Football Opens SEC Play at South Carolina

Coming off a win over Louisiana Lafayette in the season opener - the debut of the $126 million renovation to Commonwealth Stadium - Kentucky will open SEC play with a road tilt at South Carolina on Saturday, with kickoff slated for 7:30 p.m. and the game airing on the SEC Network.

Kentucky
Kentucky at South Carolina
Sat., Sept. 12 - 7:30 p.m. ET
Williams Brice Stadium
Columbia, S.C.
Game Notes: UK Get Acrobat Reader | USC Get Acrobat Reader
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TV: SEC Network
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Texas Roadhouse Countdown to Kickoff (5:30 p.m.)

UK 2015 Team Stats USC
1-0 Record 1-0
0-0 Conference Record 0-0
40.0 Scoring/game 17.0
435.0 Total offense/game 394.0
178.0 Rushing yards/game 254.0
257.0 Passing yards/game 140.0
31.8 Kickoff returns (avg) 24.0
16.0 Punt returns (avg) 0.0
45.5 Punting (avg) 46.2
22:55 Time of possession/game 33:38
36.0 Third down conversion 47.0
100 Fourth down conversion 50.0
33.0 Points allowed/game 13.0
479.0 Total yards allowed/game 440.0
247.0 Rush yards allowed/game 208.0
232.0 Pass yards allowed/game 232.0
Kentucky was tested in its season lidlifter, with UK using a late-game drive that saw sophomore tailback Mikel Horton scamper in from 12 yards out with 57 seconds remaining in regulation to break a  33-33 deadlock and lift UK to the win. The game was the debut of the new of Commonwealth Stadium, with a sell-out crowd of 62,933 in attendance.

UK took a 21-7 lead into halftime, before stretching its lead to 33-10 late in the third quarter. The  Rajun Cajuns - winners of nine games in four straight seasons - rallied to even the game, forcing  Horton’s heroics on UK’s game-winning 58-yard drive. Senior preseason All-SEC linebacker Josh Forrest ended the game with an interception - highlighting a 15-tackle night.

Cat Scratches: Cats attacking road losing streak head on

Mark Stoops isn’t one to hide from facts.

He’s perfectly aware Kentucky is winless in 10 games away from Commonwealth Stadium so far in his tenure, and he’s not dodging it. He’s actually doing the exact opposite.

Before the Wildcats’ first practice ahead of a Saturday trip to South Carolina, Stoops reminded his team of the road oh-fer for one simple reason.

“Because you don’t win the game by just a bunch of hoopla, just a bunch of rah-rah on Friday and Saturday,” Stoops said. “You win the game by your preparation and what you do throughout the week. So I wanted to set the tone real quick that it’s going to be a great challenge and that we have to accept that challenge in our preparation and everything we do all week.”

Junior Patrick Towles has started the last five of those losses away from Lexington. The talented quarterback has played well in some and struggled mightily in others, but he learned lessons from all of them, lessons that were proven true when the Cats took down South Carolina for the biggest win of the Stoops era a season ago.

“You gotta play a full game,” Towles said. “They don’t really care about the score after one quarter or two quarters or three quarters. Last year when we were playing these guys, that helped us because we came back from 14 down twice. Hopefully we don’t do that on Saturday, but if we do we gotta answer the bell and I have no doubt that we will.” ... read full story

Series Record vs. South Carolina

South Carolina maintains a 17-8-1 all-time record against Kentucky. The Gamecocks leads the series, 8-3-1 in games played in Columbia, S.C. Kentucky's last win in Columbia against USC was in 199, a 30-10 victory. The Wildcats won the last meeting against South Carolina, 45-38, using an interception return for a touchdown by then-senior Alvin "Bud" Dupree on a tipped pass in the fourth quarter. The touchdown sealed one of the largest comebacks in Kentucky football history. The last time Kentucky won consecutive games against USC was 1998-99.

Last time vs. South Carolina

Kentucky posted a win over South Carolina in its meeting in 2014, a 45-38 win in Lexington. UK mounted the largest fourth-quarter rally in program history, twice erasing two-touchdown holes and answering 21 unanswered points from the Gamecocks in the second half with 21 straight of its own to finish the tilt. Senior defensive end Bud Dupree tallied the game-winning touchdown on a tipped pass, from senior lineman Mike Douglas, that landed in his hands. Dupree scampered six yards for the go-ahead score with 2:29 left in regulation. Senior safety Ashely Lowery then finished it with an interception with 91 seconds remaining. UK was spurred to the win behind a heroic performance from tailback Jojo Kemp, who finished with 17 carries, 131 yards and three touchdowns while excelling in the “Wildcat” formation despite fighting off cramps. Quarterback Patrick Towles went 20-for-29 for 208 yards and a TD in the win. UK had 239 yards rushing and intercepted USC three times.

Scouting South Carolina

South Carolina (1-0) opened its 2015 season with a win over North Carolina in a neutral-site meeting. The  Gamecocks rallied with a touchdown in the fourth quarter - the only points scored by either team in the second half - to edge the Tar Heels. The Cocks went for 394 yards of total offense, including 254 yards rushing. Versatile talent Shon Carson rushed for a 75-yard touchdown, with Brandon Wilds totaling a team-leading 14 carries for 51 yards. QB Connor Mitch, who was 9-for-22 for 122 yards and a TD in the air, rushed 10 times for 44 yards. David Williams also carried it 10 times for 42 yards. In the air, Wilds caught four balls for 44 yards, with Pharoh Cooper notching three catches for 45 yards and a touchdown. Linebacker Skai Moore led the club with 10 tackles, including two interceptions in the win. Isaiah Johnson, Cedrick Cooper and Chris Lammons each had five tackles. The Cocks had five sacks vs. UNC, with Kelsey Griffin contributing 1.5 sacks. Sean Kelly punted five times for 46.2 yards, including a long of 60 and two touchbacks. Elliot Fry nailed a 25 yard field goal but misfired on a 57 yard attempt.