When vitrual Lyle McCombs played well, so did UConn.
As you know, we've written a couple of posts about EA Sports' new NCAA Football 13 game, mostly focusing on the Heisman Trophy. That's all well and good, but I don't think anyone expects there to be a Heisman Trophy in UConn's future so I thought I'd do something a little more grounded and sim through the Huskies 2012 schedule to see how the Huskies fared. The results were pretty mixed, as you'll see below, but in the end I think I'd take what my XBox offered up. One note: I simulated this using rosters provided by the NCAA obsessives over at Operation Sports, which means the virtual Huskies had both Chandler Whitmer and Casey Cochran, who are not in the retail version of the game.
Week One -- UConn defeats UMass 45-21.
The Huskies easily rolled pass UMass in the season opener, jumping out to a 35-14 halftime lead. Things slowed a bit in the back half, but a fourth quarter TD for Lyle McCombs sealed the game. That was McCombs's only score, but he racked up an impressive 156 yds on 26 carries. Chandler Whitmer impressed during his first game as a starter. He only completed 16 of 31 pass attempts, but he threw two touchdown passes and picked up another two touchdowns on the ground.
Week Two -- NC State annihilates UConn 50-7.
Well that went poorly. The Huskies gave up 29 unanswered points in the first half and NC State never looked back. After accounting for four touchdowns in UConn's virtual opener, Chandler Whitmer threw a whopping seven interceptions and only completed 13 of 39 pass attempts. Eventually he was replaced by Johnny McEntee who didn't fare much better, completing only one of four pass attempts for seven yards. Even Lyle McCombs struggled, only gaining 40 yds on 13 rushing attempts.
Week Three -- Huskies fail to get revenge against Randy Edsall, fall 38-28 to Maryland.
The Huskies defense turned in a very mixed performance in this one, forcing six turnovers, but giving up a whopping 271 rushing yards and 38 points. Virtual Whitmer improved (how could he not), but still threw three picks against just two touchdowns. Lyle McCombs continued to struggle, picking up a mere 53 yards.
At least it can't get worse from here.... or can it? Hit the jump to see how the rest of UConn's season played out.
Week Four -- This is not going well: WMU defeats UConn in overtime 40-37.
This was a back-and-forth, hard fought game, but a late fourth quarter touchdown let the Broncos tie it up at 31 to force overtime. UConn settled for a field goal on both of its overtime possessions, which wasn't enough as WMU back Tevin Drake was able to find the endzone. There was some good news: Whitmer completed 21 passes and threw for three touchdowns. The bad news: he attempted 51 passes. Martin Hyppolite also took a large share of the rushing responsibility from McCombs, gaining more than 100 yds on 14 carries. But the real star was tight end Ryan Griffin who threw up an eye-popping 208 yards on 11 receptions, including two touchdowns.
Week Five -- Finally a win: Huskies squeak by Buffalo 28-21.
It took a last-minute TD pass to Martin Hyppolite, but the Huskies secured their second win of the season as they headed off into Big East play. Whitmer had his best game since the opener against UMass, and Lyle McCombs seemed to regain a bit of his mojo, gaining 70 yards and finding the endzone once. Ryan Griffin had another strong week, pulling down four passes for 68 yards and a TD.
Week Six -- In which good triumphs over evil as UConn beats Rutgers 28-14.
The Huskies got back up to .500 and won their first conference game as they dispatched Rutgers, but the win came at a cost. Both Blidi Wreh-WIlson and Chandler Whitmer went down with injuries. Wreh-Wilson sprained his elbow and will be out for three weeks. Whitmer strained his back and will be out for five. Until he went down, Whitmer was having his best game of the season (completing 14 of 21 pass attempts) and McCombs performed well too, picking up 133 yards and two tds.
Week Seven -- Temple rejoins Big East and destroys UConn 45-5.
The less said about this the better. Virtual Johnny McEntee is no virtual Chandler Whitmer so Casey Cochran got brought in to show that at least inside of my Xbox he's going to need some time to develop.
Week Eight -- Syracuse defeats UConn 24-9 in last Big East matchup.
This is getting ugly and the fake Huskies are in very real danger of not making a fake bowl game as they are 3-5 and 1-2 in Big East play. UConn was never close in this one, down 21-0 at the half and only scoring on three late field goals. McCombs had 132 yards (good!) but McEntee went 13 for 39 (bad!).
Week Nine -- A merciful bye.
Week Ten -- At least we can always count on UConn beating USF. Huskies pull out 35-28 OT win.
Oh USF, no matter how poorly the Huskies may do, I can always count on you somehow being worse. The virtual Bulls are a lowly 1-8 on the year after this one, though UConn did need a touchdown in OT to pull out the win. Lyle McCombs once again rushed for more than 100 yards and added two touchdowns on the ground, including the game winner. He added a receiving td in the first quarter.
Week Eleven -- Good news and bad news: UConn defeats PItt 41-38.
We'll start with the good news: the virtual Huskies improved to 5-5, 3-2 in the Big East, and now need just one win to become bowl eligible. The bad news: After putting up a season-best 182 yards and three touchdowns, Lyle McCombs broke his shoulder and will miss the rest of the season. Martin Hyppolite filled in as best he could, gaining 92 yards after McCombs went down (it was a big day for UConn's ground game), but without McCombs that sixth win could prove elusive.
Week Twelve -- Bye.
Week Thirteen -- Bowl eligible: UConn defeats Louisville 30-27.
Lyle McCombs may be out, but UConn kept rolling right along, nipping Louisville to guarantee a better than .500 record in the Big East and become bowl eligible. Hyppolite filled in quite nicely, scoring twice including the game winner with 35 seconds left. Chandler Whitmer was also back in the fold and he threw for 229 yards and two touchdowns. Tight end Ryan Griffin continued to be his favorite target, accounting for 152 of those yards.
Week Fourteen -- Huskies fall to Cincinnati, 33-42.
If this was real, it would have stung, as UConn gave up 21 fourth quarter points in a painful senior day loss. The loss dropped UConn to 6-6 on the season, but their 4-3 conference record was good enough for third place in the Big East and a bid to take on UTEP in the Autozone Liberty Bowl. Newcomer Temple won the league.
Liberty Bowl -- UConn drops a close one, loses 38-35.
Both Whitmer and Hyppolite had fine games, but UTEP was just too much for the Huskies and they eeked out the three point win. Still, I would probably count the season as a success. The non-conference portion of the schedule was a disappointment, but I would certainly take the 4-3 Big East record.
This post was sponsored by EA Sports NCAA Football 13. Check out the video for the game below.
EA SPORTS NCAA Football 13 TV: "Son" (via EASPORTS)