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NCAA FOOTBALL 2014 PREDICTS THE FUTURE: Eastern Michigan Eagles vs. Western Michigan Broncos

We take it back to a time B.T.F. (Before The Factory) to sim a rivalry game with big implications.

>tfw u realize Rynearson Field’s turf wasn’t always grey
James H. Jimenez | Screenshot: EA Sports

Come one come all to see the spectacle of a video game attempting) to predict the future!

Welcome back for another week of NCAA FOOTBALL 2014 PREDICTS THE FUTURE, where we use updated rosters and depth charts and port them to a PlayStation 3 in the hopes of finding out who will win on any given day!

So far, the CPU has been... pretty bad. Out of four games, the CPU has been right just once (Miami over CMU), so maybe the object of the game is to lose, rather than to win. Heck, even in our bonus episode streamed live on Periscope, WMU fell victim to what I’m now calling the EA Curse.

In terms of the over/under, Ohio and Bowling Green scored 78 points on Saturday, eclipsing our sim by more than double (36.) That puts us at -203 in terms of points. It’s really been fascinating to see how terribly wrong every game goes so far, but we’re here to see if it can get it on the nose once. So let’s get back to it!

Here’s our matchup this week, which saw 100 votes in just over two hours. Well done, readers!

In a rivalry game with big conference implications, Brogan Roback led the way for the Eastern Michigan Eagles (3-4, 1-2 MAC) to claim a vital victory at home against the Western Michigan Broncos (4-4, 2-1 MAC) by a final score of 33-16.

Roback finished with four total touchdowns and 369 total yards on the day as the Eagles amassed 444 yards of total offense against the Broncos, who just couldn’t hold the dam long enough on defense.

It was a squirrely game from the start, as WMU took the first possession all the way down to the EMU 30 before the drive stalled, forcing a Josh Grant missed kick from 40-yards. On the first play of the next possession, Roback fumbled the ball after picking up the first down on the ground and WMU recovered. That recovery turned into points, as Josh Grant kicked a 19-yard field goal to make the score 3-0.

James H. Jimenez | Screenshot: EA Sports
Brogan Roback loses the ball on a fumble on the first play from scrimmage. He would later score four total touchdowns.
ncaa football 2014 predicts the future

Both teams would go on to exchange punts for the rest of the first quarter, with Paulie Fricano missing a 60-yard attempt prior to the end of the quarter. EMU would resume the scoring at the 6:26 mark of the second quarter, running in for a one-yard touchdown to make the score 7-3. WMU would once again march down the field on the arm of Jon Wassink (24-37 for 250 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions) before calling on Grant for a 46-yard field goal to end the half at 7-6 in favor of EMU.

Jon Wassink looks to pass during our NCAA 14 sim.
James H. Jimenez | Screenshot: EA Sports

WMu forced a fumble on the Eagles’ first possession of the second half and once again turned it into points on a 45-yard Josh Grant field goal to take the lead at 9-7 with 3:44 to go in the third quarter. EMU struck back quickly, needing just 48 seconds to find Sergio Bailey II wide open down the right sideline for an 80-yard touchdown reception from Roback. A failed two-point conversion kept the score at 13-9.

EMU would tack on a Paulie Fricano field goal from 33 yards out to further the lead 16-9 as the third quarter expired.

Sergio Bailey II looks the ball into his hands to score an 80-yard touchdown reception.
James H. Jimenez | Screenshot: EA Sports

If points were at a premium in the first three quarters, they were on wholesale in the fourth, as 25 points were scored in the final stanza between both squads.

EMU posted another unanswered score to open the fourth quarter thanks in part to a Kevin McGill 30-yard interception return, with the drive eventually ending with a touchdown pass to Antoine Porter from 35 yards out. On the next possession, WMU finally stopped the bleeding with a touchdown pass to backup tight end Blake Borske with 3:02 left to go in the game.

Kevin McGill pancakes a WMU offensive lineman during an interception return.
James H. Jimenez | Screenshot: EA Sports

Alas, it was EMU who would have the last laugh, as Johnnie Niupalau brought down a 67-yard receiving touchdown to ice the game with 2:07 left to go. Wassink led the Broncos back out onto the field, but threw his second interception to Ross Williams on a deep pass to Keishawn Watson to effectively end the game.

Shaq Vann led all runners in yards with 66, while Jarvion Franklin toted the rock 10 times for 32 yards as WMU favored the pass. EMU’s Niupalau led all receivers with 134 yards and a score, while WMU’s Donnie Ernsberger led with 12 receptions, totalling 84 yards. Watson and bailey were their respective teams’ second leading receivers.

Davonte Ginwright led all tacklers with eight tackles (all solo) and an interception on the day for the Broncos, while Robert Spillane (seven tackles, three tackles for loss, two sacks) also had a banner day for WMU. The Broncos put pressure on Roback early and often, collecting six total sacks on the day (Antonio Balbani, Ralph Holley Jr., Andre Turner combined for four sacks.)

EMU’s defensive leaders were Ike Spearman (seven tackles) and Oddie Granger (four tackles and three sacks.)

Jarvion Franklin runs the ball against the EMU defense to pick up a first down in our NCAA 14 sim.
James H. Jimenez | Screenshot: EA Sports

The story of the day ultimately proved to be third-down conversions and redzone opportunities, as the Broncos went a woeful 4-of-14 and 2-of-3, respectively in both catagories. Like in real life, WMU struggled to finish on drives deep in enemy territory.

EMU, meanwhile, was able to convert on both their redzone visits and finished a more respectable 6-of-13 on third down. They were also able to capitalize on turnovers, scoring 10 points off two turnovers, while the Broncos only mustered six points on three turnovers.

We’ll see if the EA Curse lives on this week, as the Eagles look to win with a combined point total of 49.