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How The Hokies Beat Bama: The NCAA '14 Demo

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Nick Saban is not amused with this post.
Nick Saban is not amused with this post.
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

In a CPU vs. CPU full game simulation by, the Virginia Tech Hokies were victorious in their season opener over Alabama in the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff game, available to play on the demo. After hearing this a few weeks back on social media, I decided to check it out. Here's the link to the game, which is also embedded below. If you don't want to watch the video in its entirety, my comments are below that.

First off, keep in mind that I will be evaluating what I see in the video from a gaming perspective as well as a Virginia Tech perspective. Here are my thoughts, which are chronological:

  • That Matt Jackson kid can run the football, especially on non-designed runs. I hope Logan Thomas can be that kind of QB some day...
  • Why is Alabama distraught and Tech acting like they just won the national championship at the end of the first quarter?
  • J.C. Coleman had a stiff arm on a big guy at the L.O.S. (line of scrimmage) and then got caught from behind in the open field by a big motherfucker (2+ minutes left in second quarter). Neither of these things is going to happen.
  • The Virginia Tech offensive line is kicking Alabama's defensive line's ass. That's not happening.
  • The Hokies showed some Mike London clock management late in the first half, giving Bama :48 seconds to make something happen by taking a timeout, snapping quickly, not running the clock and not converting. It led to an Alabama touchdown. The CPU has shown Mike London intelligence in these situations for years now. Wonder when they're going to change that?
  • EA's gameplay continues to be plagued by players running the wrong way after interceptions because that transition isn't fast enough and doesn't interpret a player's reactions correctly. They need to freeze that screen as it rotates around the player to symbolize a possession change before a player can incorrectly and inadvertently run the wrong direction.
  • Can we get a late hit call? Seriously? I know this is a game, and it was never really called before from what I can remember, but they've actually INTRODUCED animations that allow players to hit and gang tackle ball-carriers maybe 3-4 steps AFTER the player steps out of bounds or the play is over. This is the closest I've ever seen to NFL Blitz, outside of, well, NFL Blitz.
  • After the catch, defenders often still inexplicably run AWAY from the receiver, taking them completely out of the play. If the computer can't handle it, that tells you something.
  • Tech AGAIN Mike London'd the clock management, hoarding 3 timeouts after Bama was sacked on 3rd and long. They let the clock run on 4th and 18, with Bama down 3 and 1:10 remaining, allowing 12 seconds to run off before the snap (and 15 total). Bama also pulled the stupid clock management move, snapping with :27 left on the play clock and allowing tech :55 left in regulation. Also, Alabama now celebrates like it won the fucking World Cup, as the Hokies fall to their knees for being tied with the top team in the nation as they still probably get the last shot to win it. This makes sense. Somehow...
  • Again with the clock management, Tech after running a screen play that ends at :50 seconds remaining, fails to use any of their 3 timeouts, instead opting to run the clock down to...12 seconds (and 2 on the play clock) before snapping. Logan Thomas runs , gets a first, and Tech NOW takes a timeout with 7 seconds left in the game and 64 yards to go. Nice.
  • HAHAHAHAHA! And then runs a screen again. 3 seconds left after a timeout. Mike London is DEFINITELY the computer in this demo.
  • And Tech lets Logan Thomas heave it up at the end or regulation (intercepted obviously), which they would never do. There would be kneels and boo's coming.
  • Alabama is on offense first in OT.
  • Alabama scores on first possession. Also another egregious late hit no call.
  • Logan Thomas completely ignores open receivers and almost throws a game-ending pick (where have we seen this before?).
  • Thomas throws a beautiful ball on 4th and 2 to the back of the end zone for a TD (not happening. We don't pass on 4th and 2, EVER! If we do it's a stupid fullback leak or something into the flats. Either that or a Logan run or a HB run straight up the middle).
  • Tech has to go for it on 4th and 23 because of 2 sacks to begin their next possession and Logan misses a wide open receiver long in the second overtime.
  • Alabama comes out passing. HAHAHAHAHA. This CPU...
  • And on the third pass, Kyle fuller (or whoever #17 is on this game) picks it off across the middle and so now it's onto the 3rd OT.
  • Then Jarrett comes up with an interception on 2nd down of the 3rd OT and gives Tech the ball back.
  • Tech runs a screen on first that Logan bails on and takes an 11-yard loss.
  • And then go with the SAME EXACT SCREEN which gets them 20-some yards and a 1st. I can't make this shit up.
  • After another sack, it's 3rd and 11 from the 13. Wanna take this field goal now?
  • NOPE, because Logan throws across the middle and finds Demetri Knowles and wins it 23-17.
  • Logan Thomas, or Matt Jackson the player of the game:
  • This photo sequence below shows how bad EA is at capturing celebrations and getting them to translate on screen: Logan Thomas goes to fist bump Andrew Miller and they both miss and run into one another before apparently excusing themselves and walking past each other. This explains a lot. The Tech staff blames his inability to do this on George Whitfield.

For the record, as a Tech fan I would gladly take this result. But as a human being, I don't know if my heart could last through this one. Also, I would be highly critical of the Tech coaching staff for their timeout usage/time management (or lack thereof for both).

Thanks again to the guys from PastaPadre for uploading the video and the guys from EA and NCAA 14 for doing so much with sites from our network coinciding with their release of the game.

For more off-kilter commentary on the NCAA Football series of games, including the newly released 2014 version, and everything Virginia Tech football, Gobbler Country is the place to be.