RGIII a Longhorn ... Well, virtually
July, 11, 2012
By Max Olson | ESPN.com
Courtesy of EA SportsRGIII in burnt orange? It's a reality, virtually.
It’s not impossible, you know.
Robert Griffin III could’ve been a Longhorn had Texas recruited him as a quarterback. And had he not gone pro early, Griffin would be a senior this fall.
What an alternate reality that would be, huh? Luckily, with the newest feature in EA Sports’ “NCAA Football 13,” he can come true. With the Heisman Challenge feature, RGIII is a Longhorn.
We simulated the 2012 season. The results were, well, surprising.
Week 1: Wyoming
Griffin lobs a 75-yard touchdown pass to Jaxon Shipley on his first-ever play in burnt orange. Everything else is a disaster. Griffin throws for 456 yards and three touchdowns but also tosses two picks. Wyoming scores with 2:56 left and stops Texas on its next three drives.
Wyoming 35, Texas 31. Seriously.
Week 2: New Mexico
The now-unranked Longhorns respond with a whooping of virtual Bob Davie and his Lobos. Griffin passes for 498 yards and four touchdowns. He finds Shipley 12 times for 178 yards and two scores. The Longhorns D forces four turnovers, three on picks.
Texas 52, New Mexico 0.
Week 3: Ole Miss
RGIII cranks out another 400-yard passing day with five touchdowns, and once again nobody loves him more than Shipley (13 catches for 180 yards). Texas’ defense holds the Rebs to 6 rushing yards.
Texas 42, Ole Miss 28.
Week 5: No. 25 Oklahoma State
Griffin-to-Shipley is 2012’s Weeden-to-Blackmon -- this time the sophomore racks up 14 catches for 219 yards and two TDs. Texas’ 35-0 halftime lead proves insurmountable.
Texas 49, Oklahoma State 20.
Week 6: No. 23 West Virginia
A 21-point second quarter proves to be the difference. RGII throws for 430 yards and three touchdowns. Brown runs for 81 yards and two TDs. WVU saves face with two fourth-quarter touchdowns.
Texas 35, West Virginia 28.
Week 7: No. 12 Oklahoma
The Sooners, fresh off a repeat loss to Texas Tech that dropped them from No. 2, hold on in another classic at the Cotton Bowl. Texas gets the ball to the OU 40-yard line with 55 seconds left. On fourth and nine, Bryan Harsin tries to shock the world with a run call. Brown gains 1 yard. If virtual fans could boo, they would.
Oklahoma 38, Texas 30.
Week 8: No. 12 Baylor
The Bears, having never known the glory of RGIII on their sidelines, aren’t impressed by Texas’ potent offense. UT turns the ball over four times, three on Griffin interceptions. Still no semblance of a run game. Mack Brown’s seat gets warmer.
Baylor 28, Texas 16.
Week 9: Kansas
A 4-3 Texas team jumps out to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter, then gets shut out in the second half. Brown runs for 73 yards and all four touchdowns. KU is held scoreless on four fourth-quarter drives.
Texas 28, Kansas 21.
Week 10: Texas Tech
Just as they did in 2011, Texas rolls. Griffin passes for 470 yards and seven touchdowns to five different receivers. Shipley produces his ninth straight 100-yard game.
Texas 62, Texas Tech 17.
Week 11: Iowa State
Two fourth-quarter scores help Texas pull out a close one. Griffin throws for 408 yards and UT backs combine for their first 100-yard game of the season. ISU QB Steele Jantz plays the virtual game of his life (462 passing yards, 5 TDs), but two picks are costly.
Texas 52, Iowa State 38.
Week 13: No. 8 TCU
The Horned Frogs (9-1, 7-0 Big 12) come to Austin as the conference leader. With Harsin’s pro-style attack now in the trash can, Griffin passes for 452 yards and three scores. Not enough.
TCU 39, Texas 29.
Week 14: No. 6 Kansas State
Texas trails 24-21 at the half. There’s hope. Then RGIII tosses two picks and the Wildcats score 21 straight. Heisman contender Collin Klein tosses five TDs to give KSU its fifth straight victory over Texas. How’s 7-5 sound? The hot seat singes Mack’s virtual khakis.
Kansas State 45, Texas 35.
Bowl: Alamo Bowl vs. No. 13 Utah
Same old story. Griffin puts up 441 passing yards and four TDs. Texas can’t and doesn’t run the ball. Utah gets the ball with 1:58 left gashes UT on the ground to run out the clock. An Alamodome full of Longhorns fans go home very unhappy.
Utah 34, Texas 31.
So there you have it. The 2012 Texas Longhorns go 7-6 with Robert Griffin III as their starting quarterback.
Somehow, RGIII edges out Collin Klein and Michigan’s Denard Robinson for the Heisman Trophy. His season stat line: 5,508 passing yards, 44 TDs, 13 INTs, 66 percent passing, 81 rushing yards.
Harder to believe: Shipley ends the year with 2,120 receiving yards but finishes third for the Biletnikoff Award. Malcolm Brown leads the team with 598 rushing yards, but UT doesn’t run for 1,000 yards as a team.
Texas ends up finishing fourth in the Big 12. Kansas State and TCU both win BCS bowls, and Alabama beats Oregon in the title game.
What did we learn from this experiment? Perhaps something about how the best offenses are the ones that fit their quarterback.
Most likely, though, there’s no moral to this story. It’s just a video game.
But maybe Texas needs David Ash more than we thought.