Our Digital Season finds the DigiCocks still undefeated and already in the SEC Championship Game. Joy.
Well howdy! Been a few weeks—yeah, I was supposed to do some stuff last week regarding freaky ODS/IRL sync-ups, but it turned out to be crushingly boring. "Shaq Wilson is the lead tackler in both seasons" was about as exciting as it got. So, we'll just skip all that and soldier on to Week 11.
Despite our real heroes dropping a few contests of late, your DigiCocks are still rocking an undefeated record. As a reminder, this is fully simulated, so I'm not going in and meddling. Apparently the game just thinks we're that good. We're all the way up to #2 (behind the DigiTide, of course.) Arkansas, however, is not worse for the loss of DigiPetrino, sitting pretty at #9 in the polls.
Before we continue, an ODS EXECUTIVE ANNOUNCEMENT: For reasons I shouldn't have to explain, I removed Marcus Lattimore from the team, effectively ending his campaign. Yes, I know I've long stressed the important keeping IRL and ODS on different planes of existence, but I decided in this extreme situation, I should step in. So don't worry, you won't be tortured with hearing about DigiLatty's feats of greatness. DigiKenny Miles is your starter. Stormy Day here in DigiColumbia. Arky wins the toss and will take the ball.
1ST QUARTER, or, WHO NEEDS DEFENSE
Opening kickoff brought to the 20. Arkansas comes out of the gates hot, with Tyler Wilson connecting on four consecutive 10+ yard passes. After finding their way into the red zone, the defense holds on 3 consecutive plays. Zach Hocker's 33 yard field goal is good, and it's 3-0, DigiHogs.
The Cocks respond by going 3 and out. Wilson continues to thrive, connecting on 3 of his next 4 throws, the 4th being a 32 yard completion to Cobi Hamilton that takes the Hogs to the 2 yard line. Wilson to Hamilton again on the next play, and it's good for the score. 10-0, Hogs.
The Cocks make their way into enemy territory, thanks to a string of short passes and one 10 yard Kenny Miles run. On 2nd and 2 at the Arkansas 33, Shaw hits DD Smith for 31 yards. 1st and goal on the 2. It's a speed option, Shaw pitches to Miles, who shakes a tackler and crosses the goal line. A 75 yard scoring drive, and it's 10-7, Arkansas.
Tyler Wilson continues to light up the Gamecocks pass defense. Here's already up to 157 yards in the 1st quarter. The Cocks force a 4th down on their own 8 yard line. But it's 4th and inches, and the Arkansas offense will take the field. Jumbo set—and it's a pitch to the outside! Devonte Holloman reads it, breaks around the line and makes the open field tackle, saving a touchdown and forcing the turnover on downs. Three plays later, it's Shaw to D.L. Moore for a 72 yard bomb. It's a 14 point swing, and it's now 14-10, DigiCocks.
Arkansas responds by moving quickly—Knile Davis is proving quite the weapon, putting up both rushing and receiving numbers in bunches. The quarter ends with Arkansas once again threatening, on the Cocks 17.
2ND QUARTER, or, TYLER WILSON SLICES UP THE SECONDARY
Jump to 3rd and goal on the 5. The D holds, but Wilson drew Byron Jerideau offsides. On the next play, Wilson finds Jevontee Herndon for the touchdown. It's 14-17, Hogs.
The DigiCocks can't get anything going on the next drive. The D is settling a bit, but the DigiHogs offense is still giving them fits, converting consecutive 3rd and longs. Knile Davis caps the drive with a 21 yard touchdown run. 24-14, Hogs.
The offense is hapless, managing a lone 1st down before punting it away again. Finally, though, the defense forces a 3 and out, and Arkansas punts. The DigiCocks finally manage to break out of the rut. On 2nd and 3, Shaw hits Kenny Miles for a 28 yard gain. They then take to the ground, running on 7 of the next 8 plays to great effect: Shaw runs it in from the 3 yard line for a score. It's 24-21, USC. 2:35 remains in the half.
The defense has also found its rhythm, forcing a quick 3 and out and affording the offense another scoring opportunity before the half. The DigiCocks start on their own 42, with 1:58 and all 3 timeouts remaining. On 3rd and 8, Shaw finds a leaping Ace Sanders for 12, and the chains will move into Arkansas territory. Now they're back in USC territory after an ugly sack. They regain some yardage on 2nd and 3rd, and now Adam Yates is on to try a hearty 51 yard field goal. It's up—and good! A monster kick from Yates ties the ball game with 1:00 left in the half. 24-24.
Arkansas acts fast, with Tyler Wilson stringing together a pair of long yardage passes. Time's almost expired with the Hogs knocking on the door, but DigiJLS will settle for a field goal. Arkansas takes the lead into the half, 27-24.
C. Shaw: 12-19, 216 yds, 1 TD, 4 rushes, 13 yds, 1 TD
K. Miles: 11 rushes, 14 yds, 1 TD, 1 rec., 28 yds
D. Moore: 4 rec., 99 yds, 1 TD
D. Holloman: 9 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 PBU
3RD QUARTER, or, YEAH LET'S LET TYLER HULL THROW IT
The Cocks get the ball out of the half. On 3rd and 1, DigiSpurrier gambles with a pass call, and it pays off with Connor Shaw finding Ace Sanders for 19 yards. But -2 yards on the next 3 plays, and the Cocks will punt. What's this—they'll fake it! Tyler Hull is going to pass—this can only go well! Yeah, incomplete.
Tyler Wilson continues to carve up the USC secondary. Passes of 15 and 24 yards put the ball inside the 10 yard line. On the next play, it's Wilson to Gragg for the score. 34-24, Hogs. If you're wondering, Tyler Wilson is up to 355 yards and 3 TDs less than halfway through the 3rd quarter.
1st and 10, and the unthinkable happens: Kenny Miles fumbles, and Arkansas recovers deep in USC territory. Miraculously, the DigiCocks get out unscathed, forcing a chip shot field goal attempt that missed wide right.
South Carolina recognizes the opportunity, and Shaw moves them into Arkansas territory thanks to a 14 yard catch by DigiQua Gilchrist and a roughing the passer penalty. Jump to 3rd and 2 on the USC 36—Shaw snaps it, and does that thing where he immediately throws it away. Anyone who plays this game knows what I'm talking about. It's 4th and 2 and the offense is out! Offset I...handoff to Miles, and he's tripped up, falling inches short of the first. Turnover on downs.
South Carolina needs to hold the Hogs here lest they let the game get out of control. The D allows a 24 yard completion, but then holds—it's 4th and 2 on the USC 40, and the Hogs will go for it. I formation, and Wilson drops back. Pass to Knile Davis in the flat, and there's grass ahead of him. But Vic Hampton and Shaq Wilson close in quickly, upending Davis before he can reach the 1st down line! Consecutive turnovers on downs, and the Cocks have it back.
The Cocks ensuing drive is nearly all groundgame. Consecutive first downs set up a 28 yard rushing touchdown by Kenny Miles! It's now 34-31, Hogs.
Arkansas gets it back and quickly goes 3 and out. The DigiCocks can take the lead with a touchdown drive. A crucial 3rd and long pass to Justice Cunningham is good for 17. The DigiCocks continue to move, crossing the Arkansas 30 on a 13 yard completion to DL Moore. Kenny Miles is looking impressive, contributing 30 rush yards on this drive alone. The ball is at the 1—and the quarter is over.
4TH QUARTER, or, DRAMA!
Shaw drops back...for some reason...and is sacked. That's followed by a holding penalty. Lovely—it's now 2nd and goal on the 19. On 3rd and 16, Shaw gets protection, and heaves one to Ace Sanders in the back of the endzone—caught! Touchdown, DigiCocks and they've reclaimed the lead, 38-34.
Arky will start on their own 31. Their last three drives: missed FG, turnover on downs, punt. This drive, however, seems a bit more promising. After a Knile Davis run is punctuated by a facemask, moving the ball to the Carolina 41. After a 15 yard completion to Herndon, Tyler Wilson hits Knile Davis for a 17 yard TD. Arkansas reclaims the lead, 41-38. 5:36 remains.
A poor return means the field will be 84 yards long. But consecutive 14 yard completions (to Roland and Smith) will help. Once again, Kenny Miles is stepping up big—he's up to 152 on the ground. 1st and 10 on the Arkansas 27. A penalty and a pair of drops bring up 3rd and 15. Shaw finds Moore on 3rd down, but it's for a mere 13, and it'll bring up a 4th and 2. Yates is on to tie it from 36—it's up, and good.
THIS JUST IN: TAMU UPSETS BAMA. That's right: if the #2 DigiCocks win, they're #1.
3:21 remains. Arkansas starts from their own 25. Pass complete on 1st down to Herndon for 8 yards. Incomplete on 2nd, and on 3rd, Davis is dropped in the backfield. It's a 3 and out! Arkansas will punt.
The DigiCocks will take over at their own 29 with 2:25 remaining. After a few 1st downs, the ball is on the Arkansas 45. Adam Yates will need at least 10 more yards to reasonably be considered in range. Nothing much on 1st or 2nd. Shaw is in the shotgun—he takes the snap. He's going to air one deep, looking for Moore! But it's knocked down, and in fact it's nearly picked—probably in Arkansas' best interest not to intercept that one. Tyler Hull is on to punt, and it'll result in a touchback.
Arkansas will have 1:03 to get points on the board in any way and secure a win. All 3 timeouts in their pocket. On 1st down, Wilson drops back and connects with Herndon for 7 over the middle, then quickly call timeout. Wilson to Horton for 10 and a 1st down, and another timeout is called. The ball is on the Arkansas 38 with :54 left. Again, over the middle to Herndon, and it's a gain of 9—this time, he gets out of bounds. Ball is nearing midfield. The Cocks blitz, and Wilson wisely throws it away. 3rd and 1—and Wilson connects with Herndon for 9. It's 1st and 10, on the USC 43. Pass on 1st is broken up by DigiGolightly. :35 seconds left. On 2nd and 10, Tyler Wilson drops back and has to duck out of the way, but slips on the wet turf! It's a loss of 5, and it's 3rd and 15. The clock is ticking. :24 left as Arkansas scrambles to the line to snap it. Wilson, over the middle to freaking Herndon again, and it's caught for 7 yards bringin upt 4th and 8. And odd choice here as Arkansas punts it away, despite it clearly being the last play of the game.
For the 2nd time in ODS, the Cocks will go to overtime.
Arkansas wins the toss and will play defense first. Shaw is sacked on first down, but a Miles run and a short completion to Ace Sanders bring up 4th and inches. Playing conservatively, Spurrier chooses to go for the field goal. For the 3rd time tonight, Adam Yates' kick is true. 44-41, DigiCocks.
Arkansas starts, of course, on the 25. Incomplete on 1st. Knile Davis is dropped for a loss, bringing up 3rd and 12. Wilson has to throw it away on 3rd. Hocker will be called on for the 44 yarder—and it's good. 44-44, and we go to double overtime.
The defense is really showing out in overtime. They force Wilson to throw it away, then sack him for a 1 yard loss. A pass on 3rd is complete, but they'll come up a yard short of the 1st. Hocker will kick from 33—and it's good. 47-44, Arkansas.
On first down, Connor Shaw finds DL Moore for nearly 10 yards. 2nd and inches, and Shaw will scramble for the first, sliding down at the 8. It's 1st and goal. Miles rushes for 4. Shaw rushes for 1. It's 3rd and goal from the 3. Shaw under center, and he'll hand it to Miles—Kenny cuts right, and the whole is enormous! MILES RUNS IT IN! Game over!
Gamecocks win in double overtime, 50-47.
C. Shaw: 27-43, 401 yards, 2 TD, 13 rushes, 39 yards, 1 TD, Player of the Game
K. Miles: 35 rushes, 173 yards, 3 TD, 1 reception, 28 yards
D. Moore: 10 receptions, 169 yards, 1 TD
B. Jerideau: 6 tackles, 3 TFL, 1 sack
INJURIES: All's well.
WEEKLY AWARDS: Connor Shaw wins SEC Offensive POTW.
DigiSEC WRAP UP: As I sheepishly told you last time, the DigiCocks are indeed SEC East Champs. Out west, things remain interesting. Had Bama defeated TAMU last week, it would have secured a berth in the title game, as Auburn lost to UGA. As that did not happen, it'll come down to the Iron Bowl to see who represents the West in the ODS SECCG.
AROUND THE DigiNCAA
SCORES OF NOTE:
TAMU 31 - Alabama 28: The huge upset for TAMU not only keeps the SEC West race alive, but allows your DigiCocks to take over the #1 spot in the polls.
KSU 28 - TCU 35: Kansas State, down to its 3rd string QB in ODS, loses its 3rd straight
INJURIES OF NOTE: No new major injuries for Clemson or Alabama.
CONCLUSION, Week 11
Welp, thanks ODS, now everyone hates me. Yes, the DigiCocks are at the top of the heap. 10-0, and very possibly will play in their first BCS Championship game. But that Clemson game in two weeks sure looks menacing, doesn't it? I mean, wouldn't they just love to administer a #1 takedown? First, it's a cupcake game against the vaunted FCS SOUTH EAST (aka the Wofford Terriers.)