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Our Digital Season: Week 4—South Carolina v. Central Florida

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It's the DigiCocks versus the DigiKnights

Howdy fans! Welcome to week four of Our Digital Season. Last week, the DigiCocks edged the DigiDawgs in overtime. As you may or may not recall, this didn't happen IRL. Folks, this isn't scientific and sometimes things to go as the game predicts. Other times, the game predicts a double overtime victory against Missouri and, what do you know, that happens!

Regardless, we soldier ahead. Our virtual squad welcome the UCF Knights into town. I did my best to deactivate the 900 UCF players who won't appear in Saturday's contest, but a few may have slipped through the cracks since UCF does a really crappy job of publicizing depth charts. For us: no Knott, Wilds, or Lammons. And your starting quarterback is DigiNuNu.

The DigiKnights win the toss and will receive.

1st Quarter, or WATCH ME PUNT

After forcing a quick 3rd and long, the DigiCocks fail to defend a screen and UCF picks up a first down. Then CJ Jones runs off-tackle for 11. A 10 yard completion to Dinovo follows. Jump to 3rd and 5 on the SC 36. Pass is complete to Payton underneath, and he turns upfield for 11. Patti gains 11 more on a scramble. Then it's to Smith for 12, and like that it's 1st and goal at the 2 yard line. Jump to 3rd down—Patti drops back, then scampers ahead and in for the touchdown. Not good! 7-0, Knights.

After a touchback, it's Nuñez in the shotgun. Keeps it and runs for 14. Okay! Two plays later, he finds Terry Googer over the middle, and it's a 32 yard gain. Consecutive DigiNuNu scrambles gain 4 and 8, and it's 1st and 10 on the UCF 17. This time, he's unable to turn a scramble into anything—sacked for a loss of 3. A short pass to Adams brings up 3rd and long. UCF brings the house, and Nuñez is sacked again. Fry comes on, and it's up and good. 7-3, Knights.

Kick returned to the 23. Handoff on 1st down loses a yard. Patti scrambles for 5, and it's 3rd and 6. Screen pass is caught, but he's stopped just short of the line to gain. Punt.

Pharoh returns it to the 34. Screen pass to Pharoh loses 3. Carson gains 4 on the delay. And on 3rd down, Nuñez takes yet another sack. 4th and long, punt, returned to the 41.

But, UCF goes 3 and out and will punt it right back.

Pharoh gets it to the 25 and the DigiCocks will take over. Pass incomplete on 1st. Carson gains 3, and the quarter will end.

2nd Quarter, or MOUNTING A COCK OFFENSIVE (NSFW)

It's 3rd and 7. Nuñez drops back, and checks down to Carson, who is tackled immediately. Between the teams, it's the fourth consecutive punt.

UCF takes over at the SC 42. On 1st down, SC brings a seven man blitz, but Patti gets it off and it's a 32 yard gain. Jump to 3rd and 4. Patti's pass is incomplete, and UCF will bring on the field goal unit. Good, and it's 10-3, DigiKnights.

Touchback. Carolina has gained -3 yards combined on its past two drives. Make that -8, as Nuñez throws a screen pass backwards that Heard has to fall on. He then scrambles for 6, making it 3rd and 9. the Cocks are 0/3 on 3rd downs. Make that 1/4, as Nuñez hits Cooper on the slant, and he muscles across the line to gain. Jump to 3rd and 5 at the SC 42. Nuñez drops back, and airs one out—it's caught by Googer at the 15, and he sheds a tackler on his way to the endzone! Tied at 10.

Touchback. UCF has punted thrice in a row. Completion for 8 on 1st. After a short gain, it's 3rd and inches. Patti will pass—and it's tipped by Qua Lewis! It falls incomplete, and UCF will punt yet again. Pharoh returns it to the 34.

The DigiCocks have all the momentum, and it continues as Nuñez finds Carson for 13. He then keeps it for 17. Jump to 2nd and 10, and Nuñez tries to escape the pocket but will suffer his fourth sack of the day.

And, hoo boy, he's down. DigiOrth comes in.

3rd and 14. And how about that, Orth finds Googer for just enough. We are informed that Nuñez is simply suffering from back spasms and will return shortly. Carson gains 6 on 1st down. UCF bites on the halfback delay, and Williams scampers for 14. And on the next play, Orth finds a slanting Pharoh Cooper for the easy score. 17-10, Cocks.

Kick is returned to the 27. Jones runs for 8 on 1st and 5 on 2nd. A screen pass loses yards, put then Patti ducks under a blitz and scampers for 17. 1st and 10 on the SC 45. Patti follows it with another 12 yard scramble. The clock ticks under 1:30. A no gain and a Stallworth sack make it 3rd and 12 (UCF has gone 0/4 on 3rd down since starting 3/3.) It's a screen, but well read and it gains nothing. UCF will call out the field goal unit. They'll let the clock tick way down—SC could stop it and conserve time for a late drive, but they're not interested. The 52 yard field goal is up—and no good!

South Carolina takes over at its own 35 with 10 seconds remaining. Nuñez is back in, by the way. He actually will pass, but it's incomplete. And the half will end with Nuñez taking his 5th sack.

HALFTIME ANALYSIS

A second quarter surge means a halftime lead for the DigiCocks. The defense has appeared stifling at times, completely hapless at others, but it has held UCF to 3 points since its opening drive. Meanwhile, DigiLoNuNu has played well enough but owes at least a few of the 5 sacks he's taken to his happy feet. Will he settle down for the second half and lead the DigiCocks to victory? Let's find out!

3rd Quarter, or SOMETIMES I THINK YOU WANT TO PUNT

South Carolina gets the ball out of the half. Carson returns it, ill-advisably, to the 21. Nuñez sits in the pocket, attempts to scramble, and is sacked again. Carson gains 6 on 2nd. It's a screen pass on 3rd and, holy smokes, it works to perfection. Carson gains 16. Jump to 3rd and 8. Another screen pass gains 7.5...it's 4th and inches on the UCF 48. Will they go for it? No. (BOOOOOOOOOO) Punt by Kelly bounces into the endzone. 28 yard net. Way to go guys.

UCF ball, and we'll jump to 3rd and 1. I-formation, and the give to Jones will gain 3 and move the chains. Two plays later, Patti drops back, has about 8 seconds in the pocket as the SC DigiD-line smushes lifelessly into the UCF O-line; Patti then lofts one to the flat, where Larenz Bryant coolly jumps in front of the pass, and then drops it. 3rd and 10. Patti finds Dinovo for just 8. Punt. UCF has scored just 3 points since its first drive. Pharoh returns it to the 26.

Carson loses a yard on 1st, and gains 4 on 2nd. Shotgun, 5 wide. Nuñez hits Cooper shy of the line to gain, and he's dragged down. Punt, returned to the UCF 32.

Patti gains 7 on the keeper, and Johnson gains 5 more for the 1st. Backup RB McGowan gains 5, Jones gains 3. 3rd and a long 1. McGowan for 7 and UCF continues to pound the rock to a positive result. Jones gains 5 more on another run. Patti keeps it on a zone read—finds a seam, and he's home free. 36 yard touchdown run for Patti, and we are knotted up at 17.

Touchback. Nuñez throws it away on 1st, then scrambles for 11 on 2nd. 1st down. A dangerous pass falls incomplete. Shotgun on 2nd—Nuñez is, you guessed it, sacked, and fumbles. Recovered by SC, but it's a loss of 8. 3rd and 16 and they—hand it off? Loss of 1. Fans not happy. Gamecocks will punt.

The DigiKnights take over at their own 43, looking to reclaim the lead. Jump to 3rd and 7. SC brings the house, but gets zero penetration, natch, and Patti completes the pass for just enough. Ball on the SC 45. Patti gains 4 on the scramble, and we go to the 4th.

4th Quarter, or SOMEBODY'S GOTTA WIN I GUESS

Jones gets the handoff, gains a big chunk but is injured. Patti is hit as he throws, and it's incomplete. On 2nd down, Patti drops back, is pressured, and throws one across his body—and it's Al Harris Jr. stepping in front of the pass! He will return it 70 yard for the score! 24-17, Cocks.

(It's the second consecutive ODS contest in which AHJ has had an interception. After how he played IRL last week, this may not bode well.)

UCF looks to respond, and Thompson gains a quick 10 to move the chains. Patti scrambles and slides for 6. He then finds Payton on the sideline for 9 and a 1st down. Ball just across midfield. Jump to 3rd and 5. It's a delayed give, and Taylor Stallworth is there to wrap up McGowan for the loss. On 4th and 7 and the SC 47, the Knights will go for it. Patti hits Oldham, but it's good for just 2—turnover on downs!

Nuñez on the zone read keeper on 1st, and he finds room! Gain of 26, and it's 1st and 10 at the UCF 30. Give to Carson gains just 1, but the pass to Adams is good for 12. Jump to 3rd and 4. Screen pass to Williams—he's hit shy of the line, but falls across! It's 1st and goal at the 6. Jump to 3rd and goal. Nuñez will pass—he hits Googer in the chest in the back of the end zone, but the freshman drops it. Freisman will come on for the chipshot—good. It's 27-17.

UCF sets themselves up nicely with a 44 yard kick return, and they'll work with a short field. Patti scrambles for 15 on 1st down. UCF is in hurry-up mode with 3 minutes remaining. Jump to 3rd and 7, which features a should-have-been sack and a should-have-been pick. But at least it's incomplete. UCF will go for it on 4th and 7 at the SC 39. Patti will scramble—he's got open field, but Walton lays him out just shy of the line! Another turnover on downs.

SC needs two first downs to salt it. Jump to 3rd and 6—UCF has burned two timeouts. Nuñez will pass—and he hits Kyle Markway for the 1st! That should just about do it, although UCF does call its final timeout to stop the clock. It's 1st and 10 at the CUF 45 with just over 2 minutes remaining. Carson picks a good time for a worthwhile rush, gaining 11, and that will do it. Carolina runs out the clock and seals the victory.

Final Score: 27-17, Gamecocks.

SC STAT UCF
310 Total Yards 340
208 Pass Yards 139
102 Rush Yards 201
0 Turnovers 1 INT
6/13 3DC 6/14
T. Googer: 4 REC, 110 YDS, 1 TD OPOTG N. Patti: 12/31, 139 YDS, 1 INT, 15 ATT, 121 YDS, 2 TD
A. Harris Jr.: 4 TACK, 1 TFL, 1 INT, 77 RET YDS, TD DPOTG J. Henry: 12 TACK, 2 TFL, 1 SACK

UCF stormed out of the gates with a quick touchdown, but only managed 10 points the rest of the way. They did actually outgain the Gamecocks (thank you net yardage) but couldn't finish drives—on top of 4 punts, the Knights threw a pick six, missed a field goal, and failed to convert twice on 4th down. South Carolina was less than impressive on offense, and DigiNuNu got brutalized in the backfield to the tune of 7 sacks, but he had his moments (as did Perry Orth—2/2, 21 yards and a TD).

Honestly, this one feels kind of believable. An often stressful, 10 point win over a practically gutted unit. Hey, a win's a win, but 20 points on offense against an injury-plagued UCF won't translate to wins in the DigiSEC.

Oh, the DigiCocks are 4-0. How about that! Have a great week.