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NCAA FOOTBALL 2014 PREDICTS THE FUTURE: Toledo Rockets vs. Northern Illinois Huskies

It was rainy. It was cold. It was really, really weird.

Screenshot: EA Sports

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!

Once again, the EA Curse came to play, as Eastern Michigan fell victim to yet another one-possession loss against rival Western Michigan by a final score of 20-17 in overtime.

This puts the CPU at a crispy 1-5 on the season. In terms of the over/under, the sim predicted 12 more points than what was actually scored, once again plummeting our O/U counter to -215.

Week 9 was a short week, so we decided to restart and make all teams eligible after Week 10. So who will get to play in our rivalry week simulation to kick off weeknight #MACtion? You chose wisely, in my opinion.

It was a defensive clash of titans at the Glass Bowl, but it was ultimately the NIU Huskies who won the day on the road over the hosting Toledo Rockets by a final score of 16-7.

NIU’s wunderkind QB Marcus Childers was the player of the game, completing 20-of-32 passes for 196 yards and rushing for 68 yards on 17 carries. The Huskies relied on a balanced attack and a staunch defense to bleed the clock out and end any hope of Toledo achieving New Year’s Six status.

The game went off to a quick start, as Toledo needed just 43 seconds to march 75 yards down the field for a two-yard Logan Woodside-to-Reggie Gilliam touchdown pass to go ahead 7-0. Woodside contributed 51 yards rushing on two long dashes of 36 and 15 yards, respecively. The Huskies replied back in kind, needing just over two minutes to score a 2-yard touchdown of their own, courtesy of a Marcus Jones two-yard dive up the middle.

Reggie Gilliam (14) catches a touchdown pass in the first quarter of out NCAA Football sim.
James H. Jimenez | Screenshot: EA Sports

After exchanging punts, NIU eventually took the lead back on a 37-yard field goal from Christian Hagan. Toledo was unable to score before the end of the quarter, missing on a 52-yard Jameson Vest field goal. The quarter would end at 10-7 in favor of NIU.

The second quarter didn’t go much better for Toledo, as they suffered two drive-ending sacks and missed yet another 50-yard field goal in an effort to tie the game. NIU took full advantage, scoring two field goals from 30 and 23 yards, taking the game to what would be the eventual final score of 16-7 at the half.

Marcus Jones (21) runs up the middle for a 21-yard gain in our NCAA Football sim.
James H. Jimenez | Screenshot: EA Sports

The Rockets would try and mount a comeback in the fourth quarter, but were unable to get past a brutal Huskies defense, throwing an interception on the last drive to Jalen Embry inside the redzone.

To watch the game was almost like living in an episode of the Twilight Zone, as the halftime stats proved to show a side of the two schools that (probably) wouldn’t happen in real life. NIU had double the passing yards to rushing yards at the half, while Toeldo produced only 71 yards passing to 117 rushing yards. If you don’t believe us, we got the screenshot.

Screenshot: EA Sports

Woodside and the Rockets struggled all day, especially in the redzone, going only 1-of-2 in their visits, with another missed field goal from Jameson Vest accounting for the failed attempt. Third-down also proved to be fatal for the homestanding Rockets, as they converted on 5-of-12 attempts.

NIU, meanwhile, converted on all four redzone visits (one touchdown, three field goals) and converted 10-of-19 third-down attempts.

Woodside would finish the day 28-of-43 passing for 215 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions on a rainy night in Toledo, while rushing for 62 yards on six carries.

Toledo’s Terry Swanson was the game’s leading rusher in yards, with 64 yards on 13 carries, while Jordan Huff (49 yards in 18 carries) lead in carries. Marcus Jones contributed NIU’s lone touchdown and added on 48 yards on 9 carries. Woodside was Toledo’s second-leading rusher.

Logan Woodside (11) rushes for 36 yards on the second play of the game in our NCAA football sim.
James H. Jimenez | Screenshot: EA Sports

Toledo’s Desmond Phillips led all players in receiving yards, but it was all on one reception for 51 yards late in the fourth quarter. NIU’s Christian Blake was the second-leading receiver by yards with 49 receiving yards on three receptions, while Danzel McKinely-Lewis (46 yards), Jordan Fisher (24 yards) and D.J. Brown (43 yards) all tied for the receptions lead with five.

On defense, it was a field day for both sides.

Toledo linebacker Tyler Taafe lead all tacklers with 12 tackles (11 solo) and three tackles for loss. He was followed closely by teammates Zach Quinn (9 tackles, all solo, three tackles for loss) and Jordan Williams (9 tackles, all solo, two tackles for loss and a sack.) Olasunkanmi Adeniyi collected two sacks to go along with four unassisted tackles and two tackles for loss.

Marcus Childers (middle) gets sacked by the Toledo Rockets defense in our NCAA Football sim.
James H. Jimenez | Screenshot: EA Sports

Shawun Lurry paced the Huskies with nine tackles (eight solo) and a quarterback hurry. Kyle Pugh (eight tackles, all solo) and Ben LeRoy (four tackles, all solo, two tackles for loss and one sack) were also major contributors.

It was a nightmare for specialists, as Jameson Vest missed all three field goal attempts, including one from inside 30 yards. Christian Hagan was better, but still missed on one of his four attempts. Michael Julian, the backup quarterback who has recently been punting for the Rockets, saw the field three times, averaging 32.2 yards per punt.