Much has been made of Dylan Thompson, our flawed but still very good signal caller who threw three costly picks against Kentucky. Predictably, the clamor for Connor Mitch has grown louder. While advanced statistics illustrate that our struggles are less about Dylan Thompson's interceptions and more about our defense's inability to defend, the pro-Mitch contingent should get a look at its poster boy this weekend against Furman.
But why wait til this weekend? Since NCAA 2014 doesn't have a Furman, I decided to conduct a terribly unscientific experiment: what happens when Dylan Thompson's USC plays Connor Mitch's USC? Let's find out.
It's Team Dylan (WHITE) against Team Mitch (GARNET)!
1st Quarter, or U-G-L-Y
GARNET wins the toss and will receive.
First down, and Mitch is swiftly sacked by Kadetrix Marcus. Mitch to Busta for 8, and it's 3rd and 7. Mitch with time, but he forces it into traffic. Incomplete, and GARNET will punt. Cooper returns it for 8. WHITE tacks over at their own 34.
Empty backfield for Dylan, but he is also sacked on his first snap of the game, by Gerald Dixon. Davis goes nowhere on 2nd, and it's 3rd and 18. Dylan has Anderson over the middle, but he's rocked as soon as he catches it—incomplete. WHITE will punt. Cooper gets a short return.
1st and 10 on the GARNET 30. Mitch gains 6 on the zone read keeper. Same play, 6 more, 1st down. Mitch then drops back and bounces in the pocket for eons—he's finally sacked by Larenz Bryant. 2nd and long at the GARNET 34. Mitch again spends years in the pocket before aggressively throwing a pass into the turf five yards in front of the line. A screen pass to Davis gains very little, and it's another punt. Cooper with an 11 yard return, and WHITE begins its second drive at its own 28.
Play action, and Dylan leads Busta a bit too far—caught out of bounds. Dylan finally connects, hitting Shamier Jeffery for 12. Play action—Dylan checks to Davis for just 2. Blitz on 2nd—Dylan puts up a high arcing ball and Damiere Byrd makes a circus catch to haul it in for 23 yards. 1st and 10 at the GARNET 35. Dylan to Roland on the comebacker, gain of 11. I formation on 1st— it's a draw, and Davis runs for 4. Another delay, but it's picked up—Wilds the White loses a yard. 3rd and 7 now—Dylan is rattled by the blitz and throws incomplete. Fry the White will attempt a 38 yarder—it's good.
Touchback on the kick. WHITE has been stingy on defense—two sacks so far this quarter, and just one first down. Mitch hits Jones on 1st down for 4 yards. To Jones again for 5. 3rd and 1, and they'll come out in the I. Stretch to Davis—swallowed up in the backfield. GARNET will punt again. Cooper with an 8 yard return, and the drive will begin at the WHITE 34.
Dylan drops back on 1st and finds Byrd for a 10 yard reception. Two back set. Play action, and Dylan hits Wilds on the wheel route for a measly 3 yards. Dylan overthrows his man on 2nd, and it's 3rd and 7. Dylan to Roland, who breaks a tackle and gains 15. 1st and 10 on the GARNET 37 now. Incomplete on 1st. Sweep to Davis is gobbled up. It's 3rd and 13. Delayed handoff fools no one, and Fry will attempt a 57 yard field goal because this game is bananas. No good.
GARNET takes over at its own 40. Delayed handoff loses 3, and this ugly-ass quarter ends. Total offense: 81 yards (68 WHITE, 13 GARNET.)
2nd Quarter, or SOME SCORIN' FINALLY
Mitch throws a horrific pass on 2nd and it's 3rd and 13. He hits Byrd on the slant, but it won't gain enough. Another punt for GARNET. Cooper lets it bounces through the endzone.
Dylan to Davis on a checkdown loses a yard. Oof. Pass to Byrd gains the one yard back. 5 wide on 3rd and 10. Dylan throws off his back foot, a surefire pick right at Chaz Elder, except he drops it like a brick. I think this was a bad idea, y'all. Cooper, now in garnet, returns it for 11.
1st and 10 at the GARNET 48. Mitch hands it to Davis—yet another loss. Mitch's pass on 2nd is picked by Elder—no, he was out of bounds. Elder can't catch a break. 3rd and 11, and it's a screen to Davis—hey, it works! 16 yard gain almost doubles GARNET's total yardage. 1st and 10 at the WHITE 37. Mitch rolls to one side, has nothing, turns and throws it away to the OTHER side of the field. Uh...okay? Incomplete on 2nd, so it's 3rd and 10. Mitch throws his best ball of the day, hitting Byrd on the sideline for a 27 yard completion. It's 1st and goal at the 10. Mitch hits Jones for 7. I formation. Give to the fullback McLaurin, and he'll plow through.
After the touchback, WHITE starts from the 25. Dylan to Roland on the screen for a hard-earned zero yard reception. He then hits Busta for 7, but a 4th down handoff to Davis goes nowhere. Punt. Cooper with a pretty 16 yard return, and GARNET has it at their own 34.
Mitch has found a rhythm—he hits Damiere for 16. Offset I, fakes the handoff. Mitch with YEARS in the pocket, and finally unloads to find Shaq Roland for 39 yards. To give you an idea of how much time Mitch had, Roland ran from the 50 yard line, to the back of the endzone, then came back and caught the ball at the 10. Anyway, 1st and 10 at the 11. Davis gains 5, but loses 3 on 2nd. GARNET Davis now has 5 rushes for -0 yards. But a halfback screen on 3rd down works—it's Brandon Wilds who runs it in.
Touchback. WHITE's offense has been completely ineffective this quarter, and most of the game really. Gain of 8 on 1st on a pass to Byrd, then Davis rumbles for 5. 1st down. Dylan with a pretty ball to Jones for 13, and the ball's on the WHITE 49. Handoff to Davis—he gains 10, but fumbles! GARNET gathers it up!
GARNET ball at their own 43. Give to Davis gains 4—timeout, GARNET. 1:20 remains in the half. Mitch with time—throws a bad ball, and it's picked by Sidney f'n Rhodes! WHITE gets it right back, essentially where it had it before they turned it over.
Dylan finds Jones for 18—ball now at the GARNET 28. Dylan to Cooper for 8, but it's followed by a loss for Davis. On 3rd down, Dylan hits Damiere Byrd on a corner route—he's out at the 1. Byrd having a big day for both squads! I formation, :40 seconds left. Give to McLaurin goes nowhere, but GARNET was offsides. Give to Brandon Wilds does not get in. Dylan will drop back—has to throw it away. So it's 3rd and goal from the 1 yard line. I formation. And, uh, Dylan drops back and IMMEDIATELY launches it into the 10th row. K. Fry comes on—the chipshot is good.
Touchback, and GARNET will have 18 seconds if they care to try to score. Mitch will throw—no he won't. Sacked, and boy that looked like a fumble but I guess it wasn't. They give it to Davis, he gains nice yardage and is dropped short of the 1st down line. Timeout—I guess GARNET's gonna try to make something happen here? But Mitch is swarmed on 3rd and hte pass is incomplete. They'll punt—time runs out on the return.
FIRST HALF ANALYSIS
So far, there isn't a ton of separation between the two signal callers. Dylan is 16/24 for 151; Mitch is 11/20 for 141, 1 TD, 1 INT. Let's see how each fares down the stretch. WHITE gets the ball out of the half.
3rd Quarter, or RUNS 'N BOMBS
Touchback. Dylan on the keeper gains 9. Option on 2nd—Mike Davis gains a pair, moving the chains. 2 more for Davis on 1st—he's averaging less than 2 per carry. Dylan on the keeper gains 7. 3rd and 1, it's a pitch to Wilds and he'll lose yards. WHITE continues to struggle—Dylan didn't throw it once on that drive. Punt goes through the endzone.
Davis takes the delay for 9. Mitch hits Byrd on the drag route for 8 more, and it's a 1st down. Pass to Jones for just 2, then to Anderson for 4. It's 3rd and 4 on the GARNET 42. The pocket collapses, and Mitch is tackled near the line of scrimmage. GARNET will punt. Cooper gains 7, and WHITE takes over on their own 23.
Thompson to Jones for 6. Dylan than keeps it for 10 more. He then hits Jerell Adams for 18 more—WHITE moves into GARNET territory. Screen pass to Roland loses 2. Davis on the sweep gains 4. Empty backfield— Dylan's pass is incomplete, and WHITE will call for a FIFTY EIGHT yard field goal. No good.
Mitch on the keeper gains 9.5. Give to Davis gets 6 more. Then 10 more for Mitch on a keeper. Then 12 more for Davis. GARNET is runnin' the dang ball alright. Another give—this time to Wilds, and he'll streak in for the score!
21-6, GARNET. It's a 57 yard drive, all on the ground.
Touchback. Dylan's first past is hella incomplete, but on 2nd down, it's the patented Dylan to Damiere go route—Damiere actually bowls over a defender after making the catch, and continues in for the score. It's a 75 yard touchdown for WHITE.
Will GARNET respond? After the touchback, it's Mitch to Roland for 28. Then to Roland again for just 2. I formation on 2nd down—Mitch connects with Anderson, who's taken down just shy of the line to gain. And that's how the quarter will end.
4th Quarter, or WELL THIS DIDN'T DECIDE MUCH
3rd and inches on the WHITE 37. I form. Give to Davis, and he busts through for 9—1st down. Wilds gains 2, and then 1. It's 3rd and 7. Mitch is pressured, and throws it away, perhaps a bit prematurely. GARNET Fry will come on for, believe it or not, a reasonable 41 yard field goal. It's good.
Touchback. Play action on 1st. Dylan bouncing in the pocket. Finally airs one out—he misses Nick Jones by about three feet. 5 wide on 2nd and 10. Dylan hits KJ Brent, who carries a tackler about 8 yards, resulting in a 19 yard reception. Bubble screen to Byrd—gains 3. Then to Roland for 13—1st down on the GARNET 40. Dylan keeps the zone read for 13 more. Give to Davis, and he'll gain 15—he's got just 35 yards. 1st and 10 inside the 15. Dylan to Jeffery for 8. I formation, and Dylan drops back—what—and is sacked. 3rd and 9. Halfback screen nearly works, but Davis is down short of the line to gain. And what's this? They'll go for it on 4th and 1. Dylan drops back—SMH—and is sacked—SMDH. And the DigiMitch crowd goes wild.
GARNET takes over at their own 10, up 11 with just 3:35 remaining in the game. Mitch scrambles for 9 on 1st. Then Davis gains 6—1st down. Davis gains just 1 on 1st, and WHITE calls timeout. Davis will gain 4 on 3rd—another timeout. Huge 3rd and 5. Another give to Davis, and he has a huge hole. Gain of 10. WHITE is out of timeouts. Davis takes it 7 on 1st down, but loses a yard on 3rd. Doesn't matter—GARNET can snap it just before the clock, and render the last down needless. They do so—game over.
TEAM MITCH defeats TEAM THOMPSON, 24-13.
Here are your QB stats:
While Mitch squired his team to victory, the comparison doesn't especially favor one quarterback over the other. Dylan hit a longball that boosted his yardage, and he needed every yard of that longball to squeak by with the higher average YPP. In fairness, WHITE was the victim of some truly idiotic playcalling—Fry was asked to convert a pair of 55+ yard field goals, remember.
So anyway, if you take one thing away from this week's ODS, let it be that the feature is not an accurate means of settling perceived quarterback controversies. Although this one time it predicted we'd beat Mizzou in double overtime. Have I mentioned that before?