One of the more rewarding things about starting up STAT BOX STORIES and the BOWL BLITZ INVITATIONAL has been the incredible response from guest contributors who had no true motivation–outside of playing the games and donating time to the cause–to participate. Eric Veneziano has taken this dedication to a whole new level, not only contributing the most guest entries of any outside contributor, but also setting up an Online Dynasty running through the 2011-2012 college football season to see if he could find a way to set up the Alabama Crimson Tide and LSU Tigers in the BCS National Championship game; even though the SEC rivals would find it extra difficult to end up in the title game. Believe it or not, they did. Here’s the first part of how that ended up being so, chronicling the season of LSU:
LSU started off the season at #4 and high hopes of a National Championship. With maybe one of the toughest schedules in college football history, if the Tigers could take care of business they should be able to land in the title game.
The season started off with a tough test in the first week as the Tigers took on Oregon in a match-up of #4 vs #5. The Tigers took care of the Ducks in what would be a preview of the season to come as the defense dominated only giving up 42 yards on the ground and 97 through the air on their way to a 34-7 victory (the lone Oregon score coming on a fumble return).
As the season progressed you could feel the Tigers playing as they did throughout their real season. The defense was not only dominating in holding opponents in check but also took control of games and scored points to help out, the at times struggling offense. Against Mississippi State in Week 3, trailing 10-3 late into the 3rd quarter the defense caused a fumble and returned it for a touchdown and with the game tied caused another fumble to set up the offense in good field position for the game winning score.
The Week 3 comeback against MSU seemed to be the start of a pattern. As the Tigers traveled for another early season test to Top 25 West Virginia the team had to rally in another 4th quarter comeback. This time it was the offense doing the work as they put together a late 4th quarter drive that pounded the running game and kicked a game winning field goal as time expired.
Week 4 seemed to be deja vu as the Tigers had to put together another late 4th quarter drive and kicked another 25 yard game winning field goal as time expired to beat Kentucky. The defense/special teams had to get the game rolling again as late in the 1st and trailing 14-0 they returned a kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown and jumped started the offense.
After Week 4 LSU seemed to settle into its own as they beat Florida, Tennessee and Auburn in consecutive weeks by a combined score of 94-23 and setting up a #1 vs #2 showdown against Alabama as previous #1’s Oklahoma and Michigan State lost earlier in the year.
The showdown looked good on paper but ended in a 20-0 LSU victory as both defenses stepped up and shut down the opposing offenses. LSU was able to do a little more with its chances getting two field goals and a touchdown before an interception return for a TD as Alabama was making one last effort.
With 3 games remaining and a path laid out into the title game the Tigers had one last test and it wasn’t #7 Arkansas, who they beat 27-17, it was Ole Miss.
The depth chart was tested as Week 12’s match-up had LSUs starting QB and HB go down in the 1st quarter. Looking to their 2nd string at crucial positions and having the defense lapse in the 4th quarter they were looking at their 1st loss with under a minute to go in the game. Led by their back up QB who stood in the face of pressure and delivered a perfectly thrown ball to tie the game with 5 seconds left and lead them to victory in OT the Tigers hopes at a National Title were still in tact.
After a victory in the SEC title game against South Carolina the LSU Tigers sat at #1 and the only undefeated team in college football.
The defense was definitely the story of the season. Holding many high profile offenses in check and coming up with key stops late in games and finding the crucial moments to get turnovers leading to touchdowns. One of the more impressive stats is that given that they were in a number of close games, the defense shut out 8 of its opponents in the 4th quarter and only gave up 28 4th quarter points all year. They also ranked in the top 5 in a number of categories and most times were #2 right behind Alabama.
The offense on the other hand wasn’t a complete wash, HB #42 did have 1333 yards and 14 TDs and was in the running for the Heisman. He did sustain a season ending injury in the final game of the year. WR #2 caught 34 balls for 555 yards and 5 TDs.
The Tigers finished with 5 1st Team All Americans, 2 2nd Team All Americans and 1 Freshman All American. Also HB #42 finished 2nd in the voting for the Doak Walker award and LE #94 finished 2nd in the voting for the Lombardi.
And that’s how the LSU Tigers found their way to the 2012 BCS National Championship game; find out how it all ends tomorrow here at STAT BOX STORIES when the BOWL BLITZ INVITATIONAL comes to a close with the final game of the college football season!
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.