Wisconsin @ Oregon in NCAA Football 13

Back at the beginning of the year here at STAT BOX STORIES, the BOWL BLITZ INVITATIONAL used NCAA Football 12 to stage every game of the Bowl Season, including the 2012 Rose Bowl between the Wisconsin Badgers and the Oregon Ducks.  In that playthrough, I elected to take control of the lower-rated Badgers and ran my way to a 38-20 victory, though the real-life result proved much less successful for the Big Ten Conference Champions.

On this day of the retail launch for NCAA Football 13, a Rose Bowl Rematch is being played.  With each team seeing the departure of key players after last college football season came to a close, the Badgers are now the higher-rated team; as a result, I’ve taken control of the Ducks—in their shiny chrome helmets that they used in the real-life 2012 Rose Bowl game—setting out to see how the game will play out this time around.  Click the link below to find out!

For the first time in these early games of NCAA Football 13, I won the coin toss and was able to decide to kick off to begin the game, securing the vital first possession of the second half.  In stark contrast to the past few games, defense seemed to have shown up to play, as Wisconsin suffered through a quick three-and-out to begin the game.  On my first possession with the Ducks, I was able to drive into Wisconsin territory, but had to settle for a 46-yard field goal to take an early 3-0 lead.

As the Badgers received possession on the kickoff, I was thrilled at the performance of my defense as we again forced Wisconsin to go three-and-out and punt the ball back.  Unfortunately—on my possession which bridged over into the second quarter—my drive stalled and I had to settle for another 46-yard field goal attempt to put the lead at 6-0.

On Wisconsin’s next drive—over 8 minutes into the game—the Badgers finally succeeded in getting a first down!  Unfortunately for them, their drive stalled out at the Oregon 40-yard-line, forcing a punt to give the ball back to the Ducks.  A lengthy drive in response for Oregon led to a 20-yard touchdown pass on a slant route to give the Ducks a 13-0 lead with 2:44 left in the half.

Wisconsin’s opportunity to get points on the board before halftime was squandered on a very quick three-and-out (once again), but Oregon’s chance to extend their lead before the break was squandered as well thanks to a drive-killing sack.  Though Wisconsin ending up turning the ball back over to the Ducks when Oregon’s defense got a sack and used their timeouts to force a punt, the first half ended with no further scoring as the Ducks were unable to get into range even for a field goal attempt.

My valued opening possession in the second half was short-lived, as the Badgers forced a fumble on the drive and followed up the turnover with a 63-yard rush to set Wisconsin up in Oregon territory.  A few plays later, the Badgers dangerous rushing attack found the end zone on a 7-yard touchdown run to get their first points on the board and trim the deficit to 13-7.

Momentum did not stay in Wisconsin’s favor long, however, as the ensuing kickoff return went 105 yards for an Oregon touchdown and a 20-7 lead for the designated home team.

On the Badgers’ next drive, Wisconsin faced 3rd-and-20 in their own territory but managed to complete a deep pass to get back into the Ducks’ side of the field.  On the 1st Down play, however, Wisconsin’s quarterback threw an interception and Oregon regained control of the game.

Oregon crossed midfield at the beginning of the 4th Quarter, but a 4th-and-1 was deemed too risky to attempt and the Ducks punted the ball to Wisconsin; a great run downfield by the punt team downed the ball at the Badgers’ 7-yard-line, giving Wisconsin a difficult task if they hoped to put points on the board.

With 3:03 remaining in the game, Wisconsin faced 4th-and-5 at the Oregon 43-yard-line; the game, for all intents and purposes, was on the line.  The result of the play was a successful pass down field, setting the Badgers up with 1st-and-Goal.  A few plays later, Wisconsin scored on a 4-yard touchdown run, trimming the lead to 6 points and a 20-14 Oregon lead.

Now the pressure was on me to be able to run out the game and preserve the lead; Wisconsin’s defense stepped up significantly, however, and combined with the use of timeouts was able to force an Oregon punt to return possession to them.  On the potential game-winning drive for Wisconsin, the Badgers faced 4th-and-6 at their own 26-yard-line.  The pass attempt sailed high and out of bounds, turning the ball back over to Oregon on downs and allowing them to run out the clock and preserve the 20-14 victory!

Compared to the high-scoring and high yardage affairs of the past few days, the points scored and yards gained were much lower in this Rose Bowl battle.  The Badgers outgained the Ducks in total offense, 285 to 268, including a 151 to 135 advantage on the ground.  The teams were nearly even in passing yards—134 to 133 in favor of Wisconsin—and each team went about 50% on third down conversions.  Each team also committed a turnover—Wisconsin throwing an interception, Oregon losing a fumble—though the Badgers actually had a second turnover through an unsuccessful 4th Down Conversion.  Oregon controlled special teams play, however, ensuring that Wisconsin could not return any kickoffs or punts while the Ducks managed a 105-yard kickoff return for a touchdown which proved to be the game’s winning points.  This special teams advantage gave Oregon a 455-285 total yardage edge, proving key to the Ducks’ overall victory.

Oregon’s HB #6 was awarded Player of the Game honors thanks to 3 kickoff returns for 164 yards, including the game-winning touchdown on the 105-yard kickoff return in the third quarter.  Neither quarterback in the game managed to complete 50% of their passing attempts, and the 134 and 133 yard performances were easily the poorest passing performances seen in NCAA Football 13 at STAT BOX STORIES thus far.  Wisconsin’s HB #28 managed to rush for 143 yards and a touchdown, while Oregon’s HB #24 rushed for 102 yards without a score.  Oregon’s WR #81 was the only receiver to score points in the game, though the Badgers TE #48 led all receivers with 54 yards for the game.

With this close result and the “return of defense” to the game of college football, it looks as though the tide may be turning here at STAT BOX STORIES in our early NCAA Football 13 coverage; just in time for the game to be available in stores today!  If you’re grabbing a copy of the game–or even if you’re not and are just a college football fan–be sure to come back to STAT BOX STORIES for future entries and to see how you can be a part of the BOWL BLITZ INVITATIONAL ’13 in December 2012/January 2013!

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