UK Set for First SEC Road Game at No. 12/13 South Carolina
Oct. 3, 2013
Kentucky will hit the road for its first Southeastern Conference road test of 2013 with a night kickoff at Eastern Division rival South Carolina. The Wildcats are looking to snap a two-game losing skid vs. the Gamecocks and chart their first win in Williams-Brice Stadium since 1999.
Saturday’s matchup will mark Kentucky’s third game in a four-game stretch where all four opponents are currently ranked inside the AP Top 20.
UK will look to rebound from a 24-7 loss to No. 20 Florida a week ago, while South Carolina is coming off a 28-25 road win over UCF last Saturday.
Individually, senior linebacker Avery Williamson continues to lead the SEC in tackles with 42 on the season, as he is averaging 10.5 stops per game in 2013. Defensive end Za’Darius Smith ranks second in the SEC in sacks with 4.5 in the junior college transfer’s first season at UK.
Both Maxwell Smith and Jalen Whitlow continued to share snaps at quarterback. Smith leads the team in passing yardage, while Whitlow has completed 66 percent of his passes and rushd for 169 yards. Freshman running back Jojo Kemp leads the team in rushing and averages 8.9 yards per attempt.
Scouting South Carolina
South Carolina enters Saturday’s game against Kentucky with a 3-1 record, including a 1-1 mark in Southeastern Conference action. The Gamecocks earned a hard-fought non-conference road win last weekend at UCF, turning a 10-0 halftime deficit into a 28-25 victory. Saturday’s matchup will be the third SEC game of the season for South Carolina, which fell 41-30 at Georgia to start conference play before responding with a 35-25 victory over Vanderbilt in Columbia the next week. USC is ranked in the top 15 of both polls.
Offensively, South Carolina has received good production from quarterbacks Connor Shaw, who is the primary starter, and Dylan Thompson, who came in off the bench last week at UCF when Shaw sustained an injury in the first quarter. Thompson led the Gamecock offense in the comeback against the Knights. For the season, Shaw is completing 64.5% of his passes (49-for-76) for 665 yards and six touchdowns, while also sitting second on the team in rushing with 232 yards on 51 carries. Thompson is 23-for-42 on the year for 365 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions. Wide receiver Bruce Ellington paces the team with 14 receptions for 229 yards and a touchdown, while Nick Jones has 12 catches for 136 yards and three touchdowns. Mike Davis has been strong out of the USC backfield with 71 carries for 508 yards and six touchdowns, averaging 7.2 yards per carry.
Defensively, South Carolina is allowing 25.2 points per game this season mostly through the air as the Gamecock defense is limiting opponents to just 129 rushing yards a game. Sophomore linebacker Kaiwan Lewis leads the team in tackles with 22, including a tackle for loss, while sophomore safety T.J. Gurley has 21 tackles. Sophomore linebacker Marcquis Roberts also has 21 tackles this season, including 2.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks, while senior defensive end Chaz Sutton has a team-high 4.5 tackles for loss. Junior defensive tackle Kelcy Quarles leads the team with three sacks, and All-America defensive end Jadeveon Clowney has 12 tackles, three tackles for loss, two sacks and four quarterback hurries on the year. Senior cornerback Jimmy Legree has two interceptions on the season to lead USC.