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Our Digital Season: Week 10 — South Carolina v. Tennessee

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It's the DigiCocks v. the DigiVols!

Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to ODS, a feature that correctly the hell predicted a 7 point Auburn victory last week, cemented by a late Dylan Thompson interception in the red zone. Granted, beyond that there was little overlap—the 21-14 ODS final tells a story of two defenses that showed up to play, which, uh, was not the case.

But we surge ahead, this week our valiant digital squad taking on the digiVols in the friendly confines of the digi-Billy B. By the way, at the time of this writing, no decision has been made regarding the UT starting quarterback, so we go with digiWorley because I think it's the most fun digi- name to say. DigiWorley.

1st Quarter, or STARTIN' SLOW

UT wins the toss, will receive. Touchback.

Lane runs for 9. Then Worley on the keeper gains 12, and it's 1st and 10 at the UT 47. A two yard screen to North (NOOOORTH!) follows. Worley to Downs for 7. 3rd and 1. Worley is dropped on the keeper by a blitzing Brison Williams! UT will punt, despite being in SC territory. Punt is not good, and goes out at the 26.

1st and 10, South Carolina. Play action, and Dylan checks to Adams for just 2. Then it's Dylan to Roland on the cross route for 7 more. Offset I on 3rd down—aaaand a false start on AJ Cann will back it up. DigiSpurrier launches his visor. But Dylan bails 'em out, finding DigiPharoh for an 11 yard gain. 1st and 10 at the SC 43. Dylan to Jones again for 2, but then hits Adams on the comebacker for 8 and a 1st down. Dylan keeps the zone read and knifes for 16. Dylan, knifing. Ha! Anyway, ball is on the UT 31. I formation. Delayed handoff to Davis, who bowls over a tackler and gains 5 in traffic. Dylan overthrows an open digiDamiere, and it's 3rd and 5. Screen to Davis, will he get it? No, taken down just shy of the line to gain. DigiFreisman out for the field goal from 39, and it's good.

3-0, USC.

Touchback, so UT will begin from the 25. Play action and a quick pass to Malone in the flat, but he gains just 3. Screen pass, Worley has no where to go and launches it out of bounds. 3rd and 7. Worley has time—but Gerald Dixon breaks lose and will get the sack! A loss of 4, and Tennessee will punt. DigiCooper returns it for 11, and the Cocks begin at their own 46.

Play action on 1st, and Dylan will find Nick Jones for a 21 yard reception. Dylan gains 4 on the keeper. Then 7 more on another keeper, and it's 1st and 10. On 1st, Dylan absolutely hangs digiDamiere out to dry—clocked, incomplete. Sweep to Davis, gains just 3 around the edge, and it's 3rd and 7. Dylan gets excellent protection, and finds Drew Owens open! 1st and goal at the 6. Davis gets just 2 on 1st. This time it's to Wilds, who is brought down for a loss. that's how the quarter will end.

2nd Quarter, or FINALLY, SOME STUFF

3rd and goal from the 8. Dylan takes the snap in shotgun—and it's a delayed give to Mike Davis, who follows a few blocks into the endzone!

10-0, South Carolina.

Once again, a touchback. Worley connects with digiPig Howard for 8 on 1st, then an option loses a yard. 3rd and 2. It's another speed option, and this time Worley can't get rid of it before Gerald Dixon wraps him up for another tackle for loss. 4th down, and UT will punt. Cooper with a 10 yard return.

1st and 10 at the South Carolina 35 yard line. Ace backfield. Dylan has time in the pocket, but has to check down to Jerell Adams for a gain of 5. Another keeper for Dylan, but the blitz was on and he loses 2. 3rd and 7. They try the delayed handoff on 3rd, but this time it doesn't catch UT sleeping—gain of 1, and SC will punt it back.

1st and 10 UT on their own 25. Worley to North, but the pass is defended. (Could have used that last year, Ahmad.) Worley hits North again, and oh man—Brison Williams had him wrapped up for a short gain, but he breaks free and streaks for 47. Too plausible for comfort. 1st and 10 at the SC 28. Worley checks down to Lane, but he makes a nice move to gain 8. But let's move 'em back 5—false start. Worley's pass is deflected, and it's 3rd and 7. Worley to Lane out of the backfield, and he gains the 1st. 1st and 10 at the 11. Lane loses 4 on the ensuing run. Worley gets all 4 back on the next play, and it's 3rd and 11. And--guess who--Marquez North is wide int he back of the endzone for the score.

10-7, USC.

Touchback, so 1st and 10 from the SC 25. Dylan drops back, and fires a laser to Nick Jones, who gains 26. And on the ensuing play, it's Dylan Thompson to digiShaq Roland, who has 5 yards of separation from his man. It's a 49 yard touchdown.

17-7, USC. 2 plays, 75 yards—excellent response by the digiCocks.

Touchback. Worley flushed out of the pocket, throws to the other side of the field—and it's picked! Skai Moore jumps in front of it and runs it all the way back to the 18!

Gamecocks come out in the I. Give to Davis gains just 1—aside from his touchdown scamper, Davis hasn't done much. Dylan hits Damiere Byrd on the slant, and he gets all the way down to the 1 before he's dropped. On the next play, Mike Davis bulldozes his way in for the score.

24-7, South Carolina. 1:52 remains in the half, and the Cocks get the ball out of the locker room.

Touchback, Worley with time on 1st, and his pass is incomplete. He hits Howard on 2nd down for a gain of 6, but checks down to Lane for the 1st. Then it's Worley to Howard for 15 more. 1st and 10 on the South Carolina 44. Empty backfield. Pass to Pearson good for 6, then Smith for 14. UT giving Worley plenty of time—pass to Downs gains 9.5. Worley on the speed option gains nothing. 3rd and inches, and again Worley keeps it but gains 7. 1st and goal from the 7—make it the 12 after a false start. :47 remains. Worley to Lane for 8. Tennessee knocking on the door. Worley to Lane again, but he's dropped just shy of the endzone. Pass on 3rd is incomplete—RUN THE DANG BALL says everyone. UT will settle for a field goal.

24-10, South Carolina. SC has 16 seconds and 2 timeouts. Will they try anything?

Touchback. So many touchbacks. Total yardage at this point fairly even--208 for SC, 192 for UT. They'll run it into the pile, and that'll be the half.

1st Half Analysis

So far so good for South Carolina, who finds itself up two scores and getting ball out of the half. Thompson has looked great—12/14 for 164 and a touchdown here in the first half. The running game has yet to get going, which is somewhat foreboding considering clock milking drives could be helpful in the second half. DigiWorley finished the half strong, but has looked far from invincible. Can South Carolina maintain the two score lead?

3rd Quarter, or A BORING 2ND HALF WOULD BE NICE

You guessed it: touchback. The rare "bubble screen that was a good idea" gains 9—Roland on the catch. Davis continues to not find much room, but his 2 yards moves the chain. 2 more for Davis—he's now got 10 carries for 28 yards. Make that 11 for 31. 3rd and 5 now. And for the 4th consecutive play, Davis gets it—but gains a solid 7 and moves the chains. Dylan drops back on 1st, and finds Shaq Roland on the slant—he gains 13. 1st and 10 on the UT 39. Zone read was not read very well—Wilds dropped for a loss of 4. Dylan to digiJerelll on 2nd gains 7, so it's 3rd and 8. If the Gamecocks don't gain yards here, this is "insane field goal attempt range." And here we go, after a 2 yard gain. It's a 51 yard attempt—GOOD!

27-10, South Carolina. Those 2 yards on 3rd down prove vital, as Freisman's kick barely snuck over the crossbar.

Touchback. Empty backfield for Worley. His pass falls incomplete, defended by digiKadetrix Marcus. Lane for 4 on 2nd down, and it's 3rd and 6. Worley drops back, and gets it to Downs for juuust enough. 1st and 10. Worley is hit as he throws by Dixon, and it's incomplete. Blitz is picked up, and Worley finds a wide open Pig Howard for 19. 1st and 10 at the SC 45. Another picked up blitz, another big completion to Howard—this one goes for 25. The give to Lane gains 4. Worley keeps it on the zone read but fools no one—that's JT Surratt that wraps him up for the loss. 5 wide on 3rd and 8. Worley is flushed, and this time it's Gerald Dixon Jr. who makes the sack. Gerald Dixon, the dad, is surely beaming. Field goal is up and good.

27-13, South Carolina.

Touchback, obviously, so 1st and 10 from the 25. Dylan on the keeper, gains 8. South Carolina, as expected, running a good bit this half. They'll do it again, and Dylan totally stiff arms a bro and gains the 1st. Play action this time—Dylan rolls out, bounces for about 5 seconds, and launches one. It's picked—no, he's out of bounds, phew. On 2nd down, Thompson finds Byrd for 11. 1st down—Dylan gains 1 on the keeper. Dylan hits Shamier Jeffery in the flat, and he gains 5. 3rd and 4. Speed option blown up—why, why, why—and Hull will punt it. He nearly pins them deep, but instead it's a touchback.

1st and 10 from the 20. Worley goes down the sideline—McWilliams drops the surefire pick. And that's how the quarter ends. Good thing South Carolina's been great at not giving up big leads in the 4th...

4th Quarter, or MAINTAIN MAINTAIN MAINTAIN

Pass to Howard is complete, and he breaks a tackle for a few more—gain of 18. Delayed give to Lane gains 8. Worley keeps it for 9 more, and a 1st. Ball at the SC 45. Screen to the flat loses 3. A halfback screen gains just 2, and it's another 3rd and long. Worley with all day—goes deep, and it's incomplete. UT will go for it—maybe premature? Whatever the case, the pass falls incomplete. Turnover on downs.

1st and 10 at the SC 47. I formation. Delayed give to Davis gains 7. Then Dylan gains 11 on a keeper—he's got 46 yards rushing. Pass to Jones gains 7, and it's 2nd and 3. SC still snapping the ball in a hurry for some reason. Whatever the case, Dylan hits Byrd on the comebacker. 1st down. Dylan keeps it for a gain of 8. Give to Wilds, and he gains just enough. 1st and goal at the 9. Wilds again, and he gains 4. Cocks now draining the clock. Dylan drops back to pass, dear lord WHY, and nearly throws a pick. 3rd and goal, offset I. The give to Davis gains nothing, which is fine. Freisman comes on for the chipshot, and it's officially a 3 score game.

30-13, South Carolina.

Touchback. Worley drops back on 1st.  A pretty pass to Howard gains 20—Pig's up over 100 yards receiving now. Dumpoff to Lane gains 13. And 9 more for Lane. Then to Howard for 4, and a 1st down. Worley's nearing 300 yards passing. Croom gains 13—boy the defense has looked paltry on this drive. But hey, a pass breakup and a blown up screen make it 3rd and 15. Good response! But a 15 yard reception for Pig Howard. Bad response! 1st and goal at the 5. Worley throws it away. Then Mason Harris gets the sack on 2nd. Pass to Wharton on 3rd just gets them back to the original LOS. 4th down—Kadetrix Marcus bats it away, and it's another turnover on downs.

Carolina will run it once, and that's all they need. Ballgame.

Final Score: South Carolina 30, Tennessee 13.

UT STAT USC
315 PASS YDS 225
32 RUSH YDS 109
347 TOTAL YDS 334
6-13 (0-2 ON 4TH) 3RD DOWN CONV 4-9
1 INT TURNOVERS N/A
38% TOP 62%
P. Howard: 10 REC, 127 YDS Offensive POTG D. Thompson: 19/23, 225, 1 TD, 0 INT, 10 carries, 54 yards
A. Johnson: 8 tackles, 1 TFL Defensive POTG S. Rhodes (!!!): 6 tackles, 3 TFL, 2 PBU

A solid game for all units—hey, did you know that if all three units play well, you usually win? No, really! While the South Carolina offense wasn't particularly explosive—UT outgained them, you'll note—it was good enough at finishing drives, scoring on all but three and one of those was when the half ended. And special teams helped fortify the victory—9 points from the foot of Freisman, not including PATs. Carolina was barely over 100 yards rushing as a team, but at least it wasn't UT, which gained just 32. DigiWorley did well enough, but a pair of turnovers on downs in South Carolina territory neutralized some of that output. The digiCock defense amassed 10 tackles for loss including 3 sacks, by the way. And, uh, Sidney Rhodes did stuff.

Of course, Worley might not play and Jalen Hurd is really the feature back for UT, but I can't tell ODS to give the ball to, now can I? Anyway, have a good week, and go Cocks!