MOTSAG Pretend College Playoffs: #1 Ohio State vs. #8 Memphis

A couple seasons ago the pretend college football playoff matchup between top-seeded Ohio State and No. 8 Memphis would have scared the Michigan out of Buckeye fans.
But this isn’t a couple years ago. This is now.
And now does not belong to the Memphis Tigers. The Buckeyes scored on their first play of the game and rolled to a devilish 66-6 win over the AAC champs.

Memphis came in averaging 40 points and 485 yards of offense per game and a stingy defense that allowed less than 200 yards passing per game. All week the Tigers talked about how they felt they could slow down Ohio State’s high-octane offense. They were so confident that after winning the coin toss the deferred and sent their defense on the field first.


Following a 25-yard kick return by Garrett Wilson, JK Dobbins took a pitch from Justin Fields and motored 75 yards for a touchdown. Coach Ryan Day felt that was so easy, he called for a surprising onside kick, which was recovered by Chris Olave near midfield.

Since he made such a nice play on the kick, Day called his number again on the first play of the possession — a slant play that totally burnt the Memphis defense for a long and easy pitch and catch from Fields.

Memphis managed two yards on its next possession and was forced to punt. The Buckeyes took over on their own 35 and methodically marched down the field, covering the 65 yards on 10 plays, using some short runs and passes to physically wear down the Memphis defense.

Both teams punted on their next possessions, ending the first quarter at 21-0 Buckeyes.

With the ball on its own 30, Memphis tried some trickeration as QB Brady White pitched to Kenneth Gainwell, who then attempted a pass back to White.

OSU’s Jordan Fuller had other ideas and picked off the pass at the OSU 30, returning it 70 yards for the score.

Memphis was actually able to move the ball a little on the ensuing drive, partly because OSU had some backups in and partly because the officials were apparently backups as well, calling several bogus penalties.

But the Tigers had a drive stall and settled for a field goal to make it 28-3.

On their next drive, the Buckeyes went 70 yards on five plays, highlighted by a 50-yard from from Dobbins. Fields called his own number to score on a 15-yard run to make it 35-3.

Memphis got another field goal shortly before halftime to make the score 35-6 Buckeyes at halftime.

On the first play of the second half, Gainwell fumbled on the OSU 35.

Two plays later it was 42-6 after Wilson turned a crossing route into a 30-yard score.

That was it for both team’s starters as Day wanted to give some younger guys a chance, while making sure the starters stayed healthy. Memphis Coach Ryan Silverfield waved the provebial white flag as well.

OSU got three TD runs from Master Teague and a field goal to account for the final points.

OSU finished with 710 yards of offense, tons on the ground in the second half, and limited Memphis to 120 total yards.

Georgia escapes from Miami

We are still sportless. COVID-19 has taken over our lives, but we here at the Men of the Scarlet and Gray present the strictly hypothetical “Expanded College Football Playoffs.” We have all dreamed of expansion, but here we have a cool little set-up that was created by our colleague Chris. Twelve teams with one goal, to make it to the championship game, have been selected. We have done it the right way, taking most of the conference bias away. All power five champions along with the group of five champions and a pair of at-large bids have given us a football version of the “Big Dance.”

And if you don’t like the at-large teams selected, get your own blog and do it your way.

One of the first-round games features No. 5 Georgia, an at-large selection from the eSpnEC, taking on No. 12 Miami University (not The U, the one in Ohio).

It wasn’t easy. In fact, the Bulldogs almost had an early exit, trailing the entire game until a pick-six tied the game, and then a 42-yard field goal with a minute left gave them a 27-24 win.

From the time they first showed up on the field, the Bulldogs had a swagger that went beyond arrogance. They acted like they shouldn’t have been in a first-round game and were goofing off and horsing around during pre-game warmups. Meanwhile, Miami was all business and appeared focused.

The RedHawks won the toss and took the ball, not wanting to waste any time.

QB Brett Gabbert led Miami on a masterful 12-play, 80 yard drive to take a 7-0 lead. The drive culminated with a 10-yard TD run by Jaylon Bester.

Georgia tried to get cute on its first possession, trying a halfback pass that was nearly intercepted. From there, D’Andre Swift took over, running five times for 65 yards. The drive stalled on the RedHawks 30 and Rodrigo Blankenship hit a 47-yard field goal to make it 7-3.

The defenses took over from there forcing punts on the next few possessions as the first quarter ended 7-3 Miami, which had the ball at its own 40.

Gabbert again worked his magic, unleashing a 60-yard TD pass to James Maye to make it 14-3.

Georgia appeared rattled at that point and could do nothing offensively as Miami was determined to shut down Swift and take its chances with Jake Fromm throwing the ball.

It worked and Fromm showed why he wasn’t a high draft pick, overthrowing and underthrowing wide-open receivers. The only thing saving the Bulldogs was Miami being equally ineffective on offense in the second quarter as the halftime score remained 14-3 Miami.

Georgia regrouped at halftime and took the opening kickoff to the Miami 49. From there, Fromm was able to dink and dunk the Bulldogs to the goal line, where Swift plunged in to make it 14-10.

The RedHawks answered with a 30-yard field goal from Sam Sloman to mae it 17-10 after a drive stalled.

Again the defenses stepped up.

The teams exchanged punts and then the Bulldogs made field goals on back-to-back drives to make it 17-16 going into the fourth quarter.

Momentum was on Georgia’s side, but the lights nearly went out when Miami chewed up eight minutes of precious time, using short passes and four-yard runs to keep the chains, and clock moving.

The drive finished when Gabbert scored on a 10-yard keeper to make it 24-16.

Georgia drove down to the Miami 30 but the drive stalled there and Blankenship missed a 47-yard field goal with 5:30 left.

Miami was content to run the ball and chew up more clock. But facing a third and nine from its own 35, disaster struck as a Gabbert pass was picked off at the 50 and returned for a touchdown. Georgia went for two and tied it with 2:30 left after a Swift scamper.

Miami again tried to be conservative and went three and out. Georgia used its timeouts to save clock and after a nice punt return from Swift, started from its own 49 with 1:50 left.

Fromm dropped back to pass on first down, was forced from the pocket, and scrambled all the way to the Miami 25. The Bulldogs tried to run three times and were stuffed at the line. Miami used its timeouts and forced the Bulldogs to attempt a 42-yard field goal with 1:07 on the clock.

Blankenship nailed the kick with a minute left to give Georgia its first lead, 27-24.

The RedHawks went three and out on their next possession, shattering their dreams of a monumental upset.

Somehow Georgia managed to advance.

Dayton wins the Natty!

MOTSAG Pretend March Madness: Final Four Scott Style
The Final Four is set and three of the four teams are perennial powers that shocked nobody by advancing: Kansas, Gonzaga, and Michigan State.Then there was the Atlantic 10 Engine That Could, the Dayton Flyers. Always a top 25-30 team in attendance, one of the winningest teams in the NCAA in the 1960s, and the team that’s hosted the most NCAA Men’s Tournament games, Dayton, despite losing just twice — in overtime on neutral courts – was a prohibitive underdog in a rematch with another No. 1 seed, Kansas. The Jayhawks were one of two teams to beat Dayton during the regular season, with Colorado being the other.
The second matchup features Gonzaga and Sparty.

No. 1 Dayton 76, No. 1 Kansas 72: This game was just as exciting as the first meeting early in the season. Neither team could build more than a five-point lead. Kansas tried to neutralize Obi Toppin by bringing double-team help from weird angles, hoping he wouldn’t be able to kick the ball out to the open player.
But Toppin, a likely NBA lottery pick, showed that he’s more than highlight-reel dunks and silky smooth three-point chucks. He continued to find the open man, but the Flyers struggled from long range early on, looking like Shaq at the free throw line.
Meanwhile, Kansas couldn’t solve Dayton’s ball-hawking defense, turning the ball over 8 times in its first 10 possessions.
However after the under 12 media timeout, both teams made adjustments and Kansas enjoyed a 30-28 lead at halftime.
Both teams scrapped their first-half game plan in the second half and Toppin and Udoka Azubuike took over. Topping scored 20 of his team-high 25 points in the second half, while Azubuike scored all 17 of his in the second, many times going one-on-one at both ends.
Dayton tried to pull away midway through as a Jalen Crutcher three pointer gave Dayton a 50-45 lead. Kansas went on a 10-0 run in about a minute to open a 55-50 lead before Dayton eventually tied it two minutes later.
From there, the teams traded baskets, misses and turnovers, heading into the final four minutes tied 70-70.
Dayton came out of the final timeout with possession and ran the picket fence to get Toppin a three pointer. Azubuike made a layup at the other end and was fouled, but he missed the free throw keeping the score at 73-72.
That remained the score until Trey Landers buried a three pointer as the shot clock was about to expire with 14 seconds left in the game. Kansas, without any timeouts, rushed the ball up the court and got two shots off, neither of which went in and time expired sending the Flyers to their first championship game since 1967.

No. 1 Gonzaga 87, No. 3 Michigan State 44
Nobody was shocked to see Michigan State in another Final Four, the school’s ninth under Tom Izzo. But everyone had to be shocked at how easily the Bulldogs dismantled Sparty. Gonzaga jumped out to a 19-2 lead, forcing turnover after turnover, totally befuddling Michigan State.
At one point, Izzo looked over at Gonzaga Coach Mark Few and shrugged his shoulders and laughed.
Gonzaga led 42-20 at halftime and continued to sizzle in the second half, making 65 percent of its shots while turning the ball over once.
Izzo was so frustrated with his team that at the under 12 timeout, he sent his five starters to the locker room and was heard telling them not to come out until they were ready to play. Five minutes later they returned and did play better, but by then they trailed by 40. In keeping with the regular season theme, six Bulldogs scored in double figures, led by Joel Ayayi’s 15. Cassius Winston scored 20 to lead Michigan State.

Dayton 70, Gonzaga 65, OT
Dayton wins its first NCAA Men’s Tournament title by outscoring Gonzaga 5-0 in the overtime period. Gonzaga discovered that there is stoppin’ Toppin, holding him to 11 points. But the Bulldogs couldn’t figure out Crutcher and Landers, who combined for 42 points and Dayton received great support from the rest of the roster.
Ayayi again led Gonzaga in scoring, pouring in 20 points, while Filip Petrusev added 15. But the Bulldogs struggled with consistency the entire game, turning the ball over 20 times and making just 38 percent of its shots.
Dayton wasn’t that great either, committing 17 turnovers and shooting just 65 percent from the free throw line.
Leading 34-31 at halftime, Dayton started the second half on a 10-2 run to open up an 11-point lead, but Gonzaga battled back by intentionally putting Dayton at the free throw line and converting second-chance opportunities at the other end.
Gonzaga took a 45-44 lead with 11 minutes left and neither team led by more than four the rest of regulation. Both teams had chances to win the game in the final minute, but Dayton missed three free throws and Gonzaga missed a three pointer and a somewhat-uncontested layup.
Crutcher made a three pointer to start overtime and then made a pair of free throws with 10 seconds left to ice the title.

MOTSAG Pretend March Madness: East Sweet 16 and Elite 8

Dayton was one of the country’s biggest surprises this basketball season. And it continued that not-really-a-Cinderella story in the Pretend March Madness as Obi Toppin was simply unstoppable in the Sweet 16 and Elite 8.

No. 1 Dayton 101, No. 12 Richmond 75 The only reason Richmond scored that much was because Dayton played most of its subs late and the Spiders scored a ton of garbage buckets. Toppin scored 41 points and Jalen Crutcher added 25 and 14 assists for the Flyers. Everyone on the UD roster played and everyone scored at least one basket. Dayton began the game on a 21-1 run and led 61-20 at halftime. Blake Francis scored 22 for the Spiders.

No. 2 Florida State 67, No. 3 Villanova 60 Villanova gave Dayton a blueprint for slowing down the athletic Seminoles by displaying a patient offense and zone defense that was tough to penetrate. But Florida State found just enough offense to win while the Wildcats struggled down the stretch. Trent Forrest scored 17 points for the Seminoles, while Justin Moore had 14 for the Wildcats.
Just like the committee drew it up, the two seeds advanced to the East Region final.

No. 1 Dayton 77, No. 2 Florida State 72 Madison Square Garden was transformed into the University of Dayton Arena East as Flyer Faithful packed the place. And they weren’t disappointed. With 10 seconds left and Dayton leading by three, Toppin grabbed a loose ball and led a fast break that ended with an emphatic 360-degree dunk, sealing the Flyers first trip to the Final Four since 1967. Toppin finished with 22 points, 10 rebounds and five posterizing dunks, earning a standing ovation from dunkmasters Michael Jordan and Dominique Wilkins, who were in attendance. After playing to a 32-32 first-half tie, Dayton opened a 10-point lead midway through the second half. But Forrest led the Seminoles back, tying the game with a three pointer with four minutes left. The teams seemingly traded makes and misses until Trey Landers made a three pointer to give Dayton a 75-72 lead with 30 seconds left.