Gamecock Gamechangers

South Carolina struggled early on, but made a furious comeback in the second half to take a 38-17 win over Kentucky Saturday night in Lexington, Kentucky. We take a look at Saturday's top performers as well as the top plays of the game.

5. Connor Shaw

Shaw's hopes for NCAA history were dashed by a Bruce Ellington drop on his first pass attempt of the game. Who knows if Steve Spurrier had designed short passes to begin the game to try and help Shaw break the record, but it didn't matter on the drop on the receiver screen. All Shaw did from there was complete 15 of his final 17 pass attempts – including another drop in the end zone by an open D.L. Moore – for 148 yards and a pair of touchdowns to Ace Sanders and Damiere Byrd. The Byrd touchdown was on the exact same play that was called when Moore missed his. Shaw added an additional 76 yards on the gain on 20 carries. The only critiques for Shaw would be that he was sacked three times and sometime was quick to run when he could have stayed in the pocket an additional second or two to find a receiver. Still, another solid performance from the Gamecock quarterback.

4. Jadeveon Clowney

Jadeveon Clowney is a man among boys on the football field. You really can't understand what a physical specimen he is unless you are fortunate enough to see him up close. You also cannot really appreciate what he does and the impact he makes on a game by looking at a state sheet. Clowney only had four tackles and one sack, but he was constantly in the backfield and making Kentucky quarterback Jalen Whitlow and the running backs turn into the teeth of the defense. He was also credited for 2.5 tackles for loss, most on the team.

3. Devin Taylor

Clowney's partner probably had his best game of the season. While several of his tackles in the season opener against Vanderbilt were credited to Kelcy Quarles, Taylor was all over the place Saturday night. He led the team with 1.5 sacks and had three tackles. He hasn't had the breakout game that everyone is expecting, but he got on the right track Saturday night.

2. DeVonte Holloman

Holloman had by far his best game of the season, and arguably had the best game of anyone Saturday night. Holloman was all over the field, recording six tackles, two tackles for loss, and one sack. He also had his first interception of the season late in the game to help seal the deal.

Player of the Game

Marcus Lattimore

Lattimore had five carries for 12 yards in the first half. Facing a defense that has given up nearly 200 yards on the ground per game, South Carolina's Heisman candidate had five carries for 12 yards. That is unacceptable and one of the main reasons the Gamecocks found themselves down 17-7 at the half. Spurrier made an effort to get Lattimore more involved in the offense in the second half and it paid off big time. Lattimore carried the ball 18 times in the second half for 108 yards and two scores to finish the game with 120 yards rushing on 23 carries and a pair of scores. On the drive that put the game away, Carolina ran the ball 13 times in 14 plays. Lattimore got the carry 10 times for 61 yards and the score to put Carolina up 28-17. Lattimore had his best game of the season when the Gamecocks needed it the most.

Plays of the Game

5. Shaw to Anderson

Much like the first time South Carolina hit the road to open the season at Vanderbilt, the offense sputtered early on. For the second week in a row Carolina had third and goal from the opponent one yard line. For the second week in a row, Shaw got the call on both plays and didn't get in the end zone. Kentucky took over from their one and drove down the field to take a 3-0 lead. On the ensuing drive, Shaw was forced out of the pocket, rolled left towards the Gamecock sideline and directed tight end Rory Anderson into an open area in the zone defense by the Wildcats. Shaw stood firm and lofted one to Anderson inside the Kentucky 10. Two plays later Shaw hit Ace Sanders for a touchdown and a 7-3 Carolina lead.

4. Quarles, Taylor has a meeting with Whitlow

After holding Kentucky on their first possession to open the second half, Carolina did what they had to do. They drove down the field and put it in the end zone to trim the deficit to 17-14. Defensive linemen Kelcy Quarles and Devin Taylor made sure the momentum stayed on Carolina's side. On the second play of the Kentucky drive, Quarles and Taylor got to Kentucky quarterback Jalen Whitlow for a seven yard loss as the Gamecocks forced a three-and-out to get the ball right back with a chance to take the lead.

3. What were you thinking?

Kentucky had Carolina on the ropes. After an errant snap by Carolina center T.J. Johnson on a fourth and one gave Kentucky the ball inside the Carolina 10 with a minute to play, the Wildcats seemed poised to at least score three points at the end of the half. On first down Raymond Sanders gained nothing, but UK still had plenty of time. However, the Wildcats let nearly 40 seconds go by and then had to burn their final timeout with 24 seconds left. Whitlow would be stripped of the ball on the following play, and while Kentucky was able to scoop up the ball and nearly score, time expired before they could get another snap and the Gamecocks felt fortunate to trail 17-7 at the half.

2. Miles gives Carolina the lead

Kenny Miles was a workhorse down the stretch last year for South Carolina. With Lattimore back, Miles has understandably seen his numbers decrease by a large margin. Miles did not get a carry until the third quarter, but he made it pay off. Miles got the carry around the left side, turned the corner and took it 17 yards for the touchdown. It was the first touchdown of the year for Miles and gave Carolina their first lead since leading 7-3 early on and would be a lead Carolina would hold for the remainder of the game.

Play of the Game

Shaw finds Byrd

Early in the first quarter, Connor Shaw found a wide open D.L. Moore on a slant in the end zone that should have been an easy touchdown. However, Moore could not pull it in and dropped it. That would prove to be costly as Carolina was held on fourth and goal from the one to end the drive. Early in the third quarter, Spurrier went back to the same play. This time it was Damiere Byrd running through the middle of the end zone and he hauled it in for a 30-yard touchdown to get the Carolina offense jump started.

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