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Our Digital Season: Week 2—USC vs. Kentucky

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It's the DigiCocks vs. the DigiCats!

Welcome back! As you'll recall from week, Our Digital Season accurately predicted a victory over the Tarheels. What's more? It basically nailed UNC's pass yardage (236 ODS, 232 IRL). Other than that? Pretty much off the mark. But who cares, we crusin' at 100%, not unlike our beloved IRL Gamecocks.

On to Kentucky! Housekeeping: Waldrop out.

1st Quarter, or HELLA POINTS EARLY

SC wins toss, takes ball.

A completely healthy Deebo Samuel returns the opening kickoff to the 22. Playaction bootleg to the Gist for 10. Mitch then hits Heard for 16 on the slant, and the ball's across midfield. Mitch throws yet again—this time he hits Pharoh for 7. Wilds picks up 8 on the speed option, and it's 1st and 10 at the 33. Mitch finds Jerell Adams for 19 more. Jump to 3rd and 2, and Wilds is dropped just shy of the line to gain. It's 4th and inches at the Kentucky 4—and DigiSpurrier plays it uncharacteristically safe. Field goal is up and good. 3-0, DigiCocks.

Kentucky begins its drive at its own 26. Towles to Herrick in the flat, and a missed tackle allows him to streak for 25. Jump to 3rd and 2, and Towles finds Ryan Timmons on the go route. He burns Lammons, and takes it in for the score. 7-3, DigiCats.

Touchback. Mitch finds Heard for 11 on 1st. Two plays later, he finds Adams for 6 and the DigiCocks are in DigiCat territory. Mitch then scrambles for 11, then finds Adams for 30 on the slant. Connor Mitch is now 9/9 for 109 yards. The DigiCocks once again find themselves inside the DigiCat 10 yard line. And this time, they'll make hay—Mitch finds Wilds on the slant out of the backfield, and the DigiCocks go up 10-7.

Kentucky begins its drive at their own 28. Towles has all day an finally finds Baker for 13. Kentucky continues to rampage up the field, as Stanely Williams gains 22 on a pair of runs. Jump ahead to 3rd and 5 on the DigiCock 33. Towles drops back and hits CJ Conrad on the sideline, but he falls out of bounds shy of the line to gain. 49 yard field goal attempt upcoming—and it's good. Tie game, 10 all.

Touchback. Playaction, and Mitch finds Heard on the slant, and it's a big gain of 20. Two plays later, it's Mitch to Samuel for 12. Ball on the DigiCat 38. Mitch finds Adams for 10 more. Jump ahead to 3rd and 1 at the UK 18. I-formation. Playaction, and Mitch finds Jerell Adams on the corner route for a gain of 15, but Matoozles is called for clipping. So it's 3rd and 9 now. Mitch tries to go to Adams up the seam, but it's batted down—it's Mitch's first incompletion in 16 attempts. Freisman is on, and is true from 44. 13-10 SC, and that will end the quarter.

2nd Quarter, or AND MORE SCORING

Kentucky takes over at the 25. Williams rushes for 8 on 1st. Then Towles scrambles for 15, and the ball's at midfield. Two plays later, and Kentucky's down inside the 35. Towles is still perfect, by the way. Jump to 3rd and 8—and Towles finds Baker wide open in the back of the end zone. 17-13, UK.

DigiShon gets little on the return, and it's 1st and 10 SC on the 19. They lose a yard on the screen. Then Mitch is sacked on a botched screen. 3rd and 21. But he atones, finding Jerell Adams for 41 on a go route! Then it's Mitch to Cooper for 24. Ball on the UK 28. After a dropped pick and a botched draw, it's 3rd and 11. Things get worse as Mitch is sacked, pushing SC out of field goal range. That is, if this game didn't insist on going for insane field goals. A 55 yarder falls short and UK takes over at their own 38.

But UK falters on 1st and 2nd, then on 3rd down Towles is sacked by Phillip Dukesand he fumbles! And what do you know, Gerald Dixon picks it up and runs it in for the score. Just like that, it's 20-17, Cocks.

Kentucky will try to rebound, starting at its own 23. Pass complete for 17 to Baker, and it's 1st and 10 at the 40. Towles dumps it off to Williams for 10 more—he still hasn't missed. Jump ahead to 3rd and 13 on the SC 41. Towles hits Blake Bone (remember him) for 8 and it's 4th and 6. A 50 yard field goal attempt upcoming—nailed it. 20 all with less than 3 left in the half.

Touchback. Mitch goes deep—dangerous throw into coverage, but DigiPharoh reels it in for 44 yards! 1st and 10 at the UK 31. Mitch scrambles for 6, then Wilds takes it for 19 on a zone read. It's 1st and goal at the UK 5. Ace backfield, and the give is to Wilds for 4. I-formation, and this time Wilds will power it in. 27-20, Gamecocks.

Touchback. Towles finally throws an incompletion on 1st. Williams loses 2 on 2nd, so it's 3rd and long. Larenz Bryant reads a halfback screen pass perfectly but overruns the ball carrier and the result is a 1st down. The lapse proves costly—Towles completes two big passes and Kentucky is just outside the redzone. Two plays later, it's 2nd and goal inside the 5. Pitch to the outside, and Timmons will run it in easily. Tie game, 27 all.

Carolina has one timeout and 1:16 to make something happen. Mitch completes two quick passes—Cooper for 9, Samuel for 31, and just like that, it's 1st and 10 at the UK 35. Two plays later, Mitch launches it into the end zone—and Deebo Samuel makes an acrobatic grab! It's 34-27, South Carolina. Kentucky has 42 seconds and 3 timeouts.

1st and 10 at the 22. Towles hits Badet for a quick 12, but then is sacked for a loss of 5 by Gerald Dixon. The Cats go 5 wide, but Towles' pass is errant and it's 3rd and 15. They decide to run it, and it gains 8—4th and 7. Kentucky will punt for the first time this game.

South Carolina has it with 3 seconds left, and they'll actually attempt a pass, but Mithc is sacked, so they take a 7 point lead into the half.

HALFTIME ANALYSIS

Passing seems to be the order of the day. Roughly 600 of the 700 total yards have come via pass. Also, 700 total yards in the first half! DigiMitch and DigiTowles are duking it out, throwing for 347 and 259 yards respectively. Will either D step up in the second half? If they do, it could be the difference.

3rd Quarter, or GONE PUNTIN'

Touchback, and Kentucky will take over at the 25. Kentucky quickly moves into Gamecock territory—jump to 3rd and 1 at the SC 32. Williams gains just enough—1st down. Skai Moore drops an interception—obviously a lapse in realism. A swing bass to JoJo Kemp (!) gains 29 and it's 1st and goal. Then it's a swing to Kemp again—he'll score this time. 34-34.

Touchback. A first down on three rushes (!) makes it 1st and 10 on the 35. Jump to 1st and 10 at the SC 48. Mitch gains 11 on the keeper. Jump to 3rd and 6, and Mitch is sacked and the punt unit is on. Touchback.

Kentucky has won serve and will attempt to take the lead on the drive. Williams gains an easy 12 on the draw. Jump to 3rd and 9—pass complete to Conrad, but he fumbles and Chris Lammons picks it up! But they reverse the call, Conrad was clearly down. Still, he was short of the line to gain, so Kentucky will punt it back. SC takes over at their own 31.

Mitch hits Adams for 8—Jerell now has 124 yards on the day. Make that 147, as DigiMitch finds him again for a big gain. 1st and 10 at the UK 37. A few plays later, Mitch finds Jeffery for 6 and the 1st. Ball at the 15. Mitch drops back from under center, and fires a laser to the corner—Pharoh Cooper is there! Touchdown, and it's 41-34 Gamecocks. 2 minutes remain in the quarter.

Kentucky with a nice return and will begin the drive at the 32. Delayed handoff goes nowhere. Jump to 3rd and 2. Towles keeps it, and Al Harris Jr. leaps ingot he backfield to take him down for a loss. UK goes three and out.

Carolina takes over at its own 24. Jump to 3rd and 7, and a patient Connor Mitch finds Carlton Heard for 12. After a few runs, the clock expires and we head to the 4th.

4th Quarter, or WHO WANTS IT MORE OH NOBODY OKAY

3rd and 1, and Mitch keeps it on a zone read—but he's felled behind the line. 4th and 2, and the DigiCocks will punt. UK takes over at its own 21.

After short gains on 1st and 2nd, it's 3rd and 4. But the screen works, and Williams gains 10 on the dumpoff. Towles then hits Timmons for 12 more. Jump to 3rd and 5 at the SC 47. Towels is pressured and has to throw it away. UK goes for it on 4th—and the pass is complete to Conrad, 1st down. Ball at the 38. After a loss on 1st, it's a screen play, but Towels can't get rid of it—TJ Holloman with the sack! It's now 3rd and 22. But Towles completes a 23 harder, and it's a first down. He follows that with a touchdown strike to Timmons. 41 all, 5:20 remaining.

SC begins the drive at its own 29. Wilds gains 7 on 1st, then 8 more on 2nd. He's got 80 yards now. Draw play, and Wilds gains 4 more. Mitch to Heard underneath, and it's a 1st down. Mitch gains 5 on the keeper, then 3 more. 3rd and 2. They'll pass, and he hits Cooper underneath—King Tuttchdown now has 113 yards. But Wilds loses 4 on 1st. Williams gains 7 on 2nd, bringing up a 3rd and 7. Empty backfield and Mitch hits Shamier Jeffery on the sideline to make it 1st and goal inside the 5! I formation, and the give is to Rivers Bedenbaugh. Gain of 4, and it's 2nd and inches. Wilds gets stuffed—3rd down. Mitch drops back—why—but finds Carlton Heard for the strike! It's 48-41 Cocks.

UK will have to drive 76 yards to tie it. 18 of those yards come on the next play—pass complete to Timmons, who has 158 yards receiving. Towles throws it away, then hits Badet for 5. Kentucky runs a screen, and it's eaten up—loss of It's 4th and 10, and the Cats will have to go for it. They call a timeout. 4th and 10 from their own 42. Down the seam to Conrad and he's wiiiide open. 1st down, ball inside the 30. Two plays later, Kentucky's moved it inside the 10. 1st and goal. Handoff to Horton and he'll score. UK will tie it up, 48-48.

The DigiCocks have 34 seconds and 3 timeouts to make something happen.

Samuel with a nice return, and South Carolina will begin its drive at its own 34. Mitch looks, and looks, and looks—and is sacked. 2nd and 16. On 2nd down, his pass is almost picked. 19 second s left, and it's 3rd and 16. Again, Mitch's pass is almost picked. Carolina goes 3 and out and will punt. UK will have 4 seconds if they feel like heaving one.

1st and 10 from their own 33. Towles indeed heaves one into traffic, and it bounces around, and oh my god there are two white jerseys around the ball, but it falls harmlessly to the turf.

OVERTIME

Carolina wins the toss, and as expected, will play defense first.

1st and 10 from the 25. Towles puts one up towards the corner—AND ISAIAH JOHNSON MAKES THE PICK!

South Carolina takes over, needing just a field goal to win it. How conservatively will they play it? Pass on 1st...gulp. But it's complete for 9. The give to Wilds loses 3. 3rd and 3. Mitch will pass for some insane reason and will be sacked for a loss of 8. It's 4th and 11, and DigiFreisman will come on for the game winner.

It's up from 43—and it's good!

South Carolina wins it in overtime, 51-48.

Final Stats:

SC STAT UK
528 Total Yards 569
472 Pass Yards 500
106 Rush Yards 69
0 Turnovers 1 INT, 1 FUM
6/13 3DC 6/13
Pharoh Cooper: 7 REC, 113 YDS, 1 TD OPOTG P. Towles: 43/51, 500 (!) YDS, 4 TD, 1 INT
G. Dixon: 2 TFL, 1 SACK, 1 FR, TD DPOTG M. McWilson: 11 TACK, 1 PBU

While that final score feels a little cartoonish, Kentucky does have a seemingly functional offense and a porous defense. So maybe it is a high-scoring affair that results in a late victory for the home team...not unlike last season's contest. At any rate, we'll see if DigiMitch settles in at Billy B. Until next week!