Our Digital Season Week 14: South Carolina v. Clemson

TO SACK OR NOT TO SACK. - Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

THIS ONE'S FOR ALL THE PIXELS

Welcome back to the final regular season edition of Our Digital Season. It's been a couple of weeks since our last entry, since I skipped Coastal Carolina week. Sorry, Coastal, but EA Sports NCAA 2014 doesn't acknowledge your existence. But, hey, the game's defunct after this season so you get the last laugh.

As you may recall, ODS predicted Florida would upset the Gamecocks in Columbia. That, of course, didn't happen, owing in part to the fact that Tyler Murphy didn't end up playing. Overall, it was something of a poor outing for ODS aside from one bullseye. Let's take a look:

CURIOUS OVERLAPS:

BOOM: ODS predicted 377 yards of offense for South Carolina. How many did SC end up with? YOU KNOW IT WAS 377

Cited for Possession: ODS called for Florida to have a slide edge in time of possession, which was ultimately the case IRL.

Clowney Things: Doo Doo had a nice day in ODS that included 2 TFL and a sack; IRL he didn't get a sack, but he did get his pair of TFL.

NOTABLE CONTRASTS:

Unlike Mike: Mike Davis didn't get it going IRL, falling well short of his 184 yard ODS mark.

Morninhweg'd: The DigiGators never turned the ball over. The IRL Gators turned it over once—an INT that all but snuffed out Florida's chances of a comeback.

And, of course: ODS: We lost. IRL: We won.

ODS drops one and falls to 7-3 on the season. Let's call it 8-3—I'll consider the CCU game a win since I don't think this game is cruel enough to cook up that level of upset, although I may be giving it too much credit. Now we move to the regular season finale, the battle for all the Thickburgers, the...ah, you know, the Clemson game.

Let's dive right in. Clemson wins the toss and will defer. Everyone defers in this game.

First Quarter

Carolina starts at their own 19, and manage a lone first down before punting it away. Clemson reciprocates, moving to midfield before punting after three incompletions. Coming out of the touchback, we jump to 3 and 10. Shaw tries to go over the middle, and is intercepted by a roving linebacker. This puts Clemson in excellent field position, but they again fall flat on offense. After three fruitless downs, Chandler Catanzaro boots the field goal and makes it 3-0, Clemson.

South Carolina takes over at its own 22. After a one yard scramble and a dropped pass, Shaw finds Busta Anderson at the sideline, and he smashes ahead for a gain of 15 yards. Another 3rd and long ensues, and another big pass to Busta. The final play of the quarter is yet another 3rd down conversion—this time, it's Mike Davis powering up the gut for 2 yards on 3rd and inches.

Second Quarter

After a pair of Mike Davis runs make it first and goal at the 1 yard line, Shaw rolls out on first down and hits Busta for the easy score. 7-3, Cocks.

Another three and out for Clemson follows. You know how everyone is saying the Gamecocks D-Line needs to pressure IRL Boyd in order for South Carolina to win? That's happening a lot here. Boyd's already had to throw a handful of balls away.

Meanwhile, South Carolina's offense is humming. The ensuing drive begins with a third down conversion, and then it doesn't sniff third down again. At one point, four out of five plays go for first down yardage. Jump ahead to first and goal at the Clemson 5 yard line. Shaw hits Byrd on the quick slant, and Damiere cuts into the endzone. It's 14-3, South Carolina.

Clemson finally wakes up. Boyd completes a 33 yard pass to Sammy Watkins, followed by a 25 yarder to Martavis Bryant. Boyd's had time this drive, and is making the most of it. Jump ahead to the Carolina 1 yard line, and Boyd barrels ahead for the score. 14-10, South Carolina.

Clemson forces a three and out, snuffing out a screen on 3rd and 10. The momentum is on Clemson's side, but they fail to capitalize—Boyd with three more incompletions, and they'll punt. South Carolina has about a minute left in the half, and it looks like they'll try to do something with it, despite starting at their own 12. Shaw hits Byrd on first down for 21. On second down, Shaw goes deep to Roland—but its intercepted. Clemson will operate conservatively, and the half expires.

FIRST HALF ANALYSIS

Neither team is looking dominant on offense—both teams have two scores, and South Carolina's turned it over twice. Aside from its one scoring drive, Clemson has managed just 50 yards of offense. Shaw is already 16/27 for 144 yards and two touchdowns, but the two interceptions are glaring. Meanwhile, Tajh Boyd's line is a paltry 7/20 for 104 yards. #pressureboyd

Third Quarter

Halftime doesn't seem to have made much of a difference for the Tigers, who quickly go three and out. They've got absolutely no ground game to speak of, and Tajh is clearly off his game. The punt is fair caught at the 35. After taking a first down sack, Shaw completes back-to-back 10 yard passes to move the chains. Jump ahead three downs to fourth and 1. It's a fullback handoff to Connor McLaurin, who manages two precious yards, and the chains will move. Off playaction, Shaw hits Byrd on the post for 20. Three plays later, its 1st and goal at the 7, and Shaw hits Nick Jones over the middle for the score. 21-10, South Carolina.

Wow. I don't get it, but Clemson goes three and out again. Backwards, this time. The DigiCock D is playing lights out, and DigiDabo is losing his mind on the sideline. Punt is fair caught at the 20. After moving the chains on three consecutive runs, the Tigers bite on play action and Shaw hits Busta for 35 on a corner route. Two plays later, Busta hauls another in for 12. Have a game son! The quarter ends on a 5 yard gain by Davis.

4th Quarter

Shaw gains 5 on a ZRK, but it's followed by a 6 yard loss for Davis, who was trying to make something out of nothing. He atones on the next play: he runs a wheel route out of the backfield, and Shaw hits him in stride for the score. 28-10, SC.

The DigiTigers continue a buttslide into offensive futility. Boyd is sacked by Quarles for a 10 yard loss. They try a screen, but Surratt gobbles up McDowell for -4. After an incompletion, it's 4th and 24. The punt is quite good, and Hampton fair catches it at the SC 37. After a five yard Davis run, it's Shaw with the killshots: a pair of zone read keepers, the first going for 12 and the second going for 47 yards and a  touchdown. 35-10, South Carolina.

Let's wrap this up: another 3 and out for Clemson and an insurance field goal for Carolina round out a thorough digital massacre.

Final Score: 38-10, South Carolina

PLAYER STATS
USC
C. Shaw 30-41, 298 yards, 4 TD, 2 INT, 9 rushes, 91 yards, 1 TD
M. Davis 19 rushes, 57 yards, 5 receptions, 25 yards, 1 TD
B. Anderson 9 catches, 115 yards, 1 TD
J. Clowney 5 tackles, 3 TFL, 1 sack
CU
T. Boyd 13-29, 170 yards, 1 rushing TD
R. McDowell 10 rushes, 6 yards
S. Watkins 3 receptions, 43 yards
TEAM STATS
USC CU
Passing Yards 298 170
Rushing Yards 155 0 (zero)
Total Yards 453 170
3rd Downs 8-13 (1-1 on 4th) 4-14
Red Zone 5-6 (4 TD, 1 FG) 1-2
Turnovers 2 INT 0
Time of Poss. 59% 41%

FINAL ANALYSIS

Look, I'm not tryna to unduly inflate your hopes. But I can only report my findings, you understand. Aside from its lone touchdown drive, Clemson gained less than 100 yards. While it's not practical to assume the Tigers will have such a putrid offensive performance come Saturday, it at least serves as an exaggerated template for victory. Dominate time of possession, rattle Boyd, stuff the run game. Yes, these are obvious things that would spell victory against most opponents, so I'm offering no real insight here. Offensively for the DigiCocks, it was a fairly balanced performance that was enough to stay a step ahead of the Clemson D. The run game wasn't always dominant, but it was effective enough to open things up for DigiShaw. Who, by the way, wasn't perfect—his first interception was truly ugly—but if he's accountable for 5 touchdowns and a win on Saturday, he'll probably get a street named after him.

Anyway, while I'd obviously take 38-10 (or 13-10 for that matter) let's not treat this as anything more than a silly diversion—at least until ODS TOTALLY NAILS THE FINAL SCORE (it won't happen [I mean maybe? (nah)].)

Anyway, this marks the conclusion of the Our Digital Regular Season. We'll simulate the bowl game—and, hey, maybe even the SECCG game if things go according to plan AWWW GIG EM

Thanks for following along this season. Let's go out with an IRL win, eh? Go Cocks!


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