What You’ll Need to Know About Kentucky
By Avery Wilks
This Saturday, the Gamecocks go on the road for the first time in three weeks, hoping to invade Commonwealth Stadium at 7 p.m. and come out with a win over Kentucky. Though the Wildcats have been terrible this year, South Carolina needs to remember that this game counts just as much as any other on the SEC schedule. A loss here would stunt the Gamecocks’ chances of making it to Atlanta, so it’ll be up to Spurrier and his coaching staff to keep the team focused on getting the job done Saturday. History has proven that things can go drastically wrong if the Gamecocks show up to Lexington unprepared.
Key Facts About Kentucky
- 1-3 overall, and 0-1 in the SEC.
- Ranked 94th in the nation in points for per game (23.0) and 84th in the nation in points allowed per game (29.0)
- Already has a two-game losing streak so far this season.
- Injury Report
- QB Maxwell Smith was out last week with a separated shoulder, but is expected to play this week.
- DT Mister Cobble is doubtful for Saturday with an infection.
- RB CoShik Williams is doubtful with a hip injury.
- South Carolina leads the overall series with Kentucky 15-7-1. Kentucky is only 4-8 against South Carolina in Commonwealth Stadium.
- Last meeting: South Carolina won 54-3 in Columbia.
Kentucky Recap and Scouting Report
Let’s be honest, the Wildcats are terrible in almost every way. They haven’t passed, rushed, or played defense well at all this year, and it’s becoming evident that the nightmare Kentucky fans experienced last year is far from over. In only the past two weeks, Joker Phillips’ team has managed to lose in overtime to Western Kentucky of the Sun Belt Conference and be shutout by 38 points in the Swamp against Florida. It’s safe to say their hopes of survival against South Carolina are dim as they limp back to Commonwealth Stadium this week.
Offensively, the Wildcats are pretty bad. The good news is that sophomore quarterback Maxwell Smith–who has passed for 966 yards and eight touchdowns in three games–should be ready to play after missing the Florida game last week with a hurt shoulder. However, the bad news is that if Smith can’t go, Kentucky will have to turn to an unproven freshman at quarterback, Jalen Whitlock. If you’re looking for more bad news, just look to the rest of the Wildcat offense. Senior La’Rod King is the only dependable receiver on the team, though he’s only amassed 227 yards and two touchdowns this year. If Carolina can hold Kentucky’s passing attack in check, expect the Wildcats to turn to the rushing tandem of Raymond Sanders (201 yards) and Jonathan George (155 yards), easily the brightest spots on Joker Phillips’ team.
Defensively, Kentucky is even worse. They’ve given up almost 30 points per the game, including the meltdown where they ceded a whopping 32 points to the Hilltoppers of Western Kentucky. The Kentucky defense has rendered a little over 400 yards per game in 2012, and things won’t get any better in the coming weeks. Faced with the Gamecocks’ now-balanced offensive assault, if the Kentucky defense can’t adjust quickly and play the game of their lives, South Carolina will walk away easily with its 9th consecutive win.