Series history - Kentucky

In this series, GamecockAnthem takes a look at the series history of each of the opponents in the 2012 season. Today we take a look at South Carolina's fifth opponent, Kentucky.

Series history - South Carolina leads 15-7-1; in Lexington Carolina leads 8-4
Last 10 meetings - South Carolina leads 9-1
Under Spurrier - South Carolina leads 6-1
Largest margin of victory - South Carolina 54-3 in 2011
Closest margin of victory - South Carolina 20-17 in 2000
Last game - South Carolina 54-3 in 2011

South Carolina will hit the road in week five after three straight home games to take on their second SEC team on the road when they travel to Lexington, KY to take on the Kentucky Wildcats. Surprisingly enough, it was the Wildcats that held the advantage early on in the series. Kentucky won the first game of the series 27-7 in Kentucky, but that was way back in 1937. The two teams would not meet again until a 1978 meeting in Columbia in which the game ended in a 14-14 tie. The Gamecocks would pick up their first win of the series with a 28-14 victory in 1981, their final meeting before Carolina joined the SEC.

The Wildcats won the first two meetings as a conference foe with 13-9 and 21-17 wins. The two teams would split the next six games and the Wildcats held a 6-4-1 advantage heading into the 2000 season, including winning the last two during the course of Carolina's 21-game losing streak.

The Gamecocks have dominated the series ever since.

Carolina has won 11 of the last 12 meetings with the Wildcats, but it has not been quite as dominant as it appears. Of the 11 wins, seven have been by seven points or less. The lone loss in the series was when the two teams last met in Lexington, a 31-28 stunning Wildcat victory. Early in the contest it was all Carolina. Stephen Garcia threw two touchdowns in the first half and Marcus Lattimore accounted for 212 total yards and three scores, two rushing and one receiving. 204 of those yards came in the first half as Carolina headed to the locker room with a commanding 28-10 lead.

Lattimore went down with an injured ankle on the second offensive play of the third quarter and that was all for the Gamecock offense. Kentucky came roaring back and took a 29-28 lead as Mike Hartline found a wide open Randall Cobb for a 24-yard touchdown on a 4th-and-7 play with 1:15 left. Cobb would run in for the two-point conversion for the 31-28 lead. Garcia would have one last shot at the end zone, but was intercepted by Anthony Mosley on a tipped ball with just four seconds left.

Spurrier surely has not forgot about that.

Last time out - Carolina got revenge on the Wildcats in Williams-Brice in 2011 with a dominant 54-3 win. Carolina racked up 639 yards of offense and a stingy defense limited Kentucky to just 96 yards of offense. Kentucky quarterbacks combined for just four completions on 26 attempts and four interceptions. The ‘Cats rushed for 79 yards and threw for just 17 yards.

Most memorable moment - There has been a few memorable moments in this series, but it is not hard to find the most memorable one. In 2002, Carolina marched 65 yards on 10 plays that was capped off by a Ryan Brewer touchdown with 7:54 left in the game to break a 10-10 in a 16-12 Carolina victory. Two years later Mike Rathe coming off the bench to complete 5-of-7 passes and found Troy Williamson in the back of the end zone for a touchdown with 1:28 left in the game to give Carolina a 12-7 victory. The 2002 game would be second runner up and the 2004 game would be first runner up, but the winner has to go to the 2011 meeting.

Why does a 54-3 pounding provide the most memorable moment? Two words; Connor Shaw.

Former quarterback Stephen Garcia was benched after a 16-13 loss to Auburn the week before, despite taking over for Shaw and leading the Gamecocks back in the season-opener against East Carolina. Garcia struggled from there despite a 4-1 record and was benched in favor of Shaw.

Shaw came in and lit up the Kentucky defense, throwing for 311 yards on 26-of-39 passes and four touchdowns, all career-highs. Shaw cemented the starting job and Garcia was dismissed from the team a few days later.

Key to the game - The only way Carolina loses this game is if they have a monumental letdown as in 2010. Carolina is more talented across the board and no loss of a single player will cost them a game. As long as the Gamecocks come out ready to play and do not overlook the ‘Cats, Carolina has a good shot at opening up the season 5-0 before heading to one of the toughest stretches in recent history.


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