It’s time to finish our trip back to the classic 2005 NCAA football season with the results of the Elite 8, Final Four and national championship from “The Tournament.”
As a reminder, the competition is a 32-team bracket of the best teams from 2005 simulated virtually on EA Sports’ timeless “NCAA Football 06” video game. We control the underdog seed in each matchup, recording the gameplay and tracking stats.
Do USC and Texas meet again in the Rose Bowl with the title on the line? Are the pixilated Trojans better prepared to handle end-of-season pressure than their real-life counterparts? Can Penn State or Ohio State crash the party?
Sit back, crack open a Natty Light and find out how an expanded playoff in the 2005 campaign might have gone down.
Keep reading for results, stats and more from “The Tournament”:
No. 1 Texas 26, No. 8 Oklahoma 14
Adrian Peterson entered the Elite 8 having amassed 369 total yards and seven touchdowns in his first two games of the competition. Against a tough Texas secondary, it was obvious his play against the Longhorns would determine whether Oklahoma could upend its Big 12 rival.
Outside of a 30-yard run in the first half, Peterson could not get loose, finishing the contest with 88 yards and a touchdown on 22 carries.
Still, Clint Ingram (five tackles for loss) and the Sooners defense helped keep things close against until the fourth quarter. Oklahoma, after all, used to stop opponents, often giving up fewer than 20 points per game in the mid-2000s. Crazy to think about now, right?
A scoop and score from Aaron Harris extinguished Oklahoma’s hopes of victory. In the real-life matchup between the Longhorns and Sooners in 2005, Texas beat Oklahoma 45-12. So this was a quality effort from the virtual Bob Stoops team.
No. 4 Penn State 24, No. 28 Iowa 7
Our bracket Cinderella finally fell in the Elite 8, but it was a damn good run for Iowa. Highly rated linebackers Chad Greenway and Abdul Hodge were particularly effective at getting to the quarterback and stuffing the run throughout the competition. The Nittany Lions, though, were too fast for even that elite duo to contain them.
Tony Hunt busted through the Hawkeyes defense for a 62-yard score in the third quarter to create separation for Penn State, hopping out of a would-be tackle from Greenway to cross the goal line.
Iowa quarterback Drew Tate couldn’t summon the magic he conjured up in earlier rounds to bring his team back. His final line was still respectable: 18-for-28 passing for 243 yards and a touchdown.
No. 2 USC 24, No. 7 LSU 21
Matt Leinart looked average in this game and made a terrible pick-six throw to open up the scoring for LSU. Considering his 99 overall rating and the help of receiving duo Dwayne Jarrett and Steve Smith out wide, his lukewarm play to this point stood as one of the bigger disappointments of the competition.
Leinart, though, was way better than JaMarcus Russell, who looked more like his Oakland Raiders version than LSU iteration. Despite Russell’s continued poor play, the Tigers hung around on the back of a LaRon Landry anchored defense and a two-headed rushing attack featuring Joseph Addai and Alley Broussard.
The problem for LSU? Reggie Bush could not be contained forever.
No. 3 Ohio State 72, No. 11 Miami 14
Devin Hester should stick to special teams.
The impact cornerback for Miami looked lost matching up with Santonio Holmes and Ted Ginn Jr., and he completely whiffed on an open field tackle of Troy Smith amid a long touchdown run (OK, that one was more our fault).
Ohio State once again showed itself to be the most legitimate challenger to USC and Texas with this dismantling of a Miami squad that featured several future pros, including Hester and Greg Olsen.
No. 1 Texas 42, No. 4 Penn State 18
Texas running back Selvin Young was responsible for two of three touchdowns the Longhorns scored in quick succession in the first half. One of those scores was via trick pass. The other came on a punt return. Young finished with 126 rushing yards.
It should be noted that while Texas receiver Jordan Shipley didn’t suit up in real life 2005 due to injury, we left him on the roster. The true freshman wound up being arguably the best receiver in our competition.
Penn State deserves recognition for being one of the most fun teams of “The Tournament.” The Nittany Lions aren’t always associated with electric offensive play, but their 2005 group led by dual-threat quarterback Michael Robinson was special.
No. 2 USC 34, No. 3 Ohio State 31
USC jumped out to a 24-0 lead midway through the second quarter, and it appeared the Trojans were well on their way to their first blowout win since the opening round. As the user controller of Ohio State, we were worried our skill level at the game would ruin a fantastic matchup.
But the 2005 Ohio State team has too many weapons to be kept off the scoreboard for long. Its quick response to USC nearly prevented a national title rematch between the Trojans and Longhorns.
No. 2 USC 56, No. 1 Texas 49 (2 OT)
You should just watch the full game below to get the maximum experience of our BCS National Championship Rose Bowl rematch.
Stats leaderboard for ‘The Tournament’
Passing (top 10)
|Player||Team||Games Played||Comp/Att||Pass Yards||Pass TD||INT|
|Matt Leinart||USC||5||71 of 133||1,234||15||11|
|Vince Young||Texas||5||54 of 98||1,041||11||5|
|Michael Robinson||Penn State||4||43 of 83||764||6||5|
|Drew Tate||Iowa||3||37 of 69||621||3||3|
|Troy Smith||Ohio State||4||38 of 67||576||10||3|
|Chris Leak||Florida||2||27 of 50||559||5||1|
|Paul Thompson||Oklahoma||3||33 of 78||512||4||1|
|Kyle Wright||Miami||3||34 of 79||477||3||3|
|Reggie McNeal||Texas A&M||2||28 of 45||432||3||1|
|JaMarcus Russell||LSU||3||28 of 67||430||3||7|
Rushing (top 10)
|Player||Team||Games Played||Rush Yards||Rush TD||Scrim Yards|
|Antonio Pittman||Ohio State||4||467||6||483|
|Tony Hunt||Penn State||4||405||3||493|
|Michael Robinson||Penn State||4||237||3||237|
|Troy Smith||Ohio State||4||204||2||204|
Receiving (top 10)
|Player||Team||Games Played||Receiving Yards||Receiving TD|
|Jason Carter||Texas A&M||2||295||3|
|Deon Butler||Penn State||4||215||1|
|Joel Filani||Texas Tech||1||206||1|