Every week, I play a simulation game on NCAA Football 2010, pinning the Orange up against its matchup for the weekend. So hey, why not write about it? Obviously the 2010 players aren't the same players as now, but I've adjusted to make them the same.
It was a tough matchup for the Orange this week, a battle until the final minutes of the game. The Orange started off in typical fashion, with a fumble on a drive with a lot of momentum. Luckily, it was overturned and the Orange kept pushing. Syracuse made it into the red zone but couldn't convert and settled for a field goal.
Missouri then marched down the field quickly and scored. The Orange just couldn't stop the Tigers' passing game.
On the next Syracuse possession, Ryan Nassib fumbled the ball and the Mizzou defense recovered the ball and marched into the endzone. The boys regained some hope with a touchdown in the final seconds of the first half, but the Tigers retaliated with a kick return for a touchdown as the final second ticked off the clock.
With two minutes left in the game, the Orange trailed by six with 80 yards in front of them. They marched and marched but were eventually stopped on fourth down to end the game. The final score: Missouri 30, Syracuse 24.
Ryan Nassib ended the day with 175 yards passing and two touchdowns passes. He was sacked four times and fumbled the ball three times, though just one was recovered by Missouri. Jerome Smith rushed for 155 yards but didn't get into the endzone. Shamarko Thomas led the defense with six tackles and a few really hard hits.
Missouri quarterback James Franklin was unstoppable. He passed for 247 yards and two touchdowns. Every time the Orange had the Tiger offense with its back against the wall, Franklin would make a huge pass play and convert.
The Orange did hold Missouri running back Kendial Lawrence to just 33 yards on the ground.
It was a pretty realistic simulation that I could see playing out this weekend. The Orange secondary is susceptible to giving up a lot of passing yards, but the run defense has been pretty strong the season. On the flip side, Jerome Smith has been having an incredible season and will try to continue against the Tigers.
The Orange beat themselves in my video game simulation. Syracuse has been known to do that. If the kick return unit didn't give up that touchdown and if Nassib held onto the ball, it would have been a different game.
UPDATE: Missouri's star DT Sheldon Richardson has been suspended for the Syracuse game. Richardson had an astounding 16 tackles in the simulation. Not only will this change my video game simulation, but it changes the real game in a huge way. Richardson is arguably the team's best player and a key cog in the defense. Richardson made the big fourth down stop to end the game, would his replacement have done the same?