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Our Digital Season: Week 3 — South Carolina at Vanderbilt

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It's the DigiCocks vs. the DigiDores!

Frederick Breedon

Howdy, folks! ODS is back on the correctly-predicting-outcomes side of things after calling for the Georgia upset last week. While ODS thought it'd be a little more lopsided than it was, a win's a win. ODS is now 1-2 on the year.

It's week 4 and the digiCocks head to Nashville for a showdown with an overmatched Vanderbilt squad. But it's a road game in the SEC, and anything can happen. As you'll see, almost anything does happen.

Gamecocks win the toss and will kick. Touchback.

1st Quarter, or INCREDULOUS GLARES FOR EVERYBODY

Vandy begins at its own 25. JT Surratt with the quick TFL, but that's followed by a 9 yard completion to Cunningham. Pass complete for 7 on 3rd, and it's 1st down. Seymour runs for 13 on two plays, and Vanderbilt has a 1st down in South Carolina territory. Again it's Seymour, gaining 8. Then it's Robinette to Sheu for a sizable gain on the sideline—Vandy's at the 21. Jump to 3rd and 7—a halfback delay goes nowhere, and the DigiDores will settle for 3 after a relatively effective opening drive.

3-0, DigiDores

After a short return, SC will begin at its own 24. Handoff to Davis gains 3. Zone read give to Davis—he stiffarms a tackler in the backfield and streaks for a 23 yard gain. 1st and 10 at the 50. Play action, and its DigiDylDyl to Jones for 15. Short pass to Busta brings up 2nd and 4. Dylan to Byrd over the middle for 8. After a no-gain for Wilds, Davis knifes for 10. Jump to 3rd and goal from the 5. Dylan and Wilds are back—Brandon gets it and is dragged down at the 1. 4th and 1 on the 1 yard line—and they'll kick it. Perhaps DigiSpurrier is also Bizarro Spurrier.

"Coach DigiSpurrier, why kick the field goal on 4th and 1 at the 1 yard line." [incredulous glare] "You kiddin' me? 4th and 1? I mean, it's FOURTH DOWN. Take the points!"

After a pair of promising drives stall out in the red zone, it's 3-3.

After a touchback, Vandy begins in the I Formation. Seymour gets it, and TJ Holloman is there for the tackle in the backfield. Another I formation, another handoff to Seymour, another tackle for loss by Holloman. It's 3rd and 14 so, of course, Robinette hits CJ Duncan for a 79 yard touchdown bomb.

10-3, DigiDores.

Touchback. Dylan finds Busta for 14 over the middle. There has yet to be an incomplete pass in this game. Dylan gives to Davis, and he bursts ahead for 10. Davis is sniffing 50 yards this quarter. Wilds, on the other hand, has 7 yards on 3 touches after that 3 yard gain. He tacks on 4 more, and it's 3rd and 3 at the Vandy 43. Give to McLaurin for a fullback dive gains 3, and it's 4th and inches. And...uh...it appears Elliott Fry will attempt a 58 yard field goal.

"Coach DigiSpurrier, 4th and inches, why not go for it instead of kick a low percentage field goal?" [incredulous glare] "You kiddin' me? Four and inches? You kick the 58 yard field goal every time!"

Anyway, he does not make it.

1st and 10 Vandy on their own 41. Robinette to Kentera for 9. Seymour then finds a hole, gains 11, but loses two on the next play. Quarter over.

2nd Quarter, or THIS ISN'T GOOD

But then Robinette hits Kentera for the deep ball—he's five steps ahead of Elder and Harris—and it's another touchdown.

17-3, Vanderbilt.

The kick is brought out to the 30. A weird glitch occurs where Dylan Thompson drops back two steps and then throws a wounded duck off his back foot about 20 yards downfield into 4 Vandy defenders. Mercifully, it is dropped. Halfback screen pass to Davis gains 9. 3rd and 1 and they'll run a speed option—Dylan manages to pitch it to Davis, and it's an 8 yard gain. 1st and 10 now, and Davis takes the sweep, stiffarming another would-be-tackle-for-loss and gaining 10. Dylan hits Cooper on the sideline—he blows up a tackler and gains 19. 1st and 10 at the Vanderbilt 23. It's Dylan to Shamier Jeffery on the slant, complete—and he wiggles free from the tackler and brings it in for the score!

17-10, DigiDores.

Touchback—let's see if Whammy puts, like, 9 safeties on the field at all times. Seymour runs for 8 on 1st down. He gains the 1st on the next play. Then two more Seymour runs—good lord is he getting a lot of touches—and Vandy crosses into Carolina territory. After another Seymour rush (-2) and a Kimbrow rush (4), it's 3rd and 8. Pass complete to Cunninghaim for 7.5 Now it's Vandy's turn to kick an insanely long field goal on 4th and inches.

No good.

Carolina comes out with a chance to tie it. Dylan gains 6 on the keeper and is tackled in hilarious fashion. Give to Mike Davis gains 8—he's up to 73 yards and is averaging more than 9 a carry. I formation on 1st, and it's a draw to Davis—he loses a yard. 5 wide on 2nd and 12—and Dylan throws a pick 6 to a Paris Head. Strong name. Also, oof.

24-10, Dores.

Ensuing kick return to the 20 yard line. Wilds gains 7 on 1st. Dylan hangs in the pocket for waaaay too long and loses 8 on the sack. 3rd and 11, and a halfback screen pass to Davis gains just 3. Punt, brought back to the Vandy 41.

1st and 10 for Vandy with 2:50 remaining. Robinette is sacked by a blitzing Kaiwan Lewis. Seymour is stood up by, you guessed it, Holloman, and it's 3rd and 15. Assume the worst. But what do you know, it's a screen pass for just 2. Vanderbilt will punt the ball right back, and Cooper returns it to the 25.

5 wide. Dylan to Jones for 4. Vandy's pass coverage as of late has been stellar. Another drop back, and Thompson throws it into a cloud of Vanderbilt players. Incomplete. Another near pick, and it's 4th and 6. Punt.

Vandy will begin its drive from their own 32 with 1:33 remaining. Robinette to Scheu for 7, and the Dores call timeout. Then to Duncan for 8. Nearing midfield, Robinette drops back again and tries to go deep—but this time, he gets burned as Brison Williams snags it for the pick!

Gamecocks have 1:11 and 2 timeouts to try to score before the half—remember, they get the ball back, so there's potential for a major swing. Oh good, Dylan decides to scramble after going through his reads for one (1) second and is sacked. But he hits Shamier Jeffery for 18 on the next play, followed by 18 more to Byrd. It's 1st and 10 with :44 remaining on the Vanderbilt 47. Dylan to Pharoh on the drag route gains 14. Dylan goes underneath to Busta for 9, but the clock's ticking. Hurry up offense. Dylan goes deep—and it's picked in the end zone.

Vanderbilt runs it once and burns the clock out.

FIRST HALF ANALYSIS

Dylan Thompson does not like to play football in Nashville. Actually, he's not having a terrible game from an pass efficiency standpoint, but drives are not being completed.

3rd Quarter, or DAT SC DEFENSE

Shon Carson's like "I've had ENOUGH of this!" but still only returns it to the 26. Dylan to Jones for 19, most of which came after the catch. 5 wide, and it's Jones with 8 more. Dylan's actually 16/21, but he's got 2 picks and, I think, all of his incompletions should have been intercepted. Oh wait, make that 3 picks as he tries the stupid bubble screen that never works on this game.

Vanderbilt takes over at their own 38. They lose 4 on the first play. Seymour's run 17 times for 2.6 YPC. He gets all 4 back, and it's 3rd and 10. Vandy gains 9.5, and will punt. Man these digiCoaches are weenies. Carolina takes over at the 21.

Dylan to Jerell for 8, then scrambles for a gain of 7. 1st down and another horrifyingly careless screen, but it actually works and gains 6. Dylan throws it away on 2nd. But it's Dylan to Jones for 11 on 3rd, and Carolina's into Vandy territory. Dylan gains 7 on the keeper. Then zero on another keeper. 3rd and 3 now. Davis gets it up the middle and gains 5. Carolina was 1/5 on 3rd downs entering this drive, and is 2/2 since. Dylan with another keeper and, holy crap, he gains 20. 1st and 10 at the Vandy 15. Dylan drops back and finds Byrd for 9.5. It's 2nd and inches. We're informed that Nick Jones is out for the game with turf toe. Ouch! Meanwhile, Davis runs it to the 2 yard line. 1st and goal and Dylan tries to take it in himself and loses a yard and, guess what? He's injured! Connor Mitch comes in—and immediately hits Busta for a touchdown. Well, okay then!

24-17, Dores.

After the touchback, Vandy loses a yard on a pass to the flat—SIDNEY RHODES with the tackle for loss. But a gain of 10.5 makes it 3rd and inches. Robinette has missed on one pass all game, the interception. Handoff to Seymour on the outside—and he's tackled for a loss! Vanderbilt will punt and, yet again, Carolina gets the chance to tie. Vandy gains all of 15 yards in the 3rd quarter.

They'll have to do it with Connor Mitch at the helm, though. 1st and 10 from their own 33. Gain of 3 for Davis. Mitch to Byrd gains 6.5, and it's 3rd and inches. Davis gains 5, and it'll move the chains. Mitch is nearly picked off on 1st. Empty backfield, and Mitch hits Cooper on the sideline for 15. Mitch gains 7 on the keeper, and it's 2nd and 3 on the Vanderbilt 30. Another keeper for Mitch and he gains 9. Drops back and hits Jeffery for 11 on the slant, and it's now 1st and 10 at the Vanderbilt 11. Delayed handoff to Wilds gains 1, and the quarter will end.

4th Quarter, or MITCH PLEASE NO REALLY PLEASE

It's Mitch to Roland on the crossing route, and it's a big 3rd and 3 inside the 5. Mitch keeps it—he's met at the 2, but he shakes the tackler and runs it in! Touchdown!

24-24.

Touchback, and Vandy will start at its own 25. We're informed Dylan's out for the game with a mild concush, so it's Mitch's game. But first, defense! Seymour gets another touch, and loses yards—but also, it's clipping on Vanderbilt. So it'll be 1st and 23. Robinette throws a bad ball, the first time he's thrown a true incompletion. He follows it with another, and it's 3rd and 23. I formation. Uh, they give it to Seymour as if it's a routine run play and he's tackled for a loss by Skai Moore (his first tackle of the game, oddly.) Weird play call, IMHO. Vandy punts from its own end zone. Boy did someone rough the shit out of the punter, but no call, so Carolina starts from the Vandy 46.

Empty backfield, and Mitch hits Byrd for 9.5. Connor Mitch on the keeper, and he gains 9. 1st and 10 on the Vanderbilt 28. Mitch again drops back, and—oof—throws a dangerous pass that is picked off at the 4 yard line. Vandy ball.

Seymour runs for 7—the kid has heart, despite his 2.5 average. On 2nd and 3, Seymour gains nothing. I formation—Seymour will get it, and he gains 5 for the 1st. Robinette throws it away, then Seymour gains 6. A four yard gain on 3rd down moves the chains. Kimbrow gains 6 on the run, then Seymour gains 2, then 4 more to move the chains. 1st and 10 on the Vandy 40. No gain on 1st. Robinette decides to go deep—and it's Brison Williams with his second pick of the game, both in one on one coverage!

Carolina will start at its own 38 with 3:34 remaining. Tie game. Connor Mitch on the zone read keeper gains 2. Mitch finds Byrd for 14, and it's a 1st down in Vandy territory. But Mitch lingers in the pocket on 1st and is sacked for a loss of 8. A screen on 2nd gains just 4, and it's 3rd and 14. Ace backfield, and Mitch hits Byrd for 13. Holy crap, this is prime "insane field goal" territory. 4th and 1 at the Vanderbilt 40 yard line. Indeed, Fry will kick a 56 yarder.

[incredulous glare] "Are you kidding me? 4th and 1? Our kicker already proved this is out of his range? A miss will give the opposition ball at midfield with a shot at a gamewinner? Of course go for the field goal!"

No good, and Vandy has it at its own 39 with 2:10 remaining. Robinette's pass on 1st gains just 1. Then he scrambles for 18. A dumpoff to Seymour is good for 8. 5 wide, and Robinette finds Wilkins for 15. Clock under a minute and Vanderbilt's on its own 20. Run to Seymour, and the drain the clock to 5 seconds. A game winning chipshot is at hand.

But...uh...they don't call timeout. And the clock runs out. Look, I don't know what to tell you, but that's what happened. We go to overtime.

Overtime, or A FAMILIAR SEQUENCE FOR CAROLINA

Carolina wins the toss and will go defense first. But Robinette immediately completes a 22 yard pass, and it's 1st and goal at the 3. I formation, and Seymour gains 2. He then loses 1—that kid can't catch a break. 3rd and goal at the 2. Ace backfield, and this time Seymour gets in.

31-24, Vandy.

Carolina needs a touchdown. Mitch drops back and tries to find Busta in the end zone—deflected. 2nd and 10. The pass is complete to Deebo Samuel, whose redshirt we just done burned. 1st down. Mitch has nothing, throws it away. 2nd and 10—Mitch is like, "Hey, I'll run this in myself!" Except, sacked for a loss of 6. 3rd and 16. Mitch has a man, but throws it away about ten feet over his head. So it's 4th and 16 and we need a touchdown. Shades of Missouri last year! Do we have more magic? Holy crap, yes! It's Mitch to Brent in the back of the endzone for six! Insane.

31-31.

Double Overtime, or YOU CAN JUST SKIP TO 3RD OVERTIME

Pass to Busta complete on 1st. I formation, and the give is to Davis. He gets around the age and gains 11! 1st and goal from the 5. Mitch drops back and calmly lobs one to the sideline—but Davis is there! He runs it in for six. Carolina leads.

38-31.

Vandy needs a touchdown. Pass on 1st—deflected by Elder. But Robinette finds Duncan for 9.9999, and it's 3rd and inches. Seymour dots the I. He gains .0001 yards, and it's 1st and 10. 5 wide— Robinette hits Rayford for 4 on the sideline. Seymour runs for 8, and it's 1st and goal at the 3. On the next play, Robinette has an entire side of the field to himself and runs it in.

38-38.

Double Overtime, or SOMETHING'S GOTTA GIVE RIGHT (SPOILER: YES)

Vandy lines up with one back and they'll attempt a halfback screen—it's blown up for a loss of four! 2nd and 14— Robinette drops back and fires. Dropped! 3rd and long, huge play here. Has a man in the corner—JJ Marcus leaps in to break it up! But, an offsides penalty on Larenz Bryant bails out Vandy. It's now 3rd and 9. Robinette drops back—and he's swallowed up by Darius English! It's a loss of 8. They'll have to settle for the field goal. The kick is up and, oh boy does it squeak in.

41-38, Vanderbilt. Gamecocks can score for the win.

Mitch drops back and hits Brent—no, he drops it! 2nd and 10, and Mitch throws it away in less than a second. Uh, okay, shake it off. 3rd and 10. It's a halfback screen to Wilds—he dodges a tackler, and another! Finally knocked out at the 4 yard line! It's 1st and goal at the 4.

RUN. THE. BALL.

Nope, slant to Brent. Complete, but he's down at the one.

Ahem, let's try that again. RUN. THE. BALL.

2nd and goal. Offset I. Give to Wilds—and, hallelujah, he runs in untouched!

GAMECOCKS WIN IN TRIPLE OT, 44-41.

Let's hope it does not come to this. But, holy crap, what a game. This tops last year's CORRECTLY PREDICTED double overtime win over Missouri as the nuttiest ODS I've ever seen. For real, doe: would sacrifice the correct prediction to not have to suffer through the above, especially against Vanderbilt.

Connor Mitch is awarded the Player of the Game for his off-the-bench efforts—and indeed, 15/22, 148, 3 TD, 1 INT line ain't bad for your first collegiate action given the circumstances. My POTG differs (see below) but, man, what a storyline. Carolina spent much of this game trailing, and more than a full quarter trailing by 14 points. But the defense stepped up—Vanderbilt had just 93 yards in their scoreless second half. Granted, it was essentially an AI glitch that kept the game alive, but considering the DigiCocks are usually on the short end of the AI glitchstick. Let's look at some stats.

SC STAT VANDY
391 PASS YDS 274
167 RUSH YDS 108
558 TOTAL YDS 382
6-12 3RD DOWN CONV 7-14
4 (4 INT) TURNOVERS 2 (2 INT)
53% TOP 47%
C. Duncan: 4 REC, 199 YDS, 1 TD Offensive POTG M. Davis: 14 ATT, 98 YDS, 4 REC, 21 YDS, 1 TD
P. Head: 10 tackles, 2 INT, 1 TD, and his name is Paris Head so duh Defensive POTG B. Williams: 5 TACK, 2 TFL, 2 INT

As football games often are, it was a tale of two halves. South Carolina's D was outstanding in the second half, and the offense did just enough to push the game to OT. Three extra periods later, DigiCarolina heads home with the victory.

But again. Let's hope it doesn't come to this. Until next week!