of those story lines and get right to the field.
With Florida having a slight ratings disadvantage in NCAA Football 12, I took the field for the Blue and Orange to see if I could prove that SEC speed can dominate the Buckeyes. I went with traditional rosters for the game but did remove QB #2 for OSU to make the game more realistic.
Both teams had a tough time going in the 1st quarter as the offenses traded multple 3 and outs and drives that sputtered. The OSU defense had come to play and prove that they were the dominant group. They were able to knock around my quarterback and stuff my running game as I only managed 76 total yards in the 1st half. They also were able to account for 7 of OSU’s 13 points in the 1st half as facing a 3rd and 19 deep in my own territory the Ohio State Strong Safety stepped infront of a pass and returned it 22 yards for the touchdown.
Going into the half trailing 13-0 the 2nd half needed some definite adjustments. My defense was playing strong only yielding 2 field goals but the offense needed to get rolling. It didn’t take them long in the 3rd quarter to display the SEC speed as my halfback on our first drive of the half took the ball off right tackle and on a Reggie Bush style cut on a dime, ducked it back inside and took off for a 52 yard touchdown run.
The touchdown seemed to light a fire under the Gators as the defense continued to shut down the Buckeyes and the offense finally started moving the ball. The Ohio State defense though would not allow the game to get out of hand as they caused the Gators next to drives to stall after midfield. The Buckeye defense did make one mistake though and my quarterback was able to take advantage on a busted coverage and hit a wide open receiver for an 80 yard touchdown pass with 1:28 to go in the 3rd.
Ohio State seemed to feel momentum slipping away as I scored 14 unanswered and took my first lead. Their offense put together a nice drive and notched a touchdown with 28 seconds left in the quarter. Leading 19 to 14 they attempted a 2 point conversion but the Gator defense sniffed out the run and stopped them short.
The 4th quarter was a back and forth match as both defenses didn’t seem to want to give up the deciding score. Both offenses had chances but terrific plays by the defenses broke up pass plays or stuffed runs on crucial 3rd downs to halt the drives. I was able to hold the Buckeye offense to a 3 and out with a little over 2 minutes to play and got the ball back at the 23 yard line with 1 timeout. My offense seemed determined to win the game and marched the ball right down the field methodically and scored on a halfback dive from the 8 with 43 seconds to go. We went for 2 to put us up by 3 points and converted on a slant to my wide receiver.
The Buckeyes had one last chance and 3 timeouts to get into field goal range or try and win the game. But after a big sack on 2nd down that dropped them to the 7 yard line, the offensive line let up another sack on 4th down that resulted in a safety and secured the victory for the Gators.
Overall it was a great game that saw a number of momentum swings and really replicated college football. Stats wise it was the running games that shined as both starting running backs tallied over 100 yards. My QB was able to up some decent yardage after a terrible 1st half. With Bowl Season coming to a close and this my last entry for the BOWL BLITZ INVITATIONAL I was happy to go out as a winner.
With all of the non-BCS Bowl Games now covered on today’s schedule here at STAT BOX STORIES, the next two entries will cover the 2012 Rose Bowl and the 2012 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. Be sure to check out those BCS Bowl Game previews and come back tomorrow for the 2012 Allstate Sugar Bowl!
Guest Author Bio:
Eric Veneziano (PS3 ID: psuexv) is a long time gamer dating back to Double Dribble, NES Playaction Football and Baseball Stars and can actually go back to the Atari 2600 and Homerun and Super Challenge Football (love the unique names). He currently spends his time playing NCAA Football, Tiger Woods and NHL, having stepped away from Madden for awhile. He claims not to say many interesting things, but he is on Twitter at @psuexv.