Wildcats Look to Keep Momentum Going vs. Gamecocks
After earning its first win since 2011 against a Southeastern Conference opponent last weekend against Vanderbilt, the University of Kentucky football team looks to keep its momentum going this weekend as it hosts South Carolina, who has played one of the nation's toughest schedules and is receiving votes in both major rankings.
|Kentucky vs. South Carolina|
|Sat., Oct. 4 - 7:30 p.m. ET
Game Notes: UK | USC
|TV: SEC Network
Radio: UK Sports Network
Live Video via SEC Network
Gameday Live : Live audio, blog, stats, and social media
|UK||2014 Team Stats||USC|
|26.2||Kickoff returns (avg)||22.2|
|7.0||Punt returns (avg)||7.8|
|31:43||Time of possession/game||31:25|
|45.0||Third down conversion (pct)||41.0|
|40.0||Fourth down conversion (pct)||40.0|
|323.0||Total yards allowed/game||440.0|
|137.0||Rush yards allowed/game||164.4|
|186.0||Pass yards allowed/game||275.6|
The Wildcats had an impressive defensive effort against the Commodores last weekend, allowing Vanderbilt no offensive points and just 139 yards of total offense, the fewest UK has allowed against an SEC opponent since 1996. UK also had three interceptions in the game, six pass breakups and four quarterback sacks.
Kentucky is looking to go 4-0 at Commonwealth Stadium for the first time since 2008 and own a 4-1 record for only the 12th time in program history since 1950.
Cat Scratches: UK confident, but aware of challenge posed by South Carolina
Seemingly each week, a new team has moved into the driver's seat in the Southeastern Conference East division.
A month into the season, six teams are within a game of first-place Missouri, which won its first and only league game of the season this past weekend.
The team that ends up representing the East in the SEC Championship Game is anyone's guess, but Kentucky has an opportunity to put itself in the thick of the race with a win this weekend.
That fact led to inevitable questions to players about the quick transition from back-to-back winless SEC seasons to being a victory away from contender status.
Patrick Towles, however, doesn't quite see things that way.
"I feel like we're right in the middle of the SEC race right now," Towles said.
The confidence reflected in Towles' words has overtaken the UK program in Mark Stoops' second season. The Wildcats (3-1, 1-1 SEC) will carry that belief into a matchup with South Carolina (3-2, 2-2 SEC) at 7:30 p.m. ET on Saturday for which fans are being asked to participate in a blackout. ... read the full preview
Scouting South Carolina
South Carolina is coming off a 21-20 loss at home to Missouri last weekend, moving to 3-2 on the season and 2-2 in SEC play. The Gamecocks opened the 2014 season against highly ranked Texas A&M before three consecutive wins against East Carolina, Georgia and at Vanderbilt. Saturday's game will be the second road game of the year for the Gamecocks. South Carolina has played the nation's fifth-most difficult schedule according to the Sagarin Ratings in USA Today.
The Gamecocks are averaging 33.4 points per game this season behind a strong rushing and passing attack. USC is averaging 149.8 rushing yards per game and 271.8 passing yards per game for an average total offense output of 421.6 per game. Quarterback Dylan Thompson is completing over 60 percent of his passes this season for 1,359 yards and 12 touchdowns. His favorite target is Pharoh Cooper, who has 24 catches for 296 yards and three touchdowns. Nick Jones also has three touchdown receptions this season, while Shaq Roland has two touchdown receptions. Rushing-wise, Mike Davis is the leader with 80 attempts for 368 yards and three touchdowns, while Brandon Wilds has 48 carries for 248 yards and one touchdown.
The South Carolina defense is allowing 33 points per game this season, allowing 164.4 rushing yards per game and 275.6 passing yards per game. The Gamecocks have forced three interceptions and one fumble recovery this season. Skai Moore leads the team with 32 tackles, adding one tackle for loss and one sack. T.J. Gurley has 29 tackles and an interception. Gerald Dixon has five tackles for loss this season and two sacks to pace the team in both categories.
Tyler Hull leads the team with a 43.3 yards per punt average, pinning opponents inside the 20 yard line eight times, while Landon Ard has handled most of the kickoff duties with 14 touchbacks. Elliott Fry is 9-for-10 this year in field goal tries with his lone miss coming from 50+ yards.