NCAA Simulation: 2013 Liberty Bowl
by cristilmethod Follow @cristilmethod
In this year's final installment of the NCAA simulation series, I decided to make the game as factual as I could, simulating on 15 minute quarters, placing Dak at QB, and even playing the game at 3pm on a chilly day at the Liberty Bowl to ensure that all factors were as close to real game conditions as possible.
What transpired from that was a shootout, as MSU and Rice would account for 95 points, over 1200 yards of offense, and 58 first downs in a game that went back and forth, right up until the final drive.
Unfortunately for our digital Bulldogs in maroon and white, the outcome was unfavorable, as Rice prevailed 49-46, scoring a touchdown through the air with 38 second remaining to eek out the win.
As far as offensive stats go, Mississippi State was like a well-oiled machine, as Dak Prescott threw for 434 (!) yards on 53 attempts, with two touchdown passes to no interceptions. MSU was down a good bit early, which would explain why Dak threw as many passes as he did. The running game was paced by senior LaDarius Perkins, who registered 168 yards and four (!) touchdowns in his final game in maroon and white. Dak would chip in 53 yards as well. As for receiving, MSU was paced by -- of course -- Jameon Lewis, who had 119 yards and a touchdown. Joe Morrow also had a big game with 112 yards and a TD as well, and Perkins would add 85 yards receiving to go with his outstanding rushing performance in his final game in college.
Defensively, the only stat line of note was for Denico Autry, who racked up seven tackles for loss as part of a 17 tackle day. Otherwise, the defense -- as you can see from the offensive numbers -- was bad, not just for MSU, but for Rice as well.
MSU would jump out to an early 7-0 lead on an LDP TD, but Rice responded with 22 points of their own, and the Owls took a 22-14 lead into halftime. The third quarter was all Rice too, as the Owls added another 17 points to take a 39-21 lead into the fourth quarter. It looked like MSU was all but finished, but State reeled off 25 fourth quarter points to pull the game back close. Three LaDarius Perkins touchdowns in the fourth quarter put MSU back on top at 43-42. State would add a field goal with just under two minutes to go, and the lead was 46-42, as State looked to be headed for a Liberty Bowl win. But Rice was able to march down the field very Auburn-eque, and with just under 40 seconds left to play, they put the dagger in the heart of the maroon and white faithful, coming out victorious in a marathon sprint of a game.
Even though the simulation didn't produce the outcome State fans want to see next Tuesday, it did produce a fun, fast-paced game that I know many of us want to see. Well, we want to see it from our side of the ball, with maybe a little more defense against their side. Here's to hoping for plenty of fun and fireworks for this year's Liberty Bowl, with a slightly different outcome when things are all said any done.