In our entirely fictional NCAA Football 13 twenty team playoff simulation, we have already had several surprises. The quarterfinals simulation was no different and now, we're down to four teams total as we head into the National Semifinals. This is where it gets serious my friends.
Florida State at Notre Dame
EJ Manual was on fire early and often in this game, completing ten of his first ten passes while leading Florida State down the field in the Seminoles first two possessions to take an early 14-0 lead. Notre Dame's offense was anemic in the first half, with two fumbles lost and 45 total yards. Late in the first half, Florida State added a 33 yard field goal to take a 17-0 lead into halftime. However, as they say, football is a game of two halves. Everett Golson scrambled for 37 yards on the first play from scrimmage in the second half. Two plays later, he connected with Tyler Eifert from 16 yards out to cut the lead to 17-7. Notre Dame's defense stiffened and then picked off EJ Manual late in the third quarter. The resulting short field led to another touchdown, this time on a two yard run from Theo Riddick to make the score 17-14. However, the Irish comeback was not to be, as EJ Manual led the Seminoles down the field on a 88 yard touchdown drive to take up most of the fourth quarter to send Florida State back into (digital) national relevance. 24-14 Seminoles
Georgia at Oregon
On paper, this was the most intriguing matchup of the quarterfinals with two powerhouse teams meeting on the field. Georgia came within a sniff in real-life to playing for a National Title, while the Ducks (arguably) were the second best team in the Nation at least in 2012. Well on the digital gridiron, the resulting fireworks were something to behold. Both offenses drove the field for opening scores on long drives -- 7-7 at the end of one. Marcus Mariota then threw an interception deep in Georgia territory. Three plays later Aaron Murray tossed a seven yard touchdown pass to Tavaress King. However, as halftime approached, Oregon scored a late field goal. 14-10 at the half.
Aaron Murray threw a 53 yard pass to Malcolm Mitchell on the opening drive in the second half, but the Georgia drive stalled. 17-10. Oregon then drove the field with little issue, but couldn't punch it in inside of the red zone two drives in a row. 17-16. To open the fourth, Georgia's Todd Gurley ran for 43 yards of a 72 yard drive with the final five being into paydirt to give the Dawgs a 24-16 lead. Oregon responded with a Marcus Mariota 42 yard touchdown run the next drive to cut the lead to one. After Oregon's defense stiffened, forcing Georgia into a three and out, Mariota and the Ducks offense took over with three minutes to go in the game. With seven seconds left, Mariota found De'Anthony Thomas in the end zone from 11 yards out to give the Ducks a berth in the semis. 30-24 Oregon
Boise State at Texas A&M
Johnny Football was alive and well and looking to head to the semifinals -- but in his way were the Boise State Broncos, hero of mid-majors everywhere. After trading touchdowns in the first half, we solved nothing at halftime with both schools tied at 14 apiece. However, Manziel found Ryan Swope midway through the third for a 26 yard touchdown pass to break the tie and give the Aggies a 21-14 lead. A field goal on the next drive by A&M pushed the lead to 24-14. Boise State, however opened the fourth quarter with a long 72 yard touchdown drive spearheaded by running back D.J. Harper. Boise scored on a two yard run by Jay Ajayi to close the lead to 24-21. With five minutes to go, Manziel and the Fighting Texas Aggies took to the field and mixed in several running plays to drive down to the Boise 42 yard line.
It was there though, on a third and 13 with two minutes to go that disaster struck: Manziel was picked off by Boise. Boise's two minute drill was frantic, with several setbacks and no time-outs. On the Aggies 23 yard line, Boise QB Joe Southwick was sacked with twenty seconds remaining. Time ticked down, Boise had one last chance. Southwick received the shotgun snap, stepped right then threw a bullet to a wide open Kirby Moore in the seam as time expired to give Boise a stunning upset -- again. 27-24 Broncos
Stanford at Alabama
There is no stopping Alabama. Digital, real life...there's just no stopping this machine. Eddie Lacy and T.J. Yeldon combined for 180 first half rushing yards as Alabama built a 21-0 lead at halftime. In the second half AJ McCarron and Eddie Lacy spent the third quarter driving the field but stalling out deep in Stanford territory -- but two field goals later and Alabama's lead was up to 27-0 at the end of the third. To Stanford's credit, the defense then stiffened in the fourth quarter and the Cardinal made a valliant attempt at a comeback. The first drive of the fourth quarter was a 66 yard touchdown drive capped off by a Josh Nunes 13 yard touchdown pass to Zach Ertz. Nunes added another 48 yard touchdown pass to Ertz after an Alabama three and out to cut the lead to 27-14. However, Stanford did not manage another first down the final four minutes of the fourth. Alabama wins and advances to play in the semi-finals. 27-14 Tide