College Football World Cup: The final turns into a Fiesta Bowl rematch
Welcome to the knockout tournament of our College Football World Cup. You can read the ground rules here and the Group Stage results here. For those of you who don’t want to click, here’s a refresher course.
Using updated 2017 rosters via Operation Sports we simulated a 32-team college football World Cup-style tournament on EA Sports’ classic NCAA Football 14. Fittingly, the final came five years to the day after the release of the game.
All knockout stage games were played at Idaho’s Kibbie Dome, including our World Cup Final. We thought about moving it to University of Phoenix Stadium but held off because of our tradition. The University of Idaho was a great host.
Below are the results of the knockout stages. Some of the results the video game created were wild.
ROUND OF 16
Auburn 72, UCF 34
The Tigers had 763 yards of total offense as McKenzie Milton threw four interceptions. Auburn had 309 rushing yards and six rushing touchdowns.
Washington 55, Ohio State 31
Myles Gaskin will never have a game like this in real life. He had 39 carries for 353 yards and seven touchdowns.
Mississippi State 38, Oklahoma 35
A frenetic fourth quarter was capped off by Nick Fitzgerald’s 1-yard touchdown run with no time left. The final period featured five touchdowns, all on scoring drives of 90 seconds or fewer.
Wisconsin 38, Toledo 35
Wisconsin got a safety to end the third quarter but Toledo scored 11 points in the final five minutes to send the game to overtime. Jonathan Taylor scored in overtime to win the game after Toledo started OT with a field goal.
Alabama 49, TCU 17
The Tide held TCU to 26 rushing yards as Tua Tagovailoa and Jalen Hurts ended up splitting playing time and combined to throw five touchdowns.
USC 41, Northwestern 24
Sam Darnold threw for 421 yards and four touchdowns as USC cruised.
Georgia 42, Oklahoma State 38
Sony Michel scored the go-ahead touchdown with 27 seconds left after Oklahoma State scored 21 unanswered points in the third quarter.
Penn State 35, Clemson 31
Hunter Renfrow — who else — caught a go-ahead TD for Clemson but Trace McSorely found Juwan Johnson for the game-winning score on the next drive.
Washington 42, Auburn 21
Myles Gaskin did it again with 20 carries for 199 yards and five touchdowns. Auburn didn’t score until the fourth quarter.
Mississippi State 17, Wisconsin 7
Our first low-scoring game of the entire tournament stunningly involved Wisconsin. The Bulldogs scored the first 17 points before Wisconsin got a late TD.
Alabama 30, USC 24
USC had a 17-10 halftime lead but Alabama scored 14 points in the third quarter and added two field goals in the fourth. Jalen Hurts played the whole game this time.
Penn State 42, Georgia 35
Saquon Barkley had 26 carries for 180 yards and four touchdowns. Mysteriously, Sony Michel didn’t touch the ball for Georgia at all. We will not have a rematch for the title game.
Washington 41, Alabama 35
Down goes Bama! Washington forced overtime when Jake Browning found Dante Pettis for a 16-yard touchdown. Browning threw another TD pass in the first overtime and Jalen Hurts found Calvin Ridley for a 23-yard touchdown to force a second overtime. The game-winning score when Browning threw a touchdown to Quinten Pounds.
Because this is a big game involving Alabama, we took a look at the kicking stats and sure enough Alabama was 0-2 on field goals. Whoops.
Penn State 24, Mississippi State 14
The Bulldogs’ Russia-like run ends in the semifinals thanks to Trace McSorley. Penn State’s QB threw three first-half touchdown passes — each to different receivers — as the Nittany Lions jumped out to a 24-7 lead at the end of the third quarter.
McSorley finished 24-40 passing for 312 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. Saquon Barkley only got the ball 14 times (?!) and rushed for 77 yards.
Washington 38, Penn State 20
The Huskies pulled away early in the second half to dispose of the Nittany Lions. The game was tied at 7-7 at halftime before Washington outscored Penn State 31-7 over the third quarter and the first part of the fourth.
Jake Browning was 17-24 passing for 278 yards and four touchdowns including a 55-yard pass to Dante Pettis that put the game out of reach. Trace McSorley threw 47 passes and rushed the ball 12 times while Saquon Barkley had 10 carries and five receptions.
Congratulations to Washington for winning a video game tournament. May you parade in the streets. Meanwhile, we’re ready for real football to begin.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
Follow @NickBromberg on Twitter
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