Bumped. GO BRUINS. - N
This will be the first in a series of posts that will follow how I play through our upcoming season schedule in NCAA Football 10's Dynasty Mode, where one can recruit and play through numerous seasons and years in an effort to build a "dynasty", or at least a recognized program, at your selected school. I'll provide a recap of the game, what to expect from the video game version of our opponent (which may or may not serve as useful scouting tool), and a breakdown of a key play or two with pictures and video. The AI difficulty is set at a higher level than the game's default, which is more representative of real-life play.
On paper and in the game, San Diego State would seem like a guaranteed win on the schedule, which was a thought held in the back of my mind as I approached this game. SDSU's ratings were worse with C's and our B-'s gave us the supposed ratings advantage headed into the game. Find out what happened after the flip.
The first half was surpising, in terms of both teams putting up the offensive numbers and exchanging TDs. SDSU's star running back was able to consistently gain yardage, despite the different blitz schemes I put up. The same could be said for their passing game, whether running a Cover 2 with man coverage underneath or blanketing everything in a Cover 3. On our side of the ball, it was actually pretty easy to run up against what seemed to be their base defensive set of a 3-3-5 (three downed linemen, three linebackers, 5 DBs). SDSU took a 7-0 lead on their first drive, which I answered with a long, but efficient drive of my own, capped off by this touchdown pass from Prince to Embree.
We are in a basic I-Formation, while SDSU seems to be lined up in a 3-4 or 3-3-5. Embree (on the left) will run a post while Austin and Moya (lined up on the right) will run ins on different levels (Moya runs up five yards and then makes the cut, while Austin runs up for ten). Jonathan Franklin, who I moved to the top of the depth chart at RB, will be the checkdown, running a simple route to the right flat.
Most of the time, it's easy to recognize if the defense drops into man or zone coverage, and it helps if you're familiar with the sport or just played the game a lot (in my case, both!). Anyways, SDSU has dropped into zone, with Cover 3 protection up top: the two corners drop back into zone as well as the FS, while the SS and two LBs drop into the lower level of zone coverage. SDSU has called a zone blitz in this particular case, as it frees up the remaining LB coming in from our right. I usually start my reads from left to right but in this case, the blitzing LB makes the decision process speed up. One choice is to dump it off to Franklin in the flat and that would be a moderate gain. Moya has a step on the LB he's matched up while Austin is caught in the thick of things. However, the post route that Embree is running is ideal for Cover 2 or Cover 3, especially with Austin and Moya running routes that take up the attention of those in the first level of coverage. Also note how the FS plays the middle of the end zone, leaving Embree room when he continues his route and only a single man on him. All that's left to do is pass the ball to him as he makes the break on the post route...
...and the play ends in a TD. Again, here's video of the play. (Note that visiting fans are actually located where they are in real games.)
The pace continued with a minute and a half left in the second quarter after tying the game up at 14-14. SDSU started their drive after the kickoff but their QB threw a pick-six, giving us the advantage into halftime. I jumped out to a 35-21 lead by the end of the third when turnovers struck in the fourth. A deflected ball at the line of scrimmage was intercepted by an SDSU lineman for a TD, and then with two minutes left, an underthrown pass from Prince to Austin ended up being returned for a TD, 35-35. Fortunately, I'm used to crunch time drives but I still had to deal with Prince's abilities as a QB, which are okay for now but will continue to develop as I play through the season. To sum it up, we were able to drive down to the SDSU 20 yard line, eating up the clock untl :03 showed, and Forbath drove in the game-winning FG, 38-35. Prince was 17-for-23 with 227 passing yards, 3 TDs, and 2 INTs. An exciting way to start off the season, but the lackluster play of the defense and the somewhat boneheaded mistakes late in the game will have to be cleaned up when I take our Bruins into Neyland Stadium, one of the Top 25 Toughest Places to Play in the game.
NOTE: Randall Carroll suffered a broken collarbone on his second play in the game in the first quarter...leading him to be out for the whole season. Stuff like that makes me wish the game allowed medical redshirts, but hey, you can't have everything. Oddly enough, he's like the fifth or sixth fastest person in terms of ratings...EA, you made a mistake, methinks.