The Dream 64-Team College Football Playoff, An NCAA Football 14 Sim: Round Of 32

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Welcome back to BSB’s 64-team NCAA Football 14 simulation! In the last installment, we saw all four one-seeds breeze through their first matchups, including a 59-17 win for Ohio State over Miami (Ohio). We also saw a few major upsets, headlined by 12th-seeded South Carolina knocking off Baylor and 14th-seeded Ole Miss toppling Auburn in the South region, along with an excellent showing by the 12-seed in the West, Arizona State.

Out of the first round, action is set to heat up. In the Midwest, we have a pair of rivalry games in Minnesota vs. Iowa and Michigan vs. Michigan State, both of which have all the makings of an instant classic

In the South, Ole Miss, Tulane and South Carolina all look to continue their Cinderella dreams, but one of them will have to go home, with the Rebels and Green Wave matched up against each other.

Elsewhere, Arizona State looks to pull off a major upset against Oregon, Utah and Oklahoma hope to survive against the high powered offenses of USC and Washington State, and Clemson eyes a statement victory over conference foe North Carolina.

Note: For the full explanation of what this tournament is, how these seeds were selected and the schedule for when upcoming rounds will be released, click here for our introduction to the tournament.

MIDWEST

#1 Ohio State 23, #9 Kentucky 20

Big trouble for the No. 1 overall seed. Through three, Ohio State had yet to crack Kentucky’s defense, and the Wildcats held a 20-16 lead entering the final frame. After three quarters of struggles, the host Buckeyes finally broke through in the fourth.

A sack stopped a dangerous looking Kentucky drive just outside of the 50-yard line to keep the deficit at four with 6:30 to play, giving Justin Fields and the Buckeye offense a chance to claim the lead. Facing a third-and-4 from the OSU 40-yard line, Fields was stuffed on a quarterback keep, and yet again, Ohio State’s offense was forced to punt the ball back to the Wildcats.

Another defensive stand gave the floundering Buckeye offense a huge opportunity from their own 40-yard line. This time, OSU finally found the offense it had been searching for all day. Fields and J.K. Dobbins took turns gaining big yardage on the ground. A fourth-and-3 put Ohio State in a high-pressure moment from the Kentucky 30 with just over three minutes to play, but Fields found tight end Rashod Berry to move the chains and keep hopes alive.

Two plays later, Fields hit freshman Garrett Wilson in the end zone, and Ohio State took its first lead of the game with just 3:02 to play.

With the game on the line, the Silver Bullets came up big. Two quick first downs had Kentucky moving, but a big Shaun Wade tackle for loss on third down put the Wildcats in a must-get fourth-and-7 spot with 2:11 to play. Tight end Brenden Bates was open, but stopped just short of the first down, giving Ohio State the ball back. A 20-yard Dobbins run on first down iced the game, and the Buckeyes survived a serious, serious threat to advance to the Sweet 16.

#5 Iowa 44, #4 Minnesota 38 (OT)

Another close win for the Hawkeyes, this time over rival Minnesota in an excellent overtime battle. There was never an inch of separation in this game – the biggest lead was 11 at the start of the second half after a quick Tyler Goodson touchdown, but Minnesota quickly cut it back to four.

From there, the deficit was cut to one, increased to four, cut to one, increased to eight, and then tied after a 64-yard Minnesota touchdown and two-point conversion to tie the game with 2:45 to play.

In overtime, Minnesota missed a 42-yard field goal attempt, and a 19-yard touchdown pass from Nate Stanley gave Iowa the victory.

Both Stanley and Tanner Morgan were excellent. Stanley went 24-of-36 passing for 260 yards and two touchdowns, while Morgan was 30 of 42 for 400 yards and three scores. Goodson carried 27 times for 185 yards and three touchdowns.

#3 Michigan 34, #11 Michigan State 13

Michigan claimed the Paul Bunyan Trophy and advanced to the Sweet 16 with a dominant win over Michigan State, 34-13.

Shea Patterson was brilliant, completing 38 of his 56 attempts for 409 yards and a touchdown, while Zach Charbonnet carried 22 times for 134 yards. Patterson also ran for two scores.

MSU on the other hand, couldn’t get anything going. Brian Lewerke threw for just 180 yards, and turned the ball over three times. The Spartans actually led at the half, 13-10, but had no answer for the Wolverines in the second quarter, allowing 24 unanswered points to end the game, including a 21-point third quarter.

#2 Penn State 39, #10 Missouri 35

We’ve got drama for the final ticket to the Midwest Sweet 16. After trailing 35-17 with just over seven minutes to play, Penn State staged an incredible late comeback, scoring on a 74-yard bomb to K.J. Hamler and picking up the 2-point conversion with 7:09 left. A three-and-out gave the ball back to the Nittany Lions, who scored again with 2:34 to play, cutting the lead to just three.

Another failed Mizzou drive gave Penn State its chance to drive down the field and tie or win the game with just 1:52 to play, from its own 22-yard line. Leaning heavily on Hamler (who had six receptions, 183 yards and two touchdowns on the day), quarterback Sean Clifford led his team all the way down to the MU 35-yard line after just 20 seconds.

A short completion moved them even closer, but a crucial second down drop set Clifford up with third-and-3 from the 28 with 1:11 to play. Halfback Ricky Slade busted through the defense for seven yards to move the chains, but a false start on the next play put Penn State back into a tough spot, with first-and-15 on deck.

The Nittany Lions refused to go down. A 20-yard completion moved them inside the red zone, and on third-and-goal from just outside the end zone, Clifford powered over a defender and gave PSU its first lead of the game, 39-35, with just 36 seconds to play.

With three timeouts to burn, Missouri made a valiant effort. Quarterback Kelly Bryant moved the ball all the way to the Penn State 46-yard line with 11 seconds left, but a third down screen pass was sniffed out from the start, and a last second hail mary fell harmlessly to the turf.

SOUTH

#1 LSU 38, #8 UL Lafayette 3

LSU advanced to the Sweet 16 with ease, defeating its second in-state opponent, this time in the form of the Ragin’ Cajuns. Joe Burrow again coasted through the game, completing 23 of 30 passes for 285 yards and two touchdowns.

For resting sakes, the Tigers ran through backup running back John Emery, who carried the ball 29 times for 122 yards and three touchdowns, while Clyde Edwards-Helaire rushed just 12 times for 33 yards. Ja’Marr Chase and Justin Jefferson combined for 15 catches, 206 yards and a touchdown.

UL Lafayette had just 288 total yards of offense compared to 489 from LSU, and after a mammoth showing from Levi Lewis in the first round, he completed just 45 percent (17 of 37) of his passes for 205 yards and a pick.

#4 UCF 48, #12 South Carolina 28

The Golden Knights kept the ball rolling, taking down the Gamecocks with ease, going up 35-7 at half and never looking back.

Dillon Gabriel was electric for UCF, throwing for 352 yards and four scores. His main target was a different Gabriel, Gabriel Davis, who hauled in seven receptions for 125 yards and two scores.

Though the Gamecocks kept up with the Golden Knights in yardage (UCF 542, SC 470), four turnovers by South Carolina was the ultimate downfall in this handed defeat.

Jake Bentley threw for 398 yards, two touchdowns and an interception in the loss.

#14 Ole Miss 28, #11 Tulane 21

What a game this was. In a battle for two teams that nobody expected to make the Sweet 16, the Rebels came out victorious, but it wasn’t easy.

With 2:32 to go, Tulane got the ball at the 15-yard line and started moving up the field, getting to the Ole Miss 38 before getting stuffed on three straight plays. 

Justin McMillan then threw up a hail mary to the end zone for Jalen McCleskey, who nearly came down with it in double coverage before cornerback Keidron Smith made a tremendous break up to seal the game.

No team led by more than a touchdown all game, and Ole Miss’ only lead was with 3:55 to go in the fourth quarter, on a 23-yard connection from Matt Corral to Braylon Sanders.

Corral again came up big for Ole Miss, completing 32 of 43 passes for 423 yards and two scores, while also rushing for 88 yards on 21 attempts. The Rebels nearly doubled the output of the Green Wave (658 yards to 344), but Ole Miss committed four turnovers to keep the game close.

#2 Georgia 38, #7 Texas 24

The Bulldogs advanced once again in relatively easy fashion, taking out the Longhorns with 10 straight third quarter points that began to break this one open.

It was a 21-17 game heading into the third quarter, but Texas’ offense began to sputter, putting up just seven points in the second half, which came on the back of a one-yard Sam Ehlinger run. Ehlinger put it all out there for the Longhorns, throwing 50 times and completing 33 of them for 415 yards and two touchdowns.

The talented Texas receiver duo of Devin DuVernay and Collin Johnson had 15 catches for 224 yards and a touchdown. But Jake Fromm and D’Andre Swift tore up the Texas defense, with Fromm throwing for 438 yards and four scores and Swift rushing for 162 yards and a touchdown.

This was the second straight game for the Longhorns where the teams combined for over 1,000 yards with Texas picking up 470 and Georgia amassing a whopping 616.

WEST

#1 Alabama 45, #8 Tennessee 6

Alabama really only needed two quarters to take care of its rivals from the north. The Crimson Tide, led by 162 yards on the ground from Najee Harris and 368 in the air from Mac Jones, jumped all over the Vols and led 38-0 before a last-second first half field goal gave Tennessee its first points of the game.

While the Tide rolled, UT floundered offensively. There was little to no running game, and an abysmal 2-of-15 rate on third downs sunk any chances of an upset bid before they ever left the ground.

The lone bright spot for UT was punter Paxton Brooks, who boomed nine punts for an average of 43.6 yards. 

#12 Arizona State 41, #4 Oregon 31

How about this for an upset? The 12th-seeded Sun Devils punch their ticket to the Sweet 16 and a matchup with Alabama after this huge win over Oregon.

ASU rode a big first half to make this happen. Three Jayden Daniels touchdowns and a fourth from halfback A.J. Carter gave the Sun Devils a 31-3 lead going into the half. That was just enough to survive four Justin Herbert touchdown passes in the second half, as the Ducks stormed back and cut the deficit to as little as 10, but did so with just 21 seconds to play, making the final score more respectable but doing little else.

Daniels went 29 of 37 for 300 yards and three touchdowns, while running 17 times for 58 yards and another score. Herbert was very good in a losing effort, throwing for 346 yards and four scores on 28-of-41 passing.

#3 Utah 26, #6 USC 10

More defense for the Utes, this time shutting down an electric USC passing attack and holding Kedon Slovis to just 179 yards on 26 of 44, part of just 255 total yards for the Trojans.

While the defense remained dominant just as it was in the first round, Utah also got a boost from halfback Zack Moss. Moss carried 24 times for 131 yards and found the end zone late in the fourth quarter to ice the game and seal the win.

For a region filled with offense, Kyle Wittingham is leaning heavily on his defense carrying his team through. So far, it’s working.

#2 Oklahoma 40, #7 Washington State 34 (2OT)

The Sooners survive! Washington State and Anthony Gordon (53 of 71 for 416 yards) were tremendous, but Jalen Hurts was better as the Sooners will head to the Sweet 16 to set up a date with Utah.

Hurts led the Sooners in passing and rushing, completing 37 of 50 passes for 324 yards and three scores while also carrying 23 times for 115 yards and another two touchdowns.

In overtime, Oklahoma put the ball into the hands of its playmaker, and he delivered again. In the first period, Hurts found Jadon Haselwood to take a 34-27 lead, but Wazzu responded with a touchdown pass of its own to extend the game. A WSU interception in the second frame put OU in position to win, and an eight yard carry for Hurts did just that, sending the Sooners through.

EAST

#1 Clemson 68, #9 North Carolina 7

Oh dear.

#5 Notre Dame 28, #13 Temple 10

Save for a 10-point outburst in the second quarter, Temple’s offense decided to stay home for this game, and it made for a pretty easy route into the next round for the Fighting Irish. Temple put up just 309 yards of total offense, converted on 5-of-15 third-down attempts and turned the ball over twice.

Notre Dame’s offense wasn’t a whole lot better, tallying 374 yards, but no turnovers and just four penalties, compared to Temple’s 15 was enough to get the win pretty easily.

Tony Jones Jr. rushed 18 times for 102 yards for a score for the Fighting Irish, and quarterback Ian Book, who didn’t do much in the air, found the end zone with his feet twice.

#3 Wisconsin 38, #11 Virginia 26

For three quarters, this had all of the makings of a very good game. Wisconsin led 24-20 going into the fourth quarter, and neither team had shown any signs of pulling away.

In the last period, however, the depth kicked in. Jack Coan tossed two late touchdowns to give the Badgers a 38-20 lead, and while a Cavalier score with 1:39 to play made the score look better, this one was over after Wisconsin’s second fourth quarter score.

Badger halfback Jonathan Taylor was dominant as usual, rushing 26 times for 151 yards and two scores. Coan went 22 of 32 for 287 yards and three touchdowns, while Virginia’s Bryce Perkins played well (21 of  28 for 215 and two touchdowns, 17 carries for 80 yards), but it wasn’t enough to keep the No. 11 seed alive into the Sweet 16.

#2 Florida 47, #7 Appalachian State 22

A touchdown with 41 seconds to play in the first half gave Appalachian State a little bit of reason to believe, trailing just 31-15 with 30 minutes to play. A touchdown to open the second half on a pick six made the game seem even a bit open for a moment, with the deficit down to nine.

However, Florida erased that feeling quickly, answering with 16 straight points to finish the game and send App State home.

Halfback Lamical Perine starred for the Gators, carrying 30 times and picking up 187 yards on the day. With Appalachian State’s offense unable to get a ton going (281 yards of total offense), his day on the ground was enough for Florida to overcome both the upset-minded Mountaineers and a sloppy three turnover day from quarterback Kyle Trask.

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