USC ready to take on the Kentucky Wildcats

South Carolina travels to Lexington Kentucky to play the Wildcats in a crucial SEC East matchup for both teams. Steve Spurrier will put his perfect 13-0 record against Kentucky on the line, and USC will try to extend it's perfect record in the 21st Century against the Wildcats, having won all six previous games played this millenium.

The 7 p.m. game will be broadcast nationally in high definition on ESPN2.

It's South Carolina's first road game since they opened the season in Starkville Mississippi on August 31. Starting running back Cory Boyd talked about the expectations of playing on the road for the first time in over a month. "There's always a different mentality. It's just you, your team, your coaches, and a select amount of fans that you have," he said. "You just have to have that togetherness. You've got thousands of people rooting against you, and we've just got to come together as a team. We know the importance of the game, and hopefully we can just get out there and do what we've got to do."

Kentucky's defense is giving up a lot of yards and a lot of points, and Gamecock fans are excited about the possibility of an offensive explosion for their team. Coach Steve Spurrier was realistic about the Kentucky defense as he commented on the upcoming game. "Their defense has struggled at times, but they play well at times also. They held Florida to about six points with about a minute left in the first half, and Florida didn't really go up and down the field much at all, although Central Michigan did last week. Kentucky is a pretty good team and probably like us, so it should be a heck of a game."

Syvelle Newton also was cautious in assessing the USC offense's chances against Kentucky: "We're pretty sure they're going to make a lot of adjustments. They're going to be prepared for us, and they're going to have a couple defenses in to try and stop what we do."

The Kentucky offense is much improved this year over last year, which is currently ranked third in the SEC in scoring. The USC defense will be called on to step up and stop them. In fact, USC Coach Spurrier changed a long standing practice, announcing that he will allow the defense to play first if they win the coin toss, and defer to the second half.

USC has faired pretty well when it comes to injuries this year compared to recent years. Last week's star receiver Kenny McKinley suffered a bruised collarbone and was held out of most of this week's practices, but is expected to play tonight. Emmanuel Cook will be out for this game.

After wholesale lineup changes earlier in the season, there will be only one one starter change tonight: fan favorite Stanley Doughty, who has been anything but a favorite with the USC coaching staff this season due to weight and lack-of-effort issues, will replace Joel Reaves. Doughty had what were some of the key defensive plays last season against Arkansas, and led the team in sacks last year, but has seen little playing time this year until tonight.

The temperature for tonight's game is expected to drop into the low forties, but the cool weather won't be a factor, according to Spurrier. "The only cool night we had [last year] was at Tennessee. That's the only time I can remember wearing a windbreaker. It shouldn't bother us."

The "Ol' Ball Coach" assessed the game this way: "Something is going to give on Saturday night. I'm sure they feel the opportunity to get a victory, and hopefully we feel like we have a chance too. It should be a heck of game," said Spurrier. "We played pretty well last week and hopefully we can continue to improve with our guys. Nothing is really easy for us. It's going to be a struggle. We anticipate a down to the wire game and hopefully we will execute a little bit better in the closing minutes than we did last week."

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