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Our Digital Season: Week 5—South Carolina at Missouri

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It's the DigiCocks at the DigiTigers!

Greetings, digisports fans! Last week, ODS came pretty darn close, calling for a 27-17 victory over the UCF Knights. That was pretty good! But we don't rest on our laurels around here.

Except for one laurel. You know the one. We gon' rest on that bitch for ages.

Speaking of which: Why, hello Missouri. WE MEET AGAIN ON THE DIGIGRIDIRON. Remember when we sealed your fate two autumns past? Ring any bells? Maybe some, ah, doubly overtimed bells? Bells which we completely, totally, with 100% accuracy predicted would...happen. (Can bells happen?)

Nevermind. It's always a joyful reminder, when DigiMizzou week arrives, of just how damn important Our Digital Season is. Sometimes I wonder: Why do they even bother playing the IRL games? A waste of resources, I say.

At any rate, let's get into it. ColaWest winds absolutely GUSTING at 21 miles per hour. South Carolina will receive.

First Quarter, or I BELIEVE THIS CONSTITUTES A GOOD START

The game begins, after a touchback, with a 12 yard completion to DJ Neal, followed by a 12 yarder to Jerell Adams, followed by a 24 yarder to Terry Googer, followed by a 10 yarder to Pharoh Cooper, followed by a 13 yard sweep for Shon Carson, followed by a 4 yard speed option pitch to Carson for a touchdown. A well-oiled machine, that fightin' DigiCock offense! 7-0, Gamecocks.

1st and 10 at the 25 for Mizzou, who does jack on the drive. Three runs, total of 3 yards. Punt, Pharoh gets it to the SC 35.

It's DigiNuñez on the keeper—and he breaks free, finally dragged down 40 yards later. 1st and 10 on the 25. Then it's Carson for 12 more on the zone read give. Jump ahead to 3rd and 2 at the 5 yard line—it's another speed option, but this time Mizzou snuffs it out for no gain. Freisman converts the easy 3. 10-0, Gamecocks.

Mizzou starts the drive at their own 24. Lock completes consecutive wheel routes to a perfectly healthy Russell Hansbrough, and just like that it's 1st and 10 in Gamecock territory. Then it's to Leftwich for 14 more. A fourth consecutive play-action pass, but this time Lock will throw it away. Jump to 3rd and 6, and Lock overthrows the crap out of his man. Baggett on for the 40 yarder—it's true. 10-3.

Touchback. Carolina comes out in the I, and Carson takes it for 3, then 12 more on the sweep! He's up to 48 yards in the first quarter. Jump to 2nd and 9, and it's DigiNuNu to Heard for 10. 1st and 10 at the Mizzou 48. Jump to 3rd and 4. Screen pass to David Williams, but they're all over it—loss of 4. SC will punt from just inside the Mizzou 50. Kelly can't spin it back, and it's a touchback.

Mizzou keeps play-actioning, and why not? 12 for Leftwich. Two plays later and it's another Leftwich grab for 15. Jump to 3rd and 4, when Lock finds Laurent underneath for juuuust enough. Let's jump to 3rd and 4 again. Empty backfield, and it's complete just shy of the line to gain. They'll go for it on 4th, and Lock will keep it on a zone read—but Rico McWilliams is there off the edge to make the stop! Turnover on downs.

2nd Quarter, or PLENTY O' OFFENSE

Back to back receptions to Jerell Adams move the chains. A dumpoff and a 4 yard run move 'em again. Then it's improv time for DigiNuNu, who scrambles from a collapsing pocket for 18 yards. Then 7 more in the same fashion. This time he'll pass—it's to Shamier Jeffery on the bubble screen. And holy smokes, it works! He runs it in for the score. 17-3, Gamecocks.

A touchback later, Lock finds Brown for 13. Lock hits Laurent on a couple short balls for a first down. Then scrambles for 6—ball now in SC territory . Hansbrough takes it 7 more (for a 1st) then 8 more after that. Lock scrambles for 9, and Mizzou is in the SC red zone. Jump to 3rd and 2. Speed option—nothing doing. It's field goal time. Up and good, and it's 17-6, Gamecocks.

The DigiCocks begin from their own 20. Nuñez keeps it on a read and gains 11. Carson takes it off tackle, and he continues to run well—he'll gain 16. After a no gain and a sack, it's 3rd and 14. A delayed handoff almost works, but Carson is ankle tackled after 6. Punt. Touchback.

South Carolina has 266 yards of offense so far—3:20 remains in the half.

y. Mizzou gains 15 on the screen, and it's 1st and 10 at the 35. Lock is clobbered on 1st, but just after he throws it away. Jump to 3rd and 4. And then, oh man—Mizzou runs a halfback screen (just like we dun' did to them back in '13) and Witter takes it 61 yards to the house. 17-13, Gamecocks.

The kickoff goes out of bounds—a rare occasion for this game's AI. 1st and 10, and Shon Carson continues to run well, taking it 14 yards—but he's hurt! Nuñez throws it away on 1st—his first incompletion, actually. He follows it with his second incompletion. But the streak ends there, as he finds Jerell Adams down the seam! It's 1st and 10 at the 23. Screen pass to Neal, and it works! He takes it 16 yards and it's 1st and goal. Nuñez hits Kyle freakin' Markway for an almost touchdown (apparently this game wants him to score against his home state team—how nice.) David Williams runs it in on the next play, and it's 24-13, Carolina.

Alas, we're informed Shon Carson is out for the game.

Mizzou takes over and immediately gains 18 on a slant route. Then 7 more on a sideline completion to Leftwich. Clock at 1:39. It's 7 more for Leftwich, and the ball's in SC territory. Another halfback screen gains 5. Then another screen loses 2. Five wide. Lock checks down to Laurent, and he won't gain enough. Puntin' time—fair caught at the 10, and South Carolina has 25 seconds and 2 timeouts to do somethin' with it if they want. Nuñez will drop back, for some reason—he ends up scrambling for 8, and we'll take it to the half.

HALFTIME ANALYSIS

A good half offensively for the Cocks. Nuñez is a lovely 15/17 for 157 and a touchdown, and has run for 81 yards. Sadly, Carson's day ends with 95 yards and a touchdown. Mizzou's been almost as good at racking up yards, but not as good at finishing drives—they're 2/7 on 3rd down and 0/1 on 4th. The Tigers get the ball out of the half.

3rd Quarter, or PLEASE ENJOY SOME BAD FOOTBALL

Kick returned to the 26. Lock keeps it and runs for 11. Then he does that exact same thing. Then he airs one out—Lammons whiffs on a surefire pick, and instead it's caught and taken 52 yards to the 1 yard line. 1st down: Lock drops back, for some reason, and is sacked by Cedrick Cooper for a loss of 8. Then it's freshman Antoine Wilder on the corner sack, and we've gone from 1st and goal from the inch line to 3rd and goal at the 15. Lock then throws it out of the back of the endzone a millisecond before Abu Lamin crunches him into the turf. Lock is hurt (just a minor injury, tho.) Disastrous run for Mizzou, and the Gamecocks D escapes allowing just a field goal. 24-16, Gamecocks.

Touchback. Give to Williams, and he gains 11. Jump to 1st and 10 on the SC 48. Give to Williams for 5—they're pounding it this drive. Then Nuñez drops back—and gets tangled up in a morass of blocking, eventually just kinda crumpling down for a sack. A weird play call on 3rd and 8—handoff up the gut—and SC will punt. Returned to the 18.

Mizzou starts 5 wide—and it's Cedrick Cooper with his 2nd sack! Lock has been smashed on his past 4 dropbacks. Jump to 3rd and 11. Lock launches one—but it's well overthrown. Mizzou will punt, and Pharoh takes it across the 50.

1st and 10 from the Mizzou 47. Nuñez gives up on the pass and tries to scramble, but he's sacked for a loss of 6. But David Williams makes up for it with a 15 yard run on the sweep. 3rd and 1, and Williams is stuffed. So out comes Elliott Fry, for a 55 yard field goal, into 20 mile an hour wind. SMDH. He misses it, obviously, and Mizzou takes over with delightful field position.

But Mizzou doesn't do anything with it—so it amounts to a field flip. Punt, and South Carolina takes over at the 25.

A pair of Dave Williams runs gains 11 total. Jump to 2nd and 7, when Nuñez drops back, immediately scrambles, is sacked and fumbles. But they fall on it, so it's 3rd and 15. Screen pass to David Williams, who just runs it outta bounds after gaining 4. Punt, and Mizzou takes over at its own 44. Man this has been a crappy quarter of fake football, huh?

Jump to 3rd and 3, and Lock keeps it for a gain of 9. Ball now at the SC 40. Lock completes it to Laurent for 8. Throws it away on 2nd, then keeps it on 3rd for a gain of 10. 1st and 10, and Lock is clotheslined on the option keeper for no gain. A 5 yard run by Hansbrough ends this crappy-ass quarter.

4th Quarter, or LOSING THEN REGAINING DISTANCE

3rd and 5. Lock throws it across the field to Leftwich, who gains 8, and it's 1st and goal. Lock keeps it for 2, then keeps it for a loss of 1 and an injury. In comes Eddie Printz who wastes no time in running it in for the score. They'll go for 2 and the tie. There's Larenz Bryant on the stop! So it's 24-22, Gamecocks, 7:12 remaining.

Carolina begins the drive at its own 22. Nuñez scrambles for 9—he's giving up on passes awful quickly lately. Zone read keeper, and he gains 13 more. Nuñez to Cooper on the slant—just his second reception of the game, but it gains 20. Ball at the Mizzou 36. DigiNuNu finds Adams, and he'll muscle ahead for 13. Then it's 7 yards on the keeper. Zone read is blown up on 2nd down, and that brings up a big 3rd and 6 at the Mizzou 19. Halfback screen to Williams—caught, he gets a block, and he streaks in! 31-22, South Carolina. 5:27 remains.

Touchback. we're informed that Lock will miss three weeks with a sprained elbow, so it's Printz's game. Jump to 3rd and 3. The sweep to Hasnbrough gains just 2, and it's 4th and 1. Mizzou deems it a now or never, and come out in a jumbo set. Witter is met at the line, but gets just enough, and the chains move. Keeper, an Holloman reads it right—he twists Printz down for a 4 yard loss. Printz takes the snap, and it's Cedrick Cooper there for his third sack of the game! 3rd and 20, and it's a screen—South Carolina reads it though, and the gain is just 2 yards. Mizzou has to punt.

South Carolina takes over at its own 32. Williams runs for 4, and for some reason they're not milking the clock. But oh well—Nuñez keeps it for a gain of 38. He's got 132 yards rushing, and that's net, son. Now they're milking it. Give to Williams gains 3, then another for 7 and a big 1st down. Mizzou has to call timeout. Short gain, timeout. Same thing. It's 3rd and 5 inside the 10 and the clock ticks down. No gain, so Freisman will come on for a short field goal. It's good, and it's 34-22, South Carolina with 1:10 remaining. Surely this two score, 4th quarter lead is safe...surely...

Touchback. Three incompletions, and it's 4th and 10. Printz finds Nate Brown, but it's a gain of just 6 and South Carolina will take over. Victory formation, game over.

South Carolina wins, 34-22.

SC STAT MIZZOU
518 Total Yards 409
223 Pass Yards 314
295 Rush Yards 95
0 Turnovers 0
2/9 3DC 6/17 (1/3 4DC)
L. Nuñez: 21/23, 223 YDS, 2 TD, 16 ATT, 128 YDS OPOTG D. Lock: 25/34, 306 YDS, 1 TD, 19 ATT, 49 YDS
C. Cooper: 3 TACK, 3 TFL, 3 SACK DPOTG M. Scherer: 9 TACK, 2 TFL, 1 SACK

South Carolina overcomes some pretty abysmal 3rd down numbers by, basically, not having many 3rd downs and instead just getting yards in big-ass bunches on 1st and/or 2nd. Nuñez has the kind of game that, IRL, would make Carolina fans everywhere wonder if hey maybe there's a hope that we can beat LSU next week and then win out and maybe Spurrier should stay for 10 more years! Anyway, hell of a game for DigiNuNu. Mizzou put up some big offensive numbers but couldn't finish drives—which is an IRL issue of theirs, once again verifying the sage abilities of ODS. By the way, if you've been miserable with the IRL Gamecocks, keep following the digital version—they're 4-0!