Ohio State Football: NCAA '12 Simulation: Week 1 Versus Akron
The college football season is at hand, which means we can finally take a brief step away from speculation and get down to the real stuff.
However, it wouldn't hurt to throw some game-time conjecture into the mix, would it?
This will be the first piece of a virtual simulation series for the Ohio State Buckeyes' season, using EA Sports' NCAA '12 football game (X-Box 360).
The matchup between OSU and the Akron Zips is just days away, so let's take a look at what we can expect.
*Note: According to ESPN, quarterback Joe Bauserman will be the starter in Week 1, but will split reps with true freshman Braxton Miller. Also, running back Jaamal Berry will not play due to a hamstring injury. This simulation reflects these notifications.
The Akron Zips started off their 2011 campaign by electing to receive the opening kickoff. However, their first drive was halted after just one first down—the first play from scrimmage—and resulted in a punt.
Ohio State immediately took action in Luke Fickell's debut as a head coach. Led by quarterback Joe Bauserman, the Buckeyes constructed an eight play, 62-yard march down the field. It was then capped with a short touchdown run by junior tailback Jordan Hall.
They took an early lead and didn't look back.
The Buckeye defense topped its first stint, holding the Zips to a quick three-and-out offensive possession. A 39-yard punt gave OSU the ball at midfield and ended the first quarter.
It was a busy second quarter for the Buckeyes' offense, and Joe Bauserman played as if his life depended on it (or his role on the team, for that matter).
The fifth-year senior got things rolling with a beautiful, 11-yard play-action touchdown pass to Corey Brown to make the score 14-0 in the Buckeyes' favor.
After another short appearance by Akron's offense, Bauserman launched a 52-yard bomb right into the wide-open hands of freshman Devin Smith. This gave Ohio State a 21-0 lead with 8:12 remaining in the quarter.
The Buckeyes' defense made yet another impeccable stand, holding Rob Ianello's offense to a three-and-out—a position the Zips would be quite familiar with by game's end.
Braxton Miller then made some noise, hooking up with wide receiver Chris Fields for a 15-yard gain. This set up another Bauserman touchdown strike to Corey Brown, this time for 33 yards. The extra-point put OSU in front by 28 with less than five minutes left in the half.
The ensuing kickoff put Akron at its own 36-yardline. After a solid four-yard carry by sophomore running back Broderick Alexander, cornerback Travis Howard picked off a pressured Patrick Nicely and took it to the redzone. Miller then continued the bleeding by connecting with senior tight end Jake Stoneburner for a 20-yard score.
When the halftime buzzer went off, a crowd of over 100,000 erupted as the scoreboard read 35-0 with the Buckeyes on top.
The third quarter presented QB Braxton Miller with an opportunity to show up his counterpart.
It's safe to say that he seized the moment.
The 6'2", 210-pound freshman opened up the second half with a 52-yard touchdown pass to Chris Fields, putting OSU in position to downright shellac its Mid-American opponent.
A reoccurring three-and-out performance by the Zips' offense put Bauserman right back on the field, as he linked with Jordan Hall for a 46-yard reception off of a tricky screen play on the first snap. This set up a seven-yard touchdown rush by Miller, putting an exclamation mark on the end of a cloudy offseason.
The final quarter featured Ohio State's second-string offense, defense and special teams. Quarterback Kenny Guiton saw the field, but was limited to just a few handoffs. Sophomore tailback Carlos Hyde received a few carries, resulting in 19 yards on the ground.
But most importantly, the defense looked stellar. It dominated Akron in every aspect, combining for four sacks and one forced turnover.
And it didn't allow a single point.
Akron - 0
Ohio State - 49
If Luke Fickell was attempting to find his starting quarterback by using a two-deep roster in the season opener, it didn't help.
If anything, it made things even harder.
Both QBs played extremely well and showed poise under center, combining for 13 completions off of 16 attempts, 326 yards and five touchdowns through the air.
Jaamal Berry's presence was missed as the running game was insufficient—the Buckeyes compiled 79 yards on the ground off of 21 carries (3.8 ypc). Nonetheless, the passing game made up for this discrepancy.
Akron proved to be what everyone thought it'd be—a warmup game—and Ohio State heads into next week having answered some looming questions.
However, plenty are still left unanswered and will be awaited in the Week 2 matchup versus Toledo.
102 offensive yards
4 yards rushing
98 yards passing
1-8 (12.5 percent) 3rd down conversions
4 first downs
405 offensive yards
79 yards rushing
326 yards passing
4-5 (80 percent) 3rd down conversions
13 first downs
QB Patrick Nicely: 7-12, 98 yds, INT
RB Broderick Alexander: 12 att, 32 yds (2.7 ypc)
WR Miles Greschl: 2 rec, 39 yds
QB Joe Bauserman: 8-10, 219 yds, 3 TD
QB Braxton Miller: 5-6, 107 yds, 2 TD ... 3 att, 33 yds, TD
RB Jordan Hall: 11 att, 25 yds (2.3 ypc) TD ... 1 rec, 46 yds
WR Chris Fields: 4 rec, 104 yds, TD
WR Corey Brown: 4 rec, 63 yds, 2 TD
TE Jake Stoneburner: 1 rec, 20 yds, TD
DT Adam Bellamy: 4 tackles (1 TFL), 2.0 sacks
DT John Simon: 5 tackles (2 TFL), 1.0 sacks