Playing Michigan's (Fictional) Season: Week Eight

Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE

NCAA Football '14 released on July 9th, and I've decided to test my fortunes with playing through the 2013 season with our beloved Wolverines. Now, it has been a few years since I played an NCAA game, and I got the urge to take a pretty good Michigan team, and combine it with my above-average video game skills and see what happens. Game-by-game diaries with highlights and hilarity commence.

Initially, I assumed the evil NCAA '14 computer was going to find a way to humiliate me in the house of our in-state rival, sending my perfect season down in flames.

But then I started playing the game.

Michigan is very, very good in this game, even in my hands. Before Michigan State could even settle in, I ate up most of the first quarter gaining yards with reckless abandon. Two easy touchdowns later, it's a 14-0 ballgame and MSU has failed to get so much as a first down. Their freshman quarterback gave me fits in the beginning, scrambling around and making heroic throws to open receivers, and by the time the first quarter ended, they had closed the gap.

Michigan leads, 14-10.

Possessions traded back and forth, to and fro, and I got the ball back to test out my two-minute offense before half time. I mixed in tricky running plays with throws to Fake Devin Funchess, and got into the end zone once more with 52 seconds remaining, to take a 28-10 lead. And this was despite doinking a 49-yard field goal off the crossbar with under five minutes left, so I figured luck was on my side.

Football is often a tale of two halves, as they say, and Michigan State decided to wake up and be competitive, forcing some turnovers by way of causing Fake Drew Dileo to fumble a punt return, and getting an interception off a comically-bad Fake Devin Gardner pass I tried.

I squeezed in yet another touchdown, however, after getting an epic interception by Fake Raymon Taylor deep down the left sideline, after a bizarre sequence of three interception trade between the two teams in the third quarter. MSU closed the gap further with two field goals forced by my excellent red zone defensive play-calling. They did manage to get a touchdown out of their scrappy quarterback as well, trimming my lead to 35-23 in the dwindling minutes of the third quarter. I apparently didn't want to win by too big a margin, either, because on the very next play I threw an awful bubble screen pass that went to a guy wearing the wrong color jersey (that's what I get for clinging to one of my favorite play types of the RicRod era). The Spartans used up the rest of the third quarter and dove into the end zone with three ticks left to make it 35-30.

Fake Brady Hoke had had enough.

I managed to get the ball moving down the field again, and quickly, but kept failing to make the right pass play selection to get a touchdown. However, for once, the game's kicking mechanic didn't betray me at a critical time, and I got a 37 and 41-yard field goal on consecutive drives after some shutdown defense to get some separation.

Michigan holds the lead, 41-30 heading to the fourth quarter.

Then Fake (and magically healed!) Jake Ryan made the play of the game. Michigan State was still picking apart my tight zone defense, and got into the end zone halfway through the quarter to make it 41-36. Fake Mark Dantonio used those coaching smarts to decide to try a two-point conversion to give his team a chance to tie the game. The attempted pass zipped into the hands of a white #47 jersey, and I chugged him along for 101 yards the opposite direction to steal away Sparty's two points. 43-36 with under five minutes to go.

I played deep zone coverage to avoid an embarrassing pass play, and kept the Spartan quarterback on his rear end more often than not, and I was able to get the ball back to eat up the rest of the game clock. Surprisingly, I kept gaining chunks of yards no matter what I was calling, and my receivers continued to be way, way open, and with 40 seconds to go in the game, I threw another TD to see if I could blow the gaskets inside Fake Mark Dantonio's head. I even tried a two-point conversion (and failed), but no dice.

MSU's final drive was a poor execution in clock and yardage management, and the time ran out as they were trying to get to the line for a spike. Michigan escaped East Lansing, and now looks forward to the epic arm punting of Fake Taylor Martinez next week.

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