Bulldog fans here is your latest edition of the EA Sports NCAA '12 Simulation. This week's opponent is Auburn and although MSU is favored by a touchdown, nothing should be taken for granted. Auburn is always a dangerous team for MSU and when you take into account that this year's game is at Jordan-Hare Stadium, nothing is a given in this game!
So how did the Bulldogs fare this week in the simulation against the resilient Auburn Tigers? Obviously you'll find out what happened after the jump, but trust me when I say that the game turned out to be an all out war that wasn't decided until the final second!
Did the Bulldogs live up to the hype, or did the Tigers hand out another heart-breaker? Find out after the jump!
Mississippi State calls tails on the toss and tails it is! State decides that they want the ball first to start the game.
After a 20 yard return, Chris Relf trots onto the field and his first throw of the game is a freaking interception! Everything happened so fast I didn't even catch who made the interception but whoever it was they took it to the house and just like that Auburn is up 7-0.
LaDarius Perkins returns the ball off the following kickoff and gets a modest 27 yard return. Chris Relf, apparently unshaken by the pick, immediately throws another pass to Chris Smith for an easy first down. Vick Ballard gains another seven yards on an option play but Perkins loses one of them on the very next play. Chris Relf decides to tuck it and run on third down...he's successful and picks up another first down. Relf connects with passes to Brandon Heavens and Michael Carr for another first down. After a short run and pass, the Bulldogs find themselves in a third and seven situation. Relf drops back to pass and finds Chad Bumphis wide open for a sure first down...the only problem is that Bumphis drops the ball. Derek DePasquale makes an easy field goal and puts the Bulldogs on the scoreboard. The score is now 7-3, Auburn.
Quindarius Carr returns the kick for Auburn and is brought down on the 34 yard line. Now it's Barrett Trotter's turn to throw the ball around and his first pass produces a short gain. Michael Dyer runs for the first down. Barrett Trotter drops back to pass on the next play and finds his man waaayyyy down the field. The pass is complete and just like that the Auburn Tigers find themselves in the red zone. Trotter is sacked on the next play and another one yard run by Dyer puts the Tigers in a third and twelve situation. Trotter makes a pass to the end zone but the receiver can't come down with it. Auburn settles for a field goal and the score is now 10-3.
Chad Bumphis returns the kick for twenty-three yards. A hand off to Ballard is stopped before it even gets started, but Ballard makes up for it on the next play with a gain of eight. Relf runs for a first down on the next play as the first quarter expires.
Vick Ballard again attempts a run that results in no gain. Relf drops back to pass on the next play and looks for what seems like an eternity down field. Unable to find an open receiver, Relf decides to tuck it and run again...it pays off with another first down and the Bulldogs find themselves at midfield. Once again Ballard tries to run and once again he is brought down for a loss. Chris Relf hopes for some more magic on his legs but even he is brought down for a loss this time. MSU is now in a third and fourteen situation. The next play sees Relf go to the air again and he completes the pass...unfortunately the gain was for only four yards. Baker Swedenberg steps on to the field for the first time today and makes an incredible punt that bounces out of bounds at the Auburn 2 yard line.
Michael Dyer runs for a short gain on the first play...he's handed the ball again and gets a HUGE gain. Dyer is finally brought down deep into MSU territory and the Tigers are in field goal range. Barrett Trotter decides to pass on the next play and it almost ends in disaster as a sure pick is dropped by the MSU defender. Trotter tries a couple of more passes but is unable to connect and the Tigers settle for the easy field goal by kicker Cody Parkey. Auburns lead increases to 16-3.
Another decent return is made by Perkins. Chris Relf makes two good passes and both are dropped by Brandon Heavens and Chris Smith. The Bulldogs are now in a third and ten situation. Relf throws a bullet down the field and manages to connect with Michael Carr for the completion. Carr is pushed out at the Auburn 42 yard line. Relf completes another 12 yard pass to Brandon Heavens and suddenly the Bulldogs are in field goal range. The clock is now becoming a factor and MSU increases their tempo significantly. Relf runs for a short gain and then throws a short pass. MSU is forced to take a timeout. Relf completes another pass but it too is short of a first down. Derek DePasquale trots onto the field once again and prepares for an easy field goal...but its a fake! Tyler Russell pulls the ball away and completes a nice pass to Chad Bumphis for a first down! Less than 30 seconds are left on the clock...Relf comes back into the game and finds a man open in the end zone...the pass is batted down. On second down Relf decides to run it himself...unfortunately he is brought down on the 2 yard line. MSU calls a time out with only two seconds left on the clock. Dan Mullen wisely decides one fake field goal is enough...DePasquale is successful on the short field goal. Half time arrives and the score is now 16-6.
Mississippi State received the ball first at the start of the game so they kick off to start the second half. Barrett Trotter comes onto the field just past the twenty-five yard line and immediately throws a bomb down the field for a HUGE gain. Quindarius Carr makes the reception and Tigers are already in the red zone. Another short pass results in another first down. Michael Dyer gets a turn next and runs in for an easy touchdown. The 3 play, 73 yard drive now has Auburn ahead 23-6. Perkins returns another kick for 34 yards. The offense decides to place their faith in Vick Ballard. Chris Relf hands it off to Ballard three times in a row, but MSU comes up one yard short of the first down. Baker Swedenberg is forced to punt the ball away...it's returned by Quindarius Carr for eleven yards.
Onterio McCalebb gets a turn running the ball for Auburn and he immediately produces a 3 yard loss. Barrett Trotter bails him out though and completes an eleven yard pass putting the Bulldogs into a manageable third and two situation. Dyer runs for a first down, then runs again on the second play...a lot of missed tackles by MSU is allowing huge gains for Michael Dyer. After a couple of sacks on Trotter, the drive finally stalls out for the Tigers and they punt the ball for a touchback.
Chris Relf immediately runs for a six yard gain...but he follows up with an incomplete pass to Ballard. Apparently undeterred, he throws again to Ballard and this time connects for a first down. Relf goes to the air again but is hit as he throws...the pass is incomplete. Relf runs on the next play for seven yards...MSU finds themselves in a third and three situation. Relf decides to try his luck with the pass again and ends up throwing pretty much his worst pass of the day...there were no receivers anywhere even in the same zip code of where his pass landed. MSU punts again.
Auburn makes two attempts to run the ball and neither attempt is successful. Barrett Trotter throws way down the field on third down and completes the pass for a huge gain. The third quarter expires and Auburn is still in complete control...the score is 23-6.
If MSU is going to have any chance of coming back in this game the defense is going to have to step up big....and they do on the very next play! Barrett Trotter tries to scramble away from a blitz but is unsuccessful...he ends up fumbling the ball! Trevor Stigers scoops it up and runs 63 yards the other direction for MSU's first TD of the day! The score is now 23-13.
Onterio McCalebb returns the kickoff for 23 yards. A couple of runs and an incomplete pass result in an Auburn three and out. They punt the ball back to MSU.
Chad Bumphis attempts a return but goes no where. Chris Relf trots onto the field again and apparently he's feeling the recent swing in momentum. He immediately throws a rocket down the field to Brandon Heavens. Heavens is finally brought down at the Auburn 23 yard line. A run by Ballard followed up with a complete pass to Bumphis gets MSU to the 4 yard line. Vick Ballard takes the ball on the next play and runs it in for a touchdown! The 4 play, 72 yard drive pulls MSU within three points and the score is now 20-23.
After an average kickoff return, Barrett Trotter fumbles the ball on the first play...an Auburn player luckily jumps on it. Auburn, also clearly feeling the change in momentum, decide to play it really safe and work on melting the clock. Three runs and an MSU timeout later, Auburn is forced to punt the ball back.
Chad Bumphis returns the kick to the 42 yard line and the Bulldogs are in great field position to try and get into field goal range. Vick Ballard runs just enough to gain a first down. In obvious hurry up mode, Relf steps to the line and throws a horrible pass that falls incomplete. The next play sees Chris Relf sacked for a two yard loss. With time running out, the Bulldogs find themselves in a third and twelve situation. Relf's next pass is complete to Michael Carr BUT is short of the first down by two yards. Still well out of field goal range, the Bulldogs have no choice but to go for it. A nice option play results in a fourth down conversion and MSU suddenly is on the Auburn 23 yard line with a fresh set of downs. Only a minute is left on the clock so the Bulldogs wisely use their second time out. Relf completes a short pass on the next play to Vick Ballard, but it results in a two yard loss. Chris Relf spikes the ball to stop the clock. The next pass is incomplete and MSU settles for a field goal to tie the game at 23-23!
Auburn manages a short return and they have 36 seconds left on the clock to work with. Trotter's first pass to Carr falls incomplete. The second play ends with a sack on Trotter...Auburn calls a timeout. Another incomplete pass leaves 23 seconds on the clock and the Tigers punt the ball back.
Chad Bumphis is only able to get five yards on the return and now there's only 15 seconds left for Relf and company to keep the game from getting into overtime. Auburn is ready to bring pressure and go after Relf as soon as the ball is snapped...Relf is sacked for a loss! With no time outs left the Bulldogs scramble to get back to the line before the clock runs out. Again, the Tigers bring the heat but this time Relf manages to get a pass off just as the clock expires. Incredibly, he finds an open Michael Carr! Carr begins the sprint down the field but unfortunately another Auburn defender is in position to stop him...that is until Brandon Heavens saves the day with a huge block! Carr takes it to the house and the 2 play, 62 yard drive ends with a spectacular Bulldog victory!
Final Score: MSU-30 AU-23
A few notable stats:
MSU had 340 yards of total offense....AU had 236
Chris Relf was 15-25 for 239 yards and 1 TD Barrett Trotter was 6-14 for 152 yards
Relf rushed for 37 yards--Michael Dyer rushed for 107 yards and 1 TD--Vick Ballard rushed for 47 yards and 1 TD
A win is a win but let's hope the Bulldogs don't cut it so close Saturday night!!!