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GAMECOCK-GAMEDAY THREAD: ***South Carolina vs Kentucky***

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***South Carolina vs Kentucky***

South Carolina football will add a little garnet to lastweek’s all-white look.

 

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Gamecocks Set to Face Nationally-Ranked Kentucky

SEC Network to Televise Sept. 29 Game in Lexington

Sept. 28, 2018

GCF Staff Report

South Carolina hits the road again for a tilt against the Kentucky Wildcats aiming to break a four-game skid. Here’s what you need to know about the game:

Game info

Who: South Carolina (2-1, 1-1 SEC) at Kentucky (4-0, 2-0)

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday

Where: Kroger Field (67,606)

Series history: South Carolina leads 17-11-1. The Gamecocks have lost four in a row, none by more than 10 points.

TV: SEC Network (Tom Hart, play-by-play; Jordan Rodgers, analysis; Cole Cubelic, sideline)

Radio: 107.5 FM (Todd Ellis, play-by-play; Tommy Suggs, analysis; Langston Moore, sideline) ... See all the radio affiliates around the state here.

Satellite radio: Sirius 108/XM 190

Line: Kentucky by 1 1/2

Weather: Mostly clear, with a low around 52. Temperature around 65 degrees at kickoff, 60 by the end of the game. Northeast winds of 6 mph. Chance of precipitation below 5 percent.

What’s at stake

The Gamecocks have a streak that’s been sticking in the craw for many outside the program. The four losses in a row all had different contexts, but they’ve all been problematic.

This could also have a decisive impact on South Carolina’s place in the SEC East. At the moment, the Wildcats might well be the second-best team behind Georgia. A South Carolina win, and USC moves into good position there.

Kentucky is aiming for its best start in more than a decade. The Wildcats are ranked for the first time since 2007, and a win against a solid Gamecocks team would raise their profiles further.

South Carolina players to watch

1. USC quarterback Jake Bentley had an odd and disappointing showing against Kentucky last season. After an explosive start, the offense went three-and-out four times and only managed 13 points, despite his season-high 304 passing yards. This year, he’s got 780 passing yards, six touchdowns and three interceptions in three games.

2. Gamecocks tailback Rico Dowdle is the consistent bell cow of the ground game, and USC will be looking to make up for some things after last year’s meeting. The Gamecocks only ran for 54 yards on 20 carries, and Dowdle got stonewalled on the goal line in a big moment. This year, Dowdle has 235 yards on 5.6 yards per carry, but Kentucky just shut down Mississippi State’s prolific ground game.

3. Senior Bryson Allen-Williams will almost assuredly get tested considering he’s only 230 pounds and manning USC’s Buck defensive end position. The Wildcats’ Benny Snell-centric downhill running game will likely attack him and put pressure on the likes of linebackers T.J. Brunson, Sherrod Greene and Daniel Fennell. For the season, Allen-Williams, who was knocked out for 2017 against the Wildcats last fall, had 12 tackles, four for loss, with a sack and a pair of hurries this season.

Kentucky players to watch

1. Kentucky running back Benny Snell has started this season looking like the SEC’s best at his position. He’s averaging 135 yards a game after another 165 yards and four touchdowns against Mississippi State. The junior has run for 175 yards and three scores in two career games against the Gamecocks.

2. Not lost in Snell’s performance Saturday, the Wildcat defense limited a previously electric Mississippi State offense to over 380 yards and 40 points below its season averages. Linebacker Josh Allen is the unit’s ringleader. After two tackles for loss, a sack, quarterback hurry and pass breakup against the Bulldogs, the All-American candidate told reporters, “I felt like they couldn’t block me.”

3. UK quarterback Terry Wilson was one of the most coveted junior college prospects on the market this past recruiting cycle. The January enrollee won’t wow you with passing numbers (Jake Bentley has thrown for 317 more yards than Wilson in one less game), but he’s enough of a running threat to take some attention off Snell. Wilson is second in the SEC among QBs with 241 yards.

YOU ARE LOOKING LIVE: The South Carolina Gamecocks (2-1, 1-1 SEC) play another SEC Eastern Division road game this week when they travel to Lexington, Ky., to face the No. 17/17 Kentucky Wildcats (4-0, 2-0 SEC). Game time is set for 7:30 pm ET from Kroger Field (61,000).
 
TV COVERAGE: SEC Network has the telecast for this week's contest. Tom Hart will handle the play-by-play with Jordan Rodgers serving as the analyst. Cole Cubelic will work the sidelines.
 
A HISTORY LESSON: 2018 marks the 125th season of intercollegiate football at South Carolina. It is the 112th-consecutive year in which South Carolina has competed on the gridiron. The University did not field a team in either 1893 or 1906. Carolina owns an all-time record of 603-574-44.
 
SEC HISTORY: The South Carolina Gamecocks are in their 27th year in the Southeastern Conference. Carolina and Arkansas joined the league prior to the 1992 campaign. The Gamecocks earned their lone SEC Eastern Division title in 2010. The Gamecocks are 91-118-1 (.436) all-time in SEC regular-season play, but are 36-30 (.545) in conference action since the start of the 2010 season. With a 5-3 mark and sole possession of second place in the SEC East in 2017, the Gamecocks won five or more conference games for just the eighth time in 26 years since joining the SEC.
 
CAROLINA VS. KENTUCKY: This is the 30th meeting between the Gamecocks and Wildcats in a series that dates back to 1937. Carolina leads the all-time series 17-11-1, including a 9-6 advantage in Lexington. The teams played just three times (1937, 1978 and 1981) before Carolina joined the SEC for the 1992 season. Since then, they have met every year. Since joining the SEC, the Gamecocks own a 16-10 record against UK, including wins in 13 of the 18 meetings in this century, but the Wildcats have won each of the last four contests, their longest winning streak in the series.
 
POLL CATS: This is the first time South Carolina will face an undefeated and ranked Kentucky team since 2007. The 11th-ranked Gamecocks defeated No. 8 Kentucky by a 38-23 score in Columbia on Oct. 4, 2007. Eric Norwood tied an NCAA record with two fumble recoveries for touchdowns, earning National Defensive Player of the Week honors.
 
THE LAST TIME THEY MET: Benny Snell rushed for 102 yards and two TDs and the Wildcat defense held Carolina to just one score over the final 59:13 as Kentucky upended the Gamecocks by a 23-13 score in Columbia on Sept. 16, 2017. Jake Bentley connected with Deebo Samuel on a 68-yard scoring strike on the game's first play from scrimmage, but Carolina could muster just 290 yards of offense the rest of the way. Bentley completed 24-of-36 passes for 304 yards and two scores and Samuel logged 122 yards on five catches before suffering a season-ending leg injury.
 
THE LAST TIME THEY MET HERE: Benny Snell capped an 11-play, 65-yard drive with a one-yard touchdown plunge early in the fourth quarter to break a 10-10 tie, and Kentucky held on for a 17-10 win over South Carolina in Lexington on Sept. 24, 2016. The Gamecocks were limited to just 268 total yards of offense. Brandon McIlwain went the distance at quarterback, completing 15-of-30 passes for 177 yards. Kentucky rushed for 216 of their 351 total yards in the contest.
 
THE LAST CAROLINA WIN: The 13th-ranked Gamecocks opened up a 27-7 lead, but the Wildcats made it interesting with 21 fourth-quarter points before falling by a 35-28 count in Columbia on Oct. 5, 2013. Mike Davis rushed for 106 yards and two touchdowns and quarterback Connor Shaw added 312 yards of total offense, including 262 through the air on 17-of-20 passing. Damiere Byrd had one of the top days of his career, catching five passes for 94 yards, including a 62-yard TD catch on the first drive of the game.
 
MUSCHAMP VS. THE CATS: South Carolina head coach Will Muschamp owns a 4-2 record against Kentucky. He was a perfect 4-0 against the Wildcats as the head coach at Florida, but has dropped both games as the Carolina head coach.

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