Protect your passer,punter and everyone else

Dylan Thompson was a little “banged up” after Missouri’s 21-20 victory over the Gamecocks in Columbia, S.C. last Saturday, and this week will not be any easier for South Carolina. Kentucky is well equipped with head coach Mark Stroops defensive mind-set, and the Wildcat defense will have their sights set on Thompson throughout the game.

Senior quarterback Dylan Thompson needs to stay healthy, hands down.

Without a definite back up in the mix, South Carolina will be depending on either sophomore Perry Orth or redshirt freshman Connor Mitch to step in behind the veteran.

As of Wednesday afternoon, quarterbacks coach G.A. Mangus noted a back-up was still uncertain.

“When they play, we’ll all find out,” said Mangus. “They’ve gotten a lot (of practice time) out here. They switched off and got a bunch of reps (on Monday). They’re practicing well. We’re looking forward to getting them in a game at some point in time.”

Thompson’s completion percentage is at 60 percent, and Mangus noted they’d like to get him even higher.

“He’s done much better. It’s a lot higher than what his average has been. He’s done a better job of getting down underneath when need be. He’s missed some throws and we’ve had some drops. It all kind of evens out where it’s at. We’d always like to get it higher but he’s definitely improved.”

The senior was 21-of-37 for 219-yards and one touchdown in the game against Missouri and even became the 13th Gamecock to throw for 3,000 yards in his career.

The Wildcats will come well-equipped to match-up with South Carolina’s offense this weekend. Senior DE/LB Alvin “Bud” Dupree was named as one of the top five athletic “freaks” in college football by NFL.com and Fox Sports. He leads the SEC in sacks with 17.5, ranking tied for third in UK history.

The defense doesn’t stop there. Kentucky has not allowed a first-half offensive touchdown through the first four games and has forced its opponent into a punt on its first possession in every game this season. They rank ninth in third-down conversion percentage, 13th in scoring defense, 13th in passing efficiency defense, and 25th in turnovers gained.

The Wildcats defense has faced 52 opponent drives through four games and have allowed touchdowns in just 15 percent of those drives. Against Vanderbilt last week, UK held Vandy to just 139 yards of total offense and eight first downs.

Head coach Mark Stoops is in his second season with UK and has accomplished major defensive turnarounds at Arizona and Florida State. During his three seasons at FSU, the Seminoles went 10-4, 9-4 and 12-2.

Head coach Steve Spurrier is 20-1 all time against Kentucky, holding the FBS coach record for wins over one school. The HBC noted Missouri had an excellent pass rush last week. Check out what he had to say in Tuesday’s presser.

GamecockPride.com will keep you updated on South Caorlina leading up to the UK game Saturday, Oct. 4.


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