Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Remember the Rose Bowl, we'll win then...

Not satisfied with the pairing of Bama and Iowa in the title game to finish out my revenge dynasty, I opted instead to take on Leinart, Bush and company and used the "play now" function to pit Bama vs. Southern Cal at the Rose Bowl.

Southern Cal won the toss and elected to receive, which was fine by me. Being the SEC neandrathal that I am, playing defense and sitting on a lead pretty well sums up my coaching strategy, and getting the ball to start the second half typically plays into that. The Trojans came out to start their first drive in an I formation as I called a reasonably safe Cover 2 Man out of my base 4-3. Their first play was a play action pass to a streaking Jarrett, but it was successfully batted away by Ramzee Robinson. The rest of the drive stalled as Bush is dropped for a 2 yard loss by DeMeco Ryans on a lead toss and Leinart completes a short pass to his Tight End for a 7 yard gain.

Reggie Bush, meet DeMeco Ryans.

Tyrone Prothro's return capabilites were completely nullified throughout the game as the SoCal special teams routinely forced me to call fair catch deep in my own territory. My own opening drive stalled as Ken Darby was stopped in the backfield on 1st down and DJ Hall dropped a pass on a wheel route to bring up 3rd and 12. I lined up in a shotgun spread formation as the Trojans looked to play a deep zone, but instead of trying to pass for the yardage I called a HB Direct Snap and picked up the first on the ground, but just barely. I came out to start the next series in an I formation and ran a triple option, handing the ball off to FB Tim Castille when the linebackers dropped back into coverage and plowed ahead for another first. Lining up again in the same I formation, I called a play action bootleg, but sailed the pass out of bounds to bring up 2nd and 10. Determined to burn the SoCal secondary, I lined up in a shotgun spread formation with Ken Darby lining up in the slot position in place of Zeke Knight. Both outside receivers were covered, but DJ Hall came free in the middle and caught a 22 yard pass at the Trojan 37. From there, Darby and Castille each ran the ball for modest gains, until on 3rd and 3 at the Trojan 11 Castille broke free for a TD. The point after is good, Bama 7, Southern Cal 0.

Reggie Bush returns the ensuing kick off to his 37 yard line, but the Trojans again stall as Bush is nullified by the linebacking corp and the secondary keeps Leinart in check as the 1st quarter ends.

Reggie Bush, meet DeMeco Ryans. Oh, you two have already met?

Prothro again calls fair catch, starting the next Bama drive on the 26 yard line. A deep pass to Matt Caddell places us on the Trojan 34, but this drive stalls as well as neither Darby or Castille is able to break free for a first down. I briefly consider going for it on 4th and 3 but instead opt for the field goal, Bama 10, SoCal 0.

The Trojans begin their next drive with only 2:27 left on the clock, and quickly score their first touchdown. Feeling a little full of myself, I call an "all out blitz" from a 3-3-5 formation and get burned big time as Reggie Bush breaks into the flat and jukes Roman Harper out of his cleats on his way to a 73 yard touchdown run. Bama 10, SoCal 7.

The ensuing kickoff results in a touchback, and I start my next drive from my own 20 in an I formation. Again I call a play action bootleg and look to Caddell but the ball is tipped to bring up 2nd and 10. Darby breaks free on counter for 17 yards to get the first. Determined to score before the half, I go against everything I hold dear and begin passing on each down. Quick out routes and slants allow the Bama offense to move to the Trojan 30, but then disaster strikes as a touchdown pass to Prothro is tipped and subsequently intercepted near the goal line. The Trojans put together an impressive drive, including several circus catches and a miraculously accurate Leinart pass as he's engulfed by Freddie Roach, resulting in a Dwayne Jarrett 37 yard touchdown catch to make the score Bama 10, SoCal 14.

Again, a touchback, and I attempt to drive at least into field goal range before the half but the Trojan defense has effectively limited my rushing attack and each receiver lives up to his real life counterpart's dropped pass potential. I punt with only :27 left on the clock as SoCal is content to call a few run plays and head into the locker room with a 4 point lead.

Glad to get the ball back at the start of the third quarter, I manage a good return with DJ Hall to my own 39. Calling a play action pass, I hit Prothro for a 31 yard gain, followed by a HB Slam that sees Darby break loose for a 32 yard touchdown run, putting the good guys up by 3.

SoCal's next drive stalls, and I get the ball back on my own 29. While sitting on a 3 point lead against a team that's proven it can strike quickly isn't exactly wise, I opt to begin pounding the ball and running the clock out. Darby, Castille, and Coffee all contribute as I drive into the Trojan red zone, only to see their defense stiffen and bring up 3rd and 14. I line up in my now familiar I formation, and hit Caddell for the touchdown to make the score Bama 24, SoCal 14.

End Zone, meet Matt Caddell

Again, SoCal seems eerily reluctant to cut Bush loose and the Bama secondary holds firm and forces a three and out to end the third quarter.

Confident that the 4th quarter will be more of the same, I settle in to play defense and work the clock. Alas, I get greedy in the Trojan red zone, calling a play action pass to Prothro for a touchdown strike on 3rd and 3 instead of bulldozing ahead with a seemingly unstoppable Tim Castille. Again, disaster strikes as a Trojan CB intercepts the pass and returns it untouched to bring Southern Cal back within one score of winning.

After the kick off and return to my own 22, I can't get anything going. On 3rd and 11, I toss a desperation pass to a streaking Prothro who has a few steps on the CB covering him. He makes the catch and heads downfield, but a safety appears as if from nowhere and lays a monster hit on him, forcing a fumble that the CB immediately falls on. It's now the Trojans' ball on their own 28, and my blood pressure rises to dangerous levels.

Leinart moves into a hurry up offense as I stay in my base 4-3 and begin giving up yardage to Reggie Bush as he jukes and spins around anything lucky enough to get within an inch. Finally I halt the drive at my own 40 and sack Leinart on 3rd and long. Forced to go for it on 4th and 19, Leinart is unable to hook up with his Tight End and they turn the ball over on downs. I have the ball back on the Trojan 49, and immediately break loose with Darby on a HB direct to their 3, where I let Castille take the ball in to make the score Bama 31, SoCal 21, with 2:39 remaining.

Matt Leinart, meet Jeremy Clark

SoCal comes out passing again, but this time my secondary slips as Leinart drives the Trojans downfield and then delivers a long touchdown pass into double coverage, bringing them once again within three and me once again to my feet as I screamed a long string of profanities and felt my left arm go all tingly.

The Trojans line up for an onside kick, but Glenn Coffee makes the catch and I breathe a huge sigh of relief. I've never seen an onside kick actually work in NCAA 2006, but I wouldn't put it past the computer in a close game to cheat up a little and recover it.

With 1:56 to go the Trojans begin calling timeout after each run, but I keep getting first downs on my way to the Trojan 5 yard line. While I could have taken a knee and wrapped the game up, I instead channeled my inner Spurrier, sending Darby into the end zone one more time to make the final 38-28.

Unnecessary, but fun.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

yeah, yeah....Roll Tide Roll, whatever. WE GET IT!!!

8:45 PM  
Blogger Todd Jones said...

shut your whore mouth

9:05 PM  
Blogger Nicole said...

I still can't believe you took play by play notes of your pretend championship (since you're apparently scared of Iowa!) and pictures of your TV.


9:15 PM  
Blogger Newspaper Hack said...

Yeah -- Wisconsin's so had their hands on an NC so many times in the past 30 years. Not.

Roll Tide Roll, bitches.

1:18 AM  
Blogger Nicole said...

Hey! I was making no disparaging remarks about Bama. They were all about Todd!

The emphasis was not on the pretend, but rather on that Todd was taking notes on his video game.

6:08 AM  
Blogger Newspaper Hack said...

It's the off-season.

"If there's no football, you have to create football. Long Live PS2." -- SEC Fan Rule No. 15

2:56 PM  
Blogger Nicole said...

It's not the playing of the game that I was entertained by...

4:43 PM  
Blogger TNIRISHFAN said...

Chick's man chicks. One of the fundamental differences between men and women... the importance of video games.

6:06 PM  
Blogger Nicole said...

That and the rack

8:23 PM  
Blogger Nicole said...

Also, the lack of disillusionment. Todd thinks the video games (will) get him the ladies.

8:23 PM  
Blogger TNIRISHFAN said...

Chicks dig guys with skills.

There is one other thing besides the rack...

8:33 PM  
Blogger Nicole said...

Computer hacking skills. Bowhunting skils.
Nunchuck skills.

6:08 AM  
Blogger Newspaper Hack said...

Ah, racks. The things that make me go out every night and drop $30 to make that girl at the end of the bar look prettier.

12:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yeah, I didn't say that comment at the top. How dare you call someone a whore?! I'm so hurt...

5:53 AM  

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