EA SPORTS Game Changers are high-profile members of the EA SPORTS community who use their expert knowledge of our games to inform, entertain and assist others. Today's Game Changers blog comes to us from Brian Parker, Senior Associate Editor at GoodGameBro.com. Follow him on Twitter at @Paakaa10.
With college Bowl Season set to begin, we’re taking a look at what this postseason would look like if the College Football Playoff was in place for the top four teams. The #4 Michigan State Spartans and #1 Florida State Seminoles square off in Semifinal Game #2 at the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, Louisiana. Will the Spartans be able to prove the toughness of Big Ten football teams on their way to an upset win and title game berth, or will #1 FSU hold serve and move on for the right to play for the national championship?
Seminoles Advance to Championship Game on Last-Second 54-yard Field Goal
Florida State K #19 did just enough to curl a 54-yard field goal attempt back inside the left upright from the far left hashmark as the Seminoles weathered a back-and-forth battle with the Michigan State Spartans, 31-28, to earn a berth in the championship game.
The Big Ten side had upset aspirations early on, taking advantage of an opening kickoff return past midfield and a solid opening drive to put seven points on the board early on a five-yard TD pass from QB #18 to WR #16. A defensive stop on a fourth down attempt by the Seminoles gave the Spartans solid field position early in the second quarter, sending Michigan State on another scoring drive culminating with a one-yard run by HB #33 to establish a 14-0 lead.
The Seminoles fought back in the late stages of the first half, putting their first points on the board courtesy of a two-yard TD pass from QB #5 to WR #80 with just over two minutes remaining. After using timeouts to get the ball back from Michigan State, FSU put together another scoring drive which ended with a four-yard touchdown pass from QB #5 to FB #41 as time expired on the half to tie the score.
Although Michigan State held on defense to force a Florida State punt, the game’s lone turnover came on a fumble lost by Spartans HB #33 which led to a Seminoles scoring drive. QB #5’s third touchdown pass of the game came on an eight-yard throw to WR #89 which gave Florida State their first lead of the game midway through the third quarter. Just over two minutes later, however, the Spartans answered with a 28-yard scoring toss from QB #18 to WR #13.
In the fourth quarter, FSU struck first on a three-yard run by HB #8 to re-take the lead. After an exchange of punts, Michigan State put together a lengthy, clock-killing drive which ended on a two-yard touchdown by HB #33 with 25 seconds remaining to tie the score at 28-28 and send the game to overtime. The Seminoles had other ideas, however, making use of their timeouts and sideline routes to get just inside field goal range and set up the winning 54-yard attempt.
The two teams were nearly even in most statistical categories, with both teams gaining over 140 yards on the grounds (MSU 168, FSU 141). The Seminoles gained over 100 more yards than the Spartans through the air, however. In total yardage, the Spartans edged FSU 438-437, but they were unable to overcome four costly penalties which contributed to the losing result.
Florida State will now play against Alabama—who triumphed over rival Auburn in the other Semifinal Game—in the College Football Championship to be hosted at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.
Neither quarterback suffered a turnover as Michigan State QB #18 went 10-for-19 for 112 yards and and two touchdowns while FSU QB #5—the player of the game—went 21-for-27 for 216 yards and three touchdowns, adding 81 yards rushing on 17 carries. Spartans HB #33 finished the game with 27 carries, 140 yards, and two touchdowns to lead all rushers, but he also coughed up the game’s lone turnover on a drive which could have given MSU the points necessary to at least force overtime.
What’s your take: would the #4 Michigan State Spartans have enough, coming off of a big win the Big Ten Championship game over Ohio State, to play spoiler again with Florida State’s unbeaten season? Or would the #1 Florida State Seminoles be disciplined enough to weather the upset bid and pace their way through to a championship game berth? Tweet us @EANCAAFootball and let us know!
NCAA Football 14 is now available for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Buy your copy today and #PLAYTRUE.