Kentucky Takes on South Carolina in Columbia

Oct. 7, 2011

Gameday
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Kentucky at Soth Carolina
Sat., Oct. 8 - 12:21 p.m. ET
Columbia, S.C.
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Williams-Brice Stadium
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TV: SEC Network
Radio: UK IMG
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UK 2011 Team Stats USC
15.0 Scoring/game 31.8
15.0 First downs/game 17.6
255.6 Total offense/game 372.0
116.2 Rushing yards/game 197.4
139.4 Passing yards/game 174.6
21.4 Kickoff returns (avg) 20.9
2.1 Punt returns (avg) 10.4
41.0 Net punting (avg) 37.8
28:20 Time of possession/game 29:44
27.0 Third down conversion 42.0
27.0 Fourth down conversion 64.0
-2 Turnover margin +1
24.6 Points allowed/game 23.8
362.4 Total yards allowed/game 310.2
198.8 Rush yards allowed/game 159.4
163.6 Pass yards allowed/game 150.8

After falling to No. 1-ranked LSU last Saturday in Baton Rouge, La., Kentucky wraps up its two-game road swing in Southeastern Conference action when it travels to face No. 14 South Carolina on Saturday at 12:21 p.m. ET on SEC Network.

The Wildcats' defense had some good moments against the top-ranked Tigers last weekend, limiting LSU to 169 passing yards. It marked the fourth time this season that UK has limited its opponent to 175 passing yards or less. UK also limited LSU to only eight pass receptions in the game, which is the second-consecutive game UK has limited its opponent to eight or less pass completions.

The UK defense is led by senior linebacker Danny Trevathan and senior safety/hybrid Winston Guy, who rank first and second in the SEC in tackles with 59 and 53, respectively. Guy also leads UK in tackles for loss with 6.5, while Trevathan is the front runner in sacks with two. Junior free safety Mikie Benton leads the UK secondary with five pass breakups this season.

Offensively, true freshman tailback Josh Clemons leads UK is rushing with 61 carries for 269 yards and two touchdowns. Junior quarterback Morgan Newton is completing 50 percent of his passes for 647 yards and six touchdowns. Junior wide receiver La'Rod King paces the team in receiving with 21 catches for 307 yards and four touchdowns.

Kentucky looks for its second consecutive win over South Carolina after defeating top-10 ranked South Carolina 31-28 last season in Lexington. It ended a 10-game losing streak to the Gamecocks. The Wildcats also look for their first win over the Gamecocks in Columbia since 1999. USC leads the overall series 14-7-1, including a 6-3-1 advantage at home.

Cat Scratches: Timing of South Carolina matchup not so different from last year

A year ago, Kentucky entered a matchup with Steve Spurrier's nationally ranked South Carolina team having lost three games in a row. The losing streak dampened the optimism many around the program had entering 2010 and left fans wondering what the rest of the season would hold.

Sound familiar?

Of course, the Wildcats overcame a 28-10 deficit en route to an upset of the No. 10 Gamecocks, the biggest victory of the Joker Phillips era. As the 2011 edition of UK football prepares for a game against that same South Carolina team under similar circumstances, there are lessons to be learned from last year's win... read the full preview

Scouting South Carolina

The 14th-ranked South Carolina Gamecocks enter the matchup with Kentucky after suffering its first loss of the season last week against the defending national champion Auburn Tigers.

The Gamecocks have played three Southeastern Conference games already this season, picking up a big road win at Georgia, 45-42, on Sept. 10 and winning its SEC home opener against Vanderbilt 21-3 on Sept. 24. After the game with Kentucky, USC will go on the road for three tough SEC contests against Mississippi State, Tennessee and No. 10 Arkansas.

South Carolina's defense has played well this season, ranking 24th in the nation in total defense, only allowing 310.2 yards per game. The Gamecocks' defensive secondary has been fantastic, ranking third in pass defense in the nation, allowing 150.8 yards in the air per game.

USC's defense is led by senior spur Antonio Allen, who has 49 tackles this season, including three interceptions, one pass breakup, one quarterback hurry and three fumbles recovered. Junior strong safety D.J. Swearinger is second on the team in tackles with 28, while senior defensive end Melvin Ingram has 26 tackles this season and is first on the squad with 7.5 tackles for loss, and leads the SEC with 5.5 sacks.

South Carolina's offense has been led by sophomore running back Marcus Lattimore, who has 124 rushes for 677 yards and nine touchdowns. Lattimore is second on the team in receiving with 12 catches for 139 yards and a touchdown.

USC quarterback Stephen Garcia has completed just over 50 percent of his passes this season, going 61-for-118 for 844 yards and four touchdowns. Junior wide receiver Alshon Jeffery is Garcia's favorite target, making 19 catches for 332 yards and two touchdowns. Jeffery is averaging an impressive 17.5 yards per catch.

Last Time vs. South Carolina

Behind a career performance from senior quarterback Mike Hartline, Kentucky rallied from an 18-point halftime deficit to top the No. 10-ranked South Carolina Gamecocks 31-28.

Hartline completed 32-of-42 passes for 349 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions, career highs for completions, yards and TDs. Three of the scoring passes came in the second half after the Wildcats trailed 28-10 at intermission.

USC jumped on the board first with a 30-yard touchdown run from freshman running back Marcus Lattimore. The Gamecocks then scored again with 4:40 remaining in the first quarter when quarterback Stephen Garcia connected with sophomore wide receiver Alshon Jeffery.

Following an interception by Wildcat safety Winston Guy, UK cut the Gamecocks' lead in half early in the second quarter with a 10-yard strike from Hartline to La'Rod King.

Behind by 18 at the break, the Cats didn't fold. Kentucky got back in the game in the third quarter on a magnificent 14-play, 95-yard drive, finished by a five-yard pass from Hartline to King, his second touchdown of the game.

In the fourth quarter, the Cats then scored again to pull within 28-23 when Hartline threw a 38-yard touchdown pass to Chris Matthews down the left sideline. UK took over on its own 32-yard line with 7:31 to play and Hartline methodically moved the team downfield. Facing a fourth-and-seven situation on the South Carolina 24-yard line, Hartline put the Cats ahead with a touchdown pass to Randall Cobb with 1:15 on the clock. Cobb then swept left end for a two-point conversion to make the score 31-28. South Carolina mounted its own drive, moving to the Kentucky 20-yard line with 11 seconds to play. Stephen Garcia's pass to the end zone was deflected by Cartier Rice and then intercepted by Anthony Mosley to clinch the victory.