It’s finally bowl season, that wonderful three weeks where there is nothing but exhibition games in stadiums all across the country (and even overseas in one case) played by teams with winning records for future glory and a trophy in the showcase.
Thus far, things have not gone well in the “regular” season for our intrepid virtual avatars, as we went 3-8 in 11 games, winning two of the last three to help make the record look a little bit better. We’re hoping to fix that here in the upcoming weeks, as we’ll preview every single bowl game!
In case you’re new to this bonanza, we take updated rosters from Operation Sports, update the depth charts by hand and run a complete computer simulation with expected weather conditions to try and predict the future.
Our first matchup features the MAC runner-up Akron Zips (who make their third-straight appearance on NCAAPTF!) against the mighty Florida Atlantic Owls, who steamrolled their way to a Conference USA Championship.
The game happens to be played in Boca Raton at the home stadium of the Owls, which made for an interesting situation. NCAA Football 2014, made in 2013, is so old, it doesn’t recognize the Boca Raton Bowl. So we had to make it a “regular” home game for the Owls in order for the computer not to glitch out. Fun!
Here’s the results below:
Florida Atlantic concluded a dream season at home under new head coach Lane Kiffin with a dominating 51-27 victory over the Akron Zips.
It was the second postseason game at home for the Owls, who had previously disposed of the North Texas Mean Green in the Conference USA title game. The Owls went on a 35-0 run in the first half to put the game out of hand early thanks in part to the dominance of Devin Singletary, who rushed for 112 yards and four touchdowns.
All 35 points were scored on the ground, with Singletary (three times), Jason Driskell and Greg Howell Jr. (once) all appearing in the scoring summary. The socring run was broken in the third quarter thanks to two Nick Gasser field goals from 44 and 28 yards out respectively, and a Ulysees Guilbert III interception return touchdown to bring the score to 35-13 before FAU iced the game with another Singletary rushing touchdown.
It wasn’t a totally clean victory for the Owls.
Driskell threw three interceptions on the day, including the Gilbert pick-six and finsihed with only one touchdown on 23-of-29 passing for 220 yards. The Owls offensive line also allowed four sacks and ten tackles for loss on the day.
Driskell also finished the game as the leading rusher, collecting 118 yards on 23 carries.
Singletary added seven receptions for 58 yards to lead the FAU receivers as a backfield option, with Will Wrght (five receptions, 70 yards) and De’Andre McNeal (three receptions, 22 yards and a touchdown) also contributing.
The Owls defense swarmed the Zips all game, with six sacks collected on Akron quarterbacks and three turnovers forced, including two interceptions (both by Hunter Barnwell) and a recovered fumble on a third-down conversion.
Jalen Young, who led in tackles with six (all solo) and registered a tackle for loss, and Chase Hooper (four tackles, two tackles-for-loss and two sacks) paced the Owls.
Greg Joseph hit all three of his field goal attempts, including one from 50 yards out.
For Akron, it was a struggle to get going on either side of the ball.
Kato Nelson struggled in his homecoming, going 18-of-35 passing for 205 yards, one touchdown, two interceptions and 36 rushing yards (which led the team by nearly double.)
Thomas Woodson also saw some time at QB, going 6-of-6 for 58 yards.
Tra’Von Chapman led all receivers with 97 yards on five receptions, while Manny Morgan (three receptions, 30 yards) caught the Zips’ lone passing touchdown on the day. Van Edwards Jr. led Akron with seven receptions, gaining 34 yards.
On defense, Ulysees Gilbert earned player of the game accolades, leading all players with 12 tackles (11 solo), one QB pressure, three tackles for loss and the 23-yard INT return touchdown. Shawn Featherstone (nine tackles, one interception) and Jordan George (five tackles, one QB pressure and one interception) were also standouts.
Brock Boxen dominated the line of scrimmage, picking up four tackles, four tackles for loss, and three sacks.
Nick Gasser hit both of his field goal attempts and handled punting duty as well.