Year 19 Regular Season: Coach Luke tries to get back on his horse
After an abysmal 2030 season, Coach Luke has a team full of his own recruits ready to rock in 2031
Welcome to the next chapter in Coach Luke’s quest to become the winningest college football coach of all-time in NCAA Football 14. To learn more about this series and read up on past installments, visit the About page of this site.
As a recap, here are some of the notable things you should know about last season:
In a year where every notable player was redshirted, the Cowboys were rated 78 overall and stumbled to a 4-8 record.
The stars of the recruiting class were all in the secondary with FS Eric Gibson (77 OVR), SS Chaz Fields (77 OVR), and CB Brett Thomas (77 OVR).
Coach Luke’s personal feud with Wyoming’s Poet Laureates was temporarily quelled as the Poets think tanked the last season. LeBron James ensured Cortez was fired in Akron and then he took up a residence in Jackson Hole, WY to help Coach Luke with the Poets.
This season will have two recap posts for it with this post recounting the regular season and then there will be a post about the postseason, recruiting trail, and offseason later.
While last season’s tank job was part of the design, it still ate at Coach Luke. That anxiety and worry fed into this season too.
He finally had a team of his own design in Wyoming but he worried about whether it would work. He worried about whether winning too much would cause trouble for him with the Poets. He worried about a lot.
Before the season started, LeBron James stopped by practice and chatted with the worrisome Coach Luke.
“4-8, man. That’s not you. That’s that Cortez kid that I just got rid of,” LeBron said to Coach Luke. “I know you. I saw you come up! You don’t do this. I know why we did it but it’s got to be eating at you.”
“Look,” he said. “You brought me here to the beautiful state of Wyoming to take care of a problem for you. I owe you that, and I’m going to take care of the problem. But, you gotta do what you do on the football field, a’ight? You do that. Leave the rest up to me.”
“Sure, Bron. Sounds good,” Coach Luke muttered as he tried to focus on practice.
“As I do me this year, what are you gonna do?”
“I’m gonna win some football games.”
“Nah. That’s soft! Dream bigger than that. Stop trying to be some polite sweatervest softie. That ain’t you, man! Be you! Because I know you… and you’re a stone-cold killer, aren’t you?”
Coach Luke laughed. “Yeah, man. That’s me. A stone-cold killer.”
LeBron nodded and smiled. “That’s all I needed to hear.”
The biggest question mark with this offense is the quarterback. Lamont Collins is a freshman QB with a scrambler tendency. Those two things feel very scary. The only time that Coach Luke started a freshman at QB was last season with Charles Smith. Aside from that, his starting QB out of the gates has always been at least a sophomore. In addition, the last young scrambling QB he put our hopes in was Rod Jackson and that was a disaster. While the past doesn’t dictate the future, there’s reason to be worried about Lamont Collins.
The defense is young and hungry with two seniors on the team and stars all over the place. This is a defense that should be good now and for years to come.
This Wyoming team is more talented than any other team in the MWC. Their biggest challenges will be out-of-conference games against Wisconsin and Oklahoma. If Lamont Collins ends up being a serviceable quarterback then the sky is the limit this season though.
Year 19 (2031-32)
Prior to last season, I made a season recap video that weaved together game clips and real-life clips to tell the story of the Year 18 season. It was a bit out-there but people seemed to enjoy it so I decided to do that again this season. Feel free to watch this video below to see how Year 19 went either before or after you read the game recaps in this post.
0-0 | Week 2 vs UCF
UCF is the easiest out-of-conference game we have on our schedule. They were added to the schedule because two user-created coaches are the coordinators there. Beyond that, it’s a pretty random game for Wyoming.
With UCF rated at 83 overall compared to our 90 rating, this is a great opportunity to start the season with a win. More importantly, it’s a chance to see what our freshman QB can do.
A triple-overtime thriller! We win 52-44!
Despite UCF being a worse team than us on paper, this was not an easy game at all. Lamont Collins looked like a revelation at quarterback at times though. He was elusive in the pocket but also showed poise and hit throws that I’m not used to seeing young quarterbacks make in this game.
The important thing is that we won this nail-biter of a game as we travel to Wisconsin next for a tough ranked matchup.
1-0 | Week 3 at #19 Wisconsin
While Lamont Collins looked tremendous, I worry about the fact that we had a close game against a lesser team. I’m not sure if that bodes well for our season or not.
We travel to Wisconsin to play a ranked team that is rated 91 overall. This seems like a big task for us and will tell us a lot about what our team is made of. We’re rated 90 overall so it’s possible we could hang with them but things will have to go right for us.
We pull off the upset in Madison! 31-14!
Our lead running back Anthony Cox went down in this game but Bo Sullivan took over and did a fabulous job in his place. Lamont Collins was electric both as a passer and a runner in this one and our defense stepped up to ensure this game wasn’t close. Ahmad Benson got his second INT in two games and Jeff Burke got his third sack in two games.
That’s a big win as that was one of the toughest games on our schedule. Get hyped!
2-0 | Paniolo Trophy | Week 4 at Hawai’i
I’ve become aware that it’s hard to remain excited about our teams when we’re not a dominant powerhouse like at Akron. An exciting win is often followed by a painful loss.
Our team is taking the trip to Hawai’i and the hope is that they can avoid distractions and focus on keeping the momentum going after that Wisconsin win.
Hey, a 31-21 win! We’ll take it.
Bo Sullivan continues to fill in for Anthony Cox at halfback and is doing a tremendous job there. Jeff Mooney had a breakout game at receiver and is finding his connection with Lamont Collins.
I’m most proud that we didn’t suffer a letdown though and now have started the season with three big wins.
3-0 | Week 5 vs Fresno State
While we are rated higher than every MWC team on our schedule, it’s not by leaps and bounds and every game could still represent a slip-up for us. It’s important to keep building the momentum here.
Fresno State is undefeated to start their season and represents our first big test within the conference. They travel to Wyoming. It’s time for Lamont Collins to show what he’s made of.
We win in a high-scoring 42-35 game!
Lamont Collins was very efficient in the passing game as we elected to use our new spread offense to focus solely on the run game. Collins had 183 rushing yards to go with his 10/11 passing performance. For a freshman, he is looking like a very special quarterback thus far.
4-0 | Week 6 at #24 Oklahoma
The 4-0 start is phenomenal as we’ve already matched last year’s win total. The toughest test on the schedule comes up next though. They are only ranked #24 in the country but Oklahoma is rated 99 overall (which is even better than their preseason rating of 95 overall). On top of that, we’re traveling to their house.
It’s pressure time.
We’ve found a winning formula! We pull off the 42-28 upset!
Lamont Collins is an efficient passer, once again, in this one. Our running game falls on the legs of backup halfback Bo Sullivan as he puts together another big day for us. It was the type of game where everyone chipped in and the defense did just enough.
We are still undefeated as we’ve topped two ranked teams on the road now and, dang it, I think we should be ranked!
5-0 | Week 7 at UNLV
Well, we’re not ranked yet. We had a tough hill to climb after starting the season ranked 111th in the country though. Another win should get us there.
We’ve defeated the toughest teams on our schedule at this point so there is a legitimate chance of an undefeated regular season here. Lamont Collins has been a revelation as a freshman quarterback and fast-tracked this team in a way that Kenneth “K-Dubs” Washington did for the Akron dynasty.
To keep our team going in the right direction, we travel to face a 79 overall UNLV team.
The wins keep coming. Lamont Collins throws for five touchdowns with Jeff Mooney catching three of them. The defense applied pressure all game with charismatic DE Marky Mark accounting for 2.5 sacks himself in this one.
6-0 | Border War | Week 8 at Colorado State
That game finally gets us some respect as we jump to #24 in the country entering Week 8! Last year’s miserable failure is firmly behind us and only blue skies ahead.
The Border War rivalry against Colorado State is one that we always have circled on our calendars. After losing to them by 51 last year, we’re more motivated than ever to ensure that our rivals don’t gain any confidence against us.
We win 30-16! This one was all about our defense as the Rams were only able to muster 255 yards against us in this one. On offense, Bo Sullivan continues to rack up 100 yard games in place of injured Anthony Cox. He’s giving me reminders of when a young Jared Oliver stepped in as a replacement back at Akron and later became a star for us.
7-0 | Bridger’s Battle | Week 9 vs Utah State
With that win, we move up to #19 in the country. The national media is eating up the story of Coach Luke restoring another university’s football team, especially as Akron is going through financial strife and turmoil in their Post-Luke era.
Let’s keep the good vibes going! We travel to Logan, UT to face a 79 overall Utah State team. Easy peasy…
We win 28-9!
While we continue to keep winning, we get our first bad news in a long time: Lamont Collins was injured in this game. He missed most of the game, and will be out for next week’s game too. The good news is that Charles Smith has some experience after starting for us last year, so hopefully he can deliver a little more magic for us.
8-0 | Week 10 vs New Mexico
Starting HB Anthony Cox is back in the lineup as we get ready to face New Mexico. That will take the load off of Charles Smith a bit. Charles Smith was the freshman leader of our four-win Cowboys team last year. We know he’s used to losing but this is already a wildly different team than the one he captained. The hope is that he can rely on his new weapons and get us another win before Lamont Collins returns.
To do that, we must beat the New Mexico Lobos on our turf.
No! We lose 35-26.
It’s hard to specifically blame anyone here. Charles Smith likely tried to do too much as he ran the ball 29 times, while our star HBs Cox and Sullivan only ran the ball 18 times. We were also sacked five times and let up far too many passing yards in this one.
A tough loss and the dream of an undefeated storybook season is over.
Lamont Collins will be back for the next game and the hope is that we can finish strong against a weak schedule to go 11-1 on the regular season.
8-1 | Week 11 vs Boise State
We stay in the top 25 despite the loss as we are ranked #22 in the country coming into Week 11. We have three games remaining on the schedule and they all seem winnable. Boise State comes up next and represents the toughest of the three remaining games as they are rated 84 overall.
Lamont Collins is back and Anthony Cox is back with him for the first time since Week 3. Let’s get rolling.
Well! We win 35-28! It wasn’t exactly easy but it’s a win.
Offensively, Lamont Collins was a bit more off than usual as he barely completed half his passes and threw two interceptions. Defensively, we continue to get torched in the passing game. We are shutting down the rush but I don’t love seeing teams pass for 300+ yards against us like this.
Regardless, we win and are 9-1 and have two easy games remaining!
9-1 | Weeks 13 & 14
We are firmly in position to return to the MWC Championship Game at this point but we want to have a 11-1 season this year and rise in the rankings. We are trying to start a new dynasty at this point and new dynasties don’t start with 9-3 regular seasons. Our remaining games are at home versus San Jose State and Air Force, and they are both rated 81 overall.
The games go like this…
Week 13 vs San Jose State - W 52-27 (Link to Box Score)
Week 14 vs Air Force - W 56-10 (Link to Box Score)
We end the season 11-1 and are going to the MWC Championship Game to face Fresno State!
What a year.
I expected that maybe we could be a pretty good team this year but I really worried about whether freshman QB Lamont Collins could step up and whether our HBs were ready to carry the offense as well. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that we have a superstar QB on our hands and some very capable running backs too.
We now enter postseason play and that’s where Coach Luke shines.
The Suit Is Back
As the season wrapped up, Coach Luke returned home after practice one day to find a present on his chair. There was a note on it from LeBron James that told Coach Luke to “stop trying to be someone you’re not.”
Upon opening the present, he found that it was his old suit that he wore on the sidelines in his Akron championship days. LeBron hadn’t burned all the suits after all. Coach Luke smiled and thought about the idea of wearing the suit on the sidelines again instead of a sweatervest.
Later that day, a phone call came in.
“You get my present?” LeBron asked.
Coach Luke laughed. “Yeah, I got it, Bron.”
“And? Well, yeah… I think you’re right. I think… it’s time to embrace who I am. I’ll wear the suit again, man, because, yeah, we’re getting ready to win some championships soon.”
“Well, good. And I think you are going to win some championships. Because I got our little Poets problem… taken care of.”
Before Coach Luke could respond or question him, LeBron hung up. Coach Luke furiously tried to call LeBron back to find out what he meant but the calls went straight to voicemail.
Year 19 ends Tuesday night on Twitch!
I hope you had a nice and restful holiday break and have started off 2021 on a good note. I enjoyed my little break as well.
I will now be returning to streaming Cowboys games starting on Tuesday, January 5th at 8:00PM EST. I plan to change the schedule a bit moving forward but we’ll still keep the same schedule for the time being.
So, come on by my Twitch channel on Tuesday night to see how this Cowboys season ends!