Gameday: UK vs. South Carolina

The Wildcats continue a tough stretch against ranked opponents as the No. 6 Gamecocks visit Commonwealth Stadium with a tough running game and an imposing defense.

Kentucky vs. South Carolina
Saturday, 7 p.m. ET
Commonwealth Stadium, Lexington, Ky.

Record: 1-3, 0-1 SEC
Ranking: Not ranked
Last game: L, 0-38 vs. Florida (A)
Coach: Joker Phillips (Kentucky, 1986)
Record: 12-17 (Third season)
at UK: 12-17 (Third season)
vs. USC: 1-1
Series Record vs. South Carolina:
Overall: USC leads 15-7-1
in Lexington: USC leads 8-4

Record: 4-0, 2-0 SEC
Ranking: No. 6 AP / No. 6 ESPN/USA Today
Last game: W, 31-10 vs. Missouri (H)
Coach: Steve Spurrier (Florida, 1966)
Record: 201-75-2 (23rd season)
at USC: 59-35 (Eighth season)
vs. UK: 18-1
UK's last win over USC: 2010 (31-28)
UK's last win over USC in Lexington: 2010 (31-28)

9/02 at #25 Louisville (ESPN) L, 14-32
9/08 Kent State (CSS) W, 47-14
9/15 Western Kentucky (ESPNU) L, 31-32
9/22 at #14 Florida * (SEC Network) L, 0-38

08/30 at Vanderbilt W, 17-13
09/08 East Carolina W, 48-10
09/15 UAB W, 49-6
09/22 Missouri W, 31-10

TV • ESPN2 >
Play-by-Play Mike Patrick
Analyst Ed Cunningham
Sideline Jeannine Edwards

Play-by-Play Tom Leach
Analyst Jeff Piecoro
Sideline Dick Gabriel

Channel 92 – Sirius
Channel 198 – XM


When Kentucky has the ball… Sophomore quarterback Maxwell Smith missed last week's game against Florida with an ailing AC joint in his shoulder. The results were disastrous as the Wildcats managed only 60 yards passing, threw three interceptions, and were shut out for the first time in six years. UK will need Smith (966 yards, 68.5 percent, 8 TDs) not only on the field but in peak form to have any shot against an exceptional Gamecock defense that excels in pressuring quarterbacks with their front four. The UK O-Line has been terrific in keeping the quarterback upright this season, allowing only four sacks in four games, so it will be interesting to see how it fares against South Carolina's imposing Jadeveon Clowney (6-6, 256) and Devin Taylor (6-8, 267) coming off the edges. Scoring opportunities will be few and far between, so the Cats have to cash in when they get in that position. A big special teams play (or three) wouldn't hurt, either.

When South Carolina has the ball… The Gamecocks are a nightmare matchup for a UK defense that has issues stopping the run and containing a quarterback who is able to hurt you with his legs. South Carolina has one of the nation's elite running backs in the form of Marcus Lattimore (320 yards, 4.6 avg., 6 TD). Quarterback Conner Shaw is a true "dual-threat," completing 76 percent of his passes this season while ranking second on the team in rushing yards per game at 43. Kentucky will have to play its best defense of the season early in the down sequence to put South Carolina in long-yardage situations and hope that the Gamecocks cough the ball up a few times if there's any hope of pulling an upset.


Senior wide receiver La'Rod King has 1,432 career receiving yards and needs 38 more to tie Tom Hutchinson for ninth place on the UK career list. He also has 15 career touchdown receptions and needs one more to move into sole possession of sixth place all-time for the Wildcats.

• Kentucky and South Carolina are meeting for the 24th time in school history. USC leads the all-time series 15-7-1, including an 8-4 advantage in Lexington.

• The Wildcats are looking for their first win over a ranked opponent since upsetting No. 10 South Carolina in 2010 in Commonwealth Stadium, 31-28.

• UK junior linebacker Avery Williamson leads Kentucky and ranks second in the SEC in tackles per game (10.2). He finished with a career-high 14 tackles vs. WKU, becoming the first UK player with 14 or more tackles since Winston Guy finished the 2011 season with a 14-tackle effort vs. Tennessee. He had a team-high tying eight tackles vs. Florida.

• The Gamecocks have won eight straight games (Florida, Citadel, Clemson, Nebraska, Vanderbilt, East Carolina, UAB, Missouri) dating back to last season. It's their second-longest winning streak in school history, topped only by their nine-game winning streak that started the 1984 season.

* Redshirt freshman offensive lineman Zach West and sophomore defensive lineman Mike Douglas have been named game captains this week. They'll join permanent season captains Matt Smith and Collins Ukwu at midfield for the pregame coin toss.

* Fans wishing to participate in the "Cat Walk," greeting the players when they enter Commonwealth Stadium should be at Gate 1 of the stadium, next to the Nutter Field House, at 4:45 p.m. ET.

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