It's In The Game: Carolina vs. Elon
I'm trying something new here. Before each Carolina football game, I'm going to play it out on my XBOX 360 using EA Sports' NCAA Football 13. I've always enjoyed the college football video game. I don't play as much as I used to, to be honest. Years ago, I would play out decades of 'dynasty' mode, building the Tar Heels into, well, a dynasty. Players like HB #34 and HB #20, who seemed an awful lot like Andre' Williams and Jacque Lewis, competed for the Heisman Trophy. A tailback named Eddie Larson I recruited won the Heisman and jumped to the NFL after his junior season. Once, when I traded the game in ahead of the next year's edition, I actually felt bad for made-up players like Reggie Rich, who apparently I'd recruited and promised I'd be there for their entire careers. So this year, just for fun, I thought I'd play the games each week.
There are a number of problems with this: 1) EA isn't allowed to use actual player likenesses. Sure, you can download the names after someone goes to all the trouble to properly name the players, but they aren't the actual players. 2) The rosters aren't entirely correct. The game doesn't allow players to have duplicate numbers, for example, and rosters are more limited than actual college football rosters. 3) Carolina's complex schemes (4-2-5 and no-huddle spread) are difficult to replicate in the game. 4) I am not very good at this game. I don't know what Blake Anderson and Dan Disch were doing Thursday afternoon, but they weren't at my house coordinating the offense and defense, respectively.
After an hour of attempting to correct numbers and depth charts, I started the game. I downloaded an Elon team (individual FCS teams are not in the game), and hit Play Now. Here we go. Eight minute quarters, Varsity difficulty (Too easy? We'll see.). No matter what happens, I'm not hitting reset (this time). What happens, happens (in the game).
Elon wins the toss and chooses to kick. Bryn Renner orchestrates a masterful first drive, using Sean Tapley, Eric Ebron and Giovani Bernard through the air. Bernard punches it in from 7 yards out for the virtual season's first score.
UNC 7, Elon 0
Kareem Martin comes through with a huge sack on second down, and the defense forces the punt. Gio returns the ball across the 50.
Bernard picks up the first down on 4th and 2. Renner tucks and runs for a big gain inside the 5. Gio takes the toss right and is in for the score.
UNC 14, Elon 0
Another sack, another punt forced.
END OF FIRST QUARTER: UNC 14, Elon 0
After a drive stalls, Casey Barth is true from 38 yards out.f
UNC 17, Elon 0
A pair of sacks has Phoenix quarterback Thomas Wilson desperate. He heaves one downfield on 3rd and 22, and Tim Scott is there for the interception. Bernard gets the ball inside the 25, but it comes loose. Elon picks up the fumble. But wait! The call on the field is overturned!
The excitement is short-lived, however as Renner throws an interception while looking for Highsmith.
For Elon, it's another 3rd and 13, another punt.
Sean Tapley makes a huge grab to get the ball in the red zone (see picture at top of page), and Highsmith gets behind the defense for the score.
UNC 24, Elon 0
Just before the half, Renner looks for Highsmith deep, but Elon's Ed Burns picks it off. And then Alex Dixon grabs it right back! Casey Barth's 44-yard attempt as time expires is off the upright.
END OF FIRST HALF UNC 24, Elon 0
The defense knocks the wind out of Wilson, but backup QB Tyler Smith hits Rasuan Rorie for Phoenix' first score. The two-point conversion fails.
UNC 24, Elon 6
Barth's 51-yard field goal attempt falls short.
A.J. Blue converts on 4th and 2. Jheranie Boyd gets on the scoreboard with a 19-yard touchdown reception.
UNC 31, Elon 6
END OF 3RD QUARTER
Wilson orchestrates a nice scoring drive, finishing with a pass to Jeremy Peterson.
UNC 31, Elon 13
The Phoenix try an onside kick. The ball doesn't go ten yards, but Carolina recovers anyway. Time to milk some clock. Renner takes a knee to end this one.
FINAL: UNC 31, Elon 13
Player of the game: Kareem Martin: 6 tackles, 5 sacks. Here's one.
Renner: 20-28 262 yards, 2 touchdowns, 2 interceptions
Bernard: 91 yards on 29 attempts; 2 touchdowns
Blue: 35 yards on 6 attempts
Highsmith: 6 catches for 93 yards, 1 score
Ebron: 4 catches for 49 yards
Boyd: 1 catch for 19 yards and a touchdown
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