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OUR DIGITAL SEASON - South Carolina vs Kentucky

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The digi-Gamecocks invade Lexington

Welcome back to Our Digital Season! Before we start, let’s review the parameters of how ODS works:

Each quarter is 7 minutes long. This seems to equate to 15 minute quarters in real time, and also doesn’t take more than an hour to complete.

I will also use the Duke playbook during ODS. Kurt Roper was the Duke OC for the NCAA 14 video game.

Let’s look at the similarities between ODS and the real game against ECU:

Brandon McIlwain got his first start in both ODS and real life.

David Williams made a case for Player of the Game honors in both ODS and on the field.

What were some differences?

The defense couldn’t stop digi-ECU in the redzone.

Digi-ECU tore our digital asses up in the video game.

Let’s get started!

The First Quarter, or: "Hella Yards!"

It’s a clear, cool night in digi-Lexington as the South Carolina Gamecocks prepare to take on the Kentucky Wildcats. The Gamecocks will defer and kick it away, the Wildcats will bring it out to the 21 and that’s where they will open the game. The digi-Wildcats are using the short passing game to their advantage as they quickly are across the 50 yard line. After a strong burst from Stanley Williams, the Wildcats are inside the Gamecock 10 yard line. One play later the Kentucky QB will find the halfback on a wheel route for a touchdown, 7-0 UK.

Brandon McIlwain and company will set up shop at their own 22. After a couple short passes, AJ Turner takes the inside zone run across the 50 yard line, and McIlwain quickly follows up with a run of his own to the Kentucky 35. After reaching the Kentucky 21, the Gamecock offense will stall out, forcing a field goal. The kick by #FREISMAN is up and good! 7-3, UK.

Stanley Williams, who already has over 70 yards rushing in the game, takes the handoff and busts across the 50 yard line for Kentucky. However, the Gamecock defense will bow its neck as JaMarcus King knocks down a long pass down the sideline forcing a Kentucky punt. After a touchback, the Gamecocks will take over on their own 20.

Digi-BMac quickly finds digi-Deebo for a 15 yard gain across the middle. After a scramble and a 9 yard completion to Hayden Hurst, the Gamecocks are across midfield. Jump to 3rd and 6 from the 36 yardline, McIlwain will be dropped after a three yard scramble to close the first quarter.

The Second Quarter, or: "Defense is for Losers."

Digi-Coach Boom has decided to go for it on 4th and 3 from the Wildcat 33. McIlwain will take the shotgun snap and fire an accurate pass to Deebo across the middle, but it’s dropped!

Kentucky will take over on their own 33 and, once again, they are on the move. Quick passes and halfback draws are killing this Gamecock defense. After Drew Barker nearly throws an interception, he will keep it on the zone read for a 13 yard touchdown run, 14-3 UK.

A quick pump fake from McIlwain and completely unncessary spin move in the pocket somehow leads to a 14 yard scramble. McIlwain then finds digi-Terry Googer down the sidelines to the Kentucky 21 for a big gain! (This game is weird, y’all.) Jump to third and 1 from the Kentucky 15, David Williams will take the inside handoff for a 6 yard gain to make it 1st and goal. McIlwain will drop back to pass and scramble, but is stopped just shy of the goalline. However, McIlwain will give on the zone read and David Williams pounds his way into the endzone! 14-10, UK.

Kentucky will start from their own 25 yardline after a booming #FREISMAN kickoff. Kentucky, relying on their workhorse runningback, is suddenly across midfield. (This digi-defense doesn’t have a clue). Failing to get off the field on 3rd down, the defense finds itself pushed back to its 8 yard line. JoJo Kemp finishes the deal for the Wildcats and makes it 21-10, UK.

The Gamecock offense will takeover on their own 20 yard line with 2:42 left in the half. A quick completion to Bryan Edwards and Hayden Hurst has the Gamecocks on the move. Jump to first and 10 from the Wildcat 45 and McIlwain finds Turner for a big gain down to the 27! McIlwain finds Jamari Smith and Randrecous Davis and moves the offense down inside the 5. A quick scramble by McIlwain finishes the drive in the endzone, 21-17 UK.

The Wildcats will be content to run the clock out and go to halftime sporting a 21-17 lead.

Halftime Analysis:

Well, that wasn’t pretty for the defense as they allowed 261 yards of offense and 21 points in 2 quarters of play. Luckily for them, the Gamecock offense put up 258 yards and 17 points of their own to keep them in the ball game. The Gamecocks will receive the opening kickoff to begin the second half.

The Third Quarter, or: "Wait, it’s only the third quarter?"

McIlwain finds Deebo for a big completion out to the Gamecock 35 yardline to open up the third quarter. However, that’ll be all the Gamecocks get as they are forced to punt. Sean Kelly punts it away and the Wildcats will start on their own 23.

The defense has the Wildcats at 3rd and 6. Could the Gamecock defense finally have figured something out to stop the Wildcats? NOPE! Drew Barker finds his receiver for a big 12 yard completion. Another third down situation for the defense and they get caught on a screen play for a big wildcat gain to the Gamecock 30. On the very next play, Drew Barker escapes a sack and finds his tightend for a 30 yard TD pass, 28-17, UK.

So what does McIlwain do? He coolly fires a 38 yard strike to Terry Googer and has the Gamecocks on the Wildcat 39. (BTW we are at the 4 minute mark in the 3rd quarter and both teams have combined for 34 first downs. THIRTY-FOUR). Anyway, jump to 3rd and 4 from the 12 and McIlwain perfectly executes the zone read for a 12 yard TD run! 28-24, UK.

Fry boots it away and the Wildcats fumble on the return! It’s scooped up by Jordan Diggs and the offense will get the ball back on the Wildcat 15! Brandon McIlwain, well on his way to the digi-Heisman Trophy, perfectly executes the triple option and, all of a sudden, the Gamecocks are in the lead for the first time. 31-28, USC.

The Gamecock defense, maybe feeling the momentum shift, forces a three and out. And the Gamecock offense will get the ball back with a chance to extend their lead.

Brandon McIlwain, having a breakout game, is executing the option game to perfection. The Gamecocks are quickly inside the Wildcat 40 yard line. However, the Gamecocks will face a 3rd and 12 after a near interception and a weird draw play up the middle. McIlwain will fire a screen play to Williams, but it only gains 6 yards. Digi-Coach Boom, who apparently is feeling his inner Steve Spurrier, will once again go for it on 4th down. But McIlwain will be sacked for a loss of 2 yards and it will be a turnover on downs.

The Gamecock defense, who has seemingly caught a second wind, forces another three and out! (I should note that Stanley Williams, UK’s starting RB, is out with a broken toe suffered early in the 3rd quarter). After a punt and Deebo’s short return, the Gamecocks will start on the 28. On 2nd and 10, McIlwain will fire it across the middle to Googer for 12 yards...and that’s how the third quarter will end.

The Fourth Quarter, or: "HOLD ON TO YOUR BUTTS"

Jump to third and 7 from the Gamecocks’ own 44 yard line and McIlwain will find AJ Turner for just enough yardage for a first down. After a 15 yard reception by Bryan Edwards, the Gamecocks are inside Wildcat territory.

Jump to 3rd and 9 from the Wildcat 38, digi-Roper keeps making good use of the RB screen play as Turner takes it for a first down. After a near interception on a bubble screen, David Williams runs for a bruising 14 yards on a power play. The Gamecock offense line, nearing 200 yards rushing, are imposing their will on the Wildcats (HA!). Of course as soon as I type that AJ Turner is dropped for a 4 yard loss to make it 3rd and 9 from the 14. Roper calls the screen play once more, but it doesn’t work this time as AJ is dropped for a two yard loss. Elliott Fry punches the field goal through however, 34-28 USC.

With 4:12 left on the clock, the Wildcats will open up their drive at the 24 yard line. I-formation for the ‘Cats on 2nd and 1, but digi-BAW will step to force a loss on the play. Bryson Allen Williams, is suddenly making his presence known as he stuffs yet another power run out of the I-formation, forcing yet another punt for the Wildcats.

The Gamecocks, looking to ice the game away, will take over with 3:11 left from their own 42. After a three yard loss, McIlwain is milking the clock for all it’s worth and he’ll find Hayden Hurst for a 6 yard completion to make it 3rd and 7. For some reason the Gamecocks choose to pass the ball and it falls incomplete. Sean Kelly will punt it away, and the Wildcats will start on their own 24.

The Gamecock defense forces a 4th and 8, but gives up a 15 yard gain. All of a sudden the Wildcats are across midfield. On first and 10 from the Gamecock 40, Drew Barker will drop back to pass but is SACKED by Daniel Fennell! With just over a minute left, Barker will throw it out of bounds, which will bring up 3rd and 17. The Gamecock defense, reverting to old form, promptly gives up a long pass all the way down to the 10 yard line. Barker takes the snap on 1st and goal and will take a sack, then spikes it on 2nd and goal (despite having a timeout, weird). 3rd and goal from the 11 with 43 seconds left and Barker completes a pass for 4 yards bringing up 4th down. This is the ballgame for the Wildcats. 4th and goal, from the 7 yardline, Barker drops back to pass. He fires a completion but the defense will stuff him on the 2 yardline!

The Gamecocks will win a tight one in Lexington, 34-28.

Final Analysis: What a weird, weird game. Oh, and it took forever. The Carolina defense couldn't stop much of anything early on, but they found a way to slow down Kentucky enough and special teams forced the all important turnover to allow the offense to comeback. Oh, and if we get a performance like that out of McIlwain in real life, Columbia might riot (in a good way).

USC Stat Kentucky
475 Total Yards 430
289 Pass Yards 291
186 Rush Yards 139
0 Turnovers 1
5-11 3DC 8-14
Brandon McIlwain: 30/43, 289 yards, 17 carries, 97 yards and 3 TDs OPOTG Drew Barker: 25/34, 291 yards, 3 total TDs
Bryson Allen-Williams: 11 tackles, 4 TFL DPOTG J.D. Harmon: 12 tackles