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October 4, 2013

Cats take two-game losing streak to South Carolina

KENTUCKY AT SOUTH CAROLINA| SATURDAY | 7:30 P.M. | FSN
KENTUCKY (1-3, 0-1 SEC)
Coach: Mark Stoops
Record: 1-3 in first season at UK and overall
Last game:Florida 24, Kentucky 7
Next game: Alabama, Oct. 12
Roster | Depth chart
No. 13 SOUTH CAROLINA (3-1, 1-1 SEC)
Coach: Steve Spurrier
Record: 69-38 in ninth season at South Carolina; 211-78-2 in 24th season overall
Last game: South Carolina 28, UCF 25
Next game: at Arkansas, Oct. 12
Roster | Depth chart
Game/Series Information
Game Information
Site: Williams-Brice Stadium, Columbia, S.C. (80,250)
TV: FSN (Bob Rathburn play-by-play, Tim Couch analysis, Elizabeth Moreau sideline)
Radio: UK IMG Sports Network (Tom Leach play-by-play, Jeff Piecoro analysis; Dick Gabriel sideline); Sirius 135/XM 201
Internet: Audio | Video
Favorite: South Carolina by 21

Series Information:
Series record: South Carolina leads 16-7-1
At Columbia: South Carolina leads 7-3-1
Coaches' records: Stoops 0-0 vs. South Carolina; Spurrier 19-1 vs. UK

Last meeting
South Carolina 38, Kentucky 17 (Sept. 29, 2012 in Lexington)
A goal-line stand, a blocked punt and a recovered fumble helped stake Kentucky to a 17-7 halftime lead before the Gamecocks took control with a 31-0 second half. South Carolina scored touchdowns on four of its six second-half possessions, including three straight to open the half. Gamecocks running back Marcus Lattimore scored twice in the second half and totaled 120 rushing yards on 23 carries.

Keys to the Game
1. Clowney show: South Carolina defensive end [db]Jadeveon Clowney[/db] has had a slower-than-expected statistical start, but he's still able to impact the game as the key to a devastating South Carolina pass rush. That's bad news for a Kentucky team still trying to find its footing at quarterback. Though coaches are mum on which, we know that either [db]Jalen Whitlow[/db] or [db]Maxwell Smith[/db] was given the majority of practice reps this week in an effort to settle on a No. 1 QB after three games of a two-man system.


2. Light a fire: If [db]Mark Stoops[/db] was pretending to be furious after Wednesday's practice, he's Tom Hanks. He made a convincing case that he was fed up with his team's approach, and it's fair to wonder if the limits of Kentucky's talent are beginning to weigh on the first-year head coach, who knew he was in for a rebuilding job all along. Fiery speeches can only go so far, but it will be interesting to see how much has changed this week as Stoops implored his players to work harder.


3. QB stability: As Kentucky struggles to find a consistent quarterback, South Carolina apparently will turn the team back over to its veteran leader at the position. An throwing-shoulder injury against Central Florida was expected to keep Gamecocks QB [db]Connor Shaw[/db] out for two or three weeks. Instead, coach [db]Steve Spurrier[/db] said this week that Shaw will start against the Wildcats. Shaw is 49-of-76 passing this season for 665 yards and six touchdowns without an interception.

Staff Predictions
T.J. Walker, Staff Writer: South Carolina 34, Kentucky 10 Maybe UK will get better quarterback play when it plays weaker competition, but against South Carolina's defense, it won't be this week. Expect this game to be like UK's last two; the Cats have their chances, because they're well coached, but their lack of talent and experience means missed opportunities. But UK will continue to grow.

Aaron Smith, staff writer: South Carolina 37, Kentucky 13 Mark Stoops has done a great job of keeping UK competitive these last two weeks. I don't think it will happen a third time, though. Not in the first true road game, against another great defense, with quarterback problems still persisting.

Justin Rowland, Football Recruiting Analyst: South Carolina 42, Kentucky 17. Given the Wildcats' offensive woes it's difficult to imagine the Cats taking advantage of what has been a vulnerable Gamecock secondary. On the road in a hostile environment for the first time and with quarterback uncertainty, against the Ball Coach, it will be tough.

Brett Dawson, Publisher: South Carolina 38, Kentucky 7 Take winning off the table and manage expectations here. The last time the Cats played at South Carolina, they took a 54-3 beating. The test on Saturday is to see if they can keep adversity from snowballing. If Kentucky does that, it's a small step in the right direction.



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