Howdy. As you surely aware, Bill and I recently did sponsored posts about NCAA 14 (Here and here). Well, talking about the player ratings, how they compared to real life, and all that good stuff gave me an idea; to simulate a full season for Penn State in NCAA 14, with the default game rosters, and see how we do. If I had to wager a guess, I'd say the game will not be too kind to us, considering its disappointing ranking of our players, but you never know. This is going to be a 2 part post, the first containing the roster breakdown and the non-conference slate, and the second containing the B1G schedule and whatever follows (No sanctions!). So let's get to it.
QB: Christian Hackenberg (79 Overall), Tyler Ferguson (75)
FB: Akeel Lynch (40. Heh)
TE: Kyle Carter (80), Adam Breneman (78), Jesse James (74)
LT: Donovan Smith (84)
LG: Miles Dieffenbach (84)
C: Angelo Mangiro (79)
RG: John Urschel (84)
RT: Adam Gress (83)
LE: CJ Olaniyan (82), Anthony Zettel (77)
RE: Deion Barnes (80), Garret Sickels (75)
DT: Daquan Jones (83), Kyle Baublitz (80), Austin Johnson (77)
SS: Steven Obeng-Agyapong (82), Jesse Della Valle (75)
K: Sam Ficken (81)
P: Alex Butterworth (81)
Week One: 28-26 Win vs. Syracuse (1-0)
The game started out all Syracuse, with a quick 14 point outburst in the 1st quarter. O'Brien's boys evened it up with a 14-0 2nd quarter though, thanks to 2 Zach Zwinak touchdown runs. The 3rd quarter featured a 1 yard TD run from Akeel Lynch, and a 43 yard field goal from the Orange. In the 4th, Hack was able to connect with Kyle Carter for a 36 yard touchdown catch, to put the Lions up 11. 'Cuse hit a field goal to close the gap, and then scored a touchdown with 2:09 remaining. The Lions were able to keep the 2 point conversion out of the end zone though, sealing the victory.
Hackenberg's PSU debut went well, as he threw for 255 yards with a touchdown and an interception, as well as 49 rushing yards. Zwinak ran for 82 yards, and Robinson had 6 catches for 92 yards. Nyeem Wartman had 1.5 sacks, Ben Kline came up with an INT, SOA forced a fumble, and Deion Barnes had a sack and FF of his own.
When asked after the game about what it felt like, Hackenberg was quoted as saying, "Hey everybody, we're all gonna get laid!"
Week Two: 35-28 Win vs. Eastern Michigan (2-0)
Penn State again lost the first quarter, managing only a Sam Ficken field goal to an EMU touchdown. Both teams put up 14 in the 2nd quarter. Hackenberg connected with both Moseby-Felder and Zwinak for 8 yard TD grabs. PSU evened up the score in the 3rd, thanks to a 10 yard Zwinak touchdown run, and a 33 yard field goal from Ficken. With the score tied at 28 in the 4th quarter, the Hackeberg-Carter connection again proved to be the finishing blow, although this time with a little more pizzaz. With 1:09 remaining in the game, Hack found Carter for a 40 yard bomb, to give the Lions a lead that they would hold on to.
Hackenberg broke out in this one, throwing for 3 touchdowns to one interception, on 277 yards, with 56 rushing yards mixed in. Zwinak bowled over the Eagles' defense, running for 133 yards on 19 carries, adding in a touchdown. Allen Robinson had 124 yards on 5 catches, but has yet to catch a touchdown. Glenn Carson led the way in tackles, racking up 8. Barnes, Jones, Kline, and Zettel all registered a sack on the day.
We caught up with Zwinak afterwards, all he had to say was, "A flute without holes, is not a flute. A donut without a hole, is a Danish."
Week Three: 45-21 Loss vs. #20 UCF (2-1)
UCF ended the season ranked #20, which makes this loss a little more understandable. But one has to wonder what went wrong with PSU on this day. In what is becoming a continuing theme in this simulated PSU season, UCF jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the 1st Quarter. They put up another touchdown paired with a 42 yard field foal in the 2nd, while Hackenberg hit Kyle Carter for a 28 yard touchdown to get Penn State on the board. It seems the staff threw the towel in early, replacing Hackenberg with Ferguson for the second half. Ferguson came out firing, connecting with Allen Robinson for a 9 yard touchdown to pull the Lions within 10. However, UCF answered back with a touchdown of their own at the end of the quarter. In the 4th, UCF found the endzone twice more, and Fergie hit Lehman for a 26 yard TD to finish off the scoring.
Ferguson finished with 2 touchdowns and 55 yards through the air. Before Hack left the game, he was working on 42 yards throwing, a touchdown and a pick, and 39 rushing yards. Zwinak was ineffective, rushing for only 16 yards on 5 carries, while Belton broke out with 55 yards on 8 carries. Robinson had 3 catches for 23 yards and his touchdown. Barnes led the team with 9 tackles, including 2 for a loss with half a sack. Mike Hull came to play, racking up 8 tackles total, 5 of them for a loss, on 2.5 sacks. Ben Kline forced a fumble as well.
We were able to find Mike Hull as he was leaving the stadium, and when we asked him about how he's enjoying his time at Penn State, he replied with, "You don't have to go to college. This isn't Russia. Is this Russia?"
Week Four: 42-14 Win vs. Kent State (3-1)
In their final game of the non-conference schedule, the Nittany Lions put on a show for the hometown crowd. Belton started things off with a touchdown run in the 1st quarter. Hack connected with Carter for a 27 yard touchdown, and Moseby-Felder for a 28 yard TD, with a touchdown for the Golden Flashes sandwiched in between. In the 3rd, Hack hooked up with his buddy Adam Breneman for a 33 yard TD, Adam's first of the year. Kent State started the 4th with a touchdown to draw within two scores, but Penn State slammed the door shut with a 2 yard TD runs from Hackenberg and Belton.
Hackenberg threw for 259 yards with 3 touchdowns and a pick, as well as rushing for 63 and a touchdown. Zwinak and Belton combined for some quality thunder and lightning. ZZ picked up 122 yards on 21 carries, while Belton ran for 48 yards on 11 carries. Robinson caught 5 balls for 47 yards, while Moseby-Felder, Carter, and Breneman all caught touchdowns. Olaniyan racked up 4 TFL's and 1.5 sacks on the day. Garret Sickels got his first D1 sack, while Daquan Jones picked up half a sack as well. Amos and Kline both grabbed interceptions on the day.
We sent Bill to talk to Sickels about what is hopefully the first of many sacks in a PSU uniform. Bill followed him and his parents back to their home in New Jersey. Once he arrived there, Bill was exhausted, so he asked, "This place got a pool?" Garret replied, "Pool and a pond...pond would be good for you."
So there it is. The Lions finish up their non-conference schedule at a solid 3-1. The B1G schedule is daunting though, with two teams that will end the season ranked in the top 5. Come back next time to find out if O'Brien's Lions can Billieve their way to a B1G Championship.
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