When it comes to conferences in the college football landscape, the Mid-American Conference or MAC often receives little respect as a result of the size of its member schools and the comparative quality of its football programs compared to the likes of the Big 10, Big XII, Pac-12, and SEC. For today’s NCAA Football 13 entry at STAT BOX STORIES, however, we are embracing the “MACtion” for a rivalry showdown known as the “Battle of the Bricks” between the Miami University Redhawks and the Ohio Bobcats.
It’s safe to say, however, that I had no idea exactly what I was getting into when I booted up this rivalry game in this year’s edition of the college football franchise. The MAC has become known in recent years for having wild shootouts, but I’d never seen anything happen in a video game to approach what can happen in real life. That is not the case anymore, after this game; click the link to read on and find out exactly how the game played out!
As the lower-rated Miami of Ohio side, I got to call the coin toss but was unsuccessful; Ohio elected to kick off to begin the game, and we were underway. The first drive of the game was a very lengthy one for the Redhawks, with the offense taking over four minutes on its way to a 2-yard rushing touchdown and a 7-0 lead.
On Ohio’s first possession, they required far less time—just over a minute—to put their own 7 points on the board with a 19-yard touchdown run. It was an impressive possession, featuring a gutsy call to attempt a 4th-and-4 at midfield to keep Ohio’s drive alive on their way to points. The scoring continued at a frantic pace just over a minute after the Bobcats score, with a 42-yard touchdown pass putting the Redhawks back out in front 14-7.
The second quarter of this game was the single highest-scoring quarter I’ve ever played in the NCAA Football franchise, with the two teams combining for 48 points. It all began with a deep Ohio pass—44 yards—just 36 seconds into the second quarter to tie the game at 14-all. On Miami’s next possession, they threw an interception deep in their own zone and Ohio was able to set up shop and move on to 1st-and-Goal. However, the Bobcats could only manage a short field goal attempt to take a 17-14 lead.
On Miami’s first play after the kickoff, they scored a 75-yard touchdown run to re-take the lead 21-17. Ohio’s gutsy playcalling decisions backfired on their next drive, with a 4th-and-2 attempt at midfield resulting in a pass out of bounds and a turnover on downs. A hot-routed receiver at the line of scrimmage on Miami’s next possession led to a 41-yard touchdown pass and a 28-17 lead for the visiting side.
Ohio’s next drive took longer to reach the end zone than their previous forays, but reach the end zone they did on an 11-yard run with just under two minutes to play in the first half. With the deficit cut to four points, Miami wasted no time throwing the ball downfield and finishing off their drive with a 1-yard touchdown run to re-establish a 35-24 advantage.
With under a minute to play before the half, Ohio drove upfield quickly, assisted by a facemask against Miami after a long catch and run. While their drive stalled in Miami territory, the Bobcats still managed a 36-yard field goal to get back within a possession. Unfortunately for the home side, the ensuing kickoff was returned 100 yards for a touchdown and a 42-27 lead for Miami.
Ohio very nearly managed to put even more points on the board in this wild second quarter, throwing a Hail Mary downfield which was completed; unfortunately for the Bobcats, they were stopped just outside the goal line as time expired, bringing the high-scoring first half to a close.
On the Bobcats opening possession of the second half, the Redhawks forced a fumble and recovered it. Just over a minute into the third quarter, Miami put more points on the board with a 42-yard touchdown pass. This time, however, it was Ohio’s turn to have a quick strike, as they returned the ensuing kickoff 101 yards for a touchdown to narrow the score to 49-33 after the Bobcats two-point conversion attempt was deflected incomplete.
Miami did little to help maintain momentum on their next possession, making a risky decision to go for it on 4th-and-1 at their own 30 and ending up tackled in the backfield. Ohio only managed a 39-yard field goal, but it was still more points off of the turnover. On the next Miami play from scrimmage, their halfback fumbled and Ohio’s DT #89 scooped up the ball and returned it 31 yards for a defensive touchdown to cut the lead to only 6 points.
The Redhawks had the game on the line at this point, and faced a 3rd-and-20 on their next possession with the game threatening to escape their grasp. An 81-yard touchdown pass was the result on that 3rd Down try, allowing Miami to regain separation on the scoreboard. Ohio went three-and-out on their next possession, and Miami responded on the next drive with a 33-yard field goal to put the team’s combined points total over 100 for the game early in the fourth quarter.
Just a few plays later, Ohio put more points on the board via a 78-yard touchdown pass to make the score 59-49 and bring the Bobcats back within 10 points. Another two-point conversion try by Ohio was unsuccessful, and Miami got the ball back; the Redhawks nearly lost a fumble on 3rd Down, however, forcing them to punt back to Ohio. The Bobcats were unable to capitalize, punting away after an inopportune penalty on their own 3rd Down.
Miami ran into turnover issues on their next drive, with a play-action pass picked off and returned into their own end of the field with over three minutes remaining in the game. Ohio wasted little time getting back in the end zone on a 14-yard touchdown pass, bringing the Bobcats within a field goal after being down by 16 points early in the fourth quarter.
Poor play selection and clock management forced Miami to punt on their next possession, but they were fortunate as the kicking team forced the punt returner to fumble the ball; Miami’s special teamers recovered the fumble, enabling them to run out the clock and hold on for a wild 59-56 victory.
The two sides combined for over 1,200 yards of total offense in this crazy game; Miami outgained Ohio 213-134 on the ground—though on 15 more rushing attempts—while Ohio won the battle through the air, 444-428 in yardage totals. Each team had about a 50% success rate on 3rd Down Conversions, and each team found success when entering the red zone more often than not. Miami’s lost fumble and two interceptions meant they lost the turnover battle to Ohio, but Ohio had two lost fumbles of their own in the game. Accounting for special teams yardage as well, Miami outgained Ohio 932-825, for a total combined yardage of 1,757!
The Player of the Game was Redhawks WR #8, who had three catches for 138 yards and two receiving touchdowns in addition to nine kicks returned for 282 yards and a 100 yard touchdown. Miami’s QB #4 had a stellar 270.2 QB Rating, completing 73% of his passes for 428 yards and 4 touchdowns. While Ohio’s QB #4 only completed 56% of his passes, he did also manage to throw for 444 yards and 3 touchdowns, with no turnovers. Miami HB #49 had 22 carries for 198 yards and 3 touchdowns before leaving with an injury, and the Redhawks had significant difficulty gaining yards on the ground after that. Redhawks WR #80 had 7 catches for 204 yards and 2 receiving touchdowns, while Ohio’s WR #17 had 9 receptions for 173 yards and two touchdowns of his own. The Bobcats WR #3 also amassed 139 yards on 3 kickoff returns, including a 101 kickoff return for a touchdown.
All in all, this was truly one of the wildest games I’ve ever played in NCAA Football history. Defense was clearly optional as each team found little difficulty flying up and down the field, scoring almost at will on their way to the gaudy statistics. As fun as it was to see the game spiral out of control, here’s hoping that tomorrow’s entry here at STAT BOX STORIES—a showdown between new Big XII Conference rivals TCU and West Virginia—features a little more defense!