South Carolina Gamecocks at Kentucky Wildcats: Three Keys and Prediction

Kevin C. Cox - Getty Images

Carolina takes on the struggling Kentucky Wildcats tomorrow evening at Commonwealth Stadium in Lexington. The game will be televised on ESPN2. Be sure to stop by the game thread to chat with us during the game. Here are my final thoughts.

Three Keys to Victory

3. Special Teams Play

No, we don't need great special teams play to win this game. However, I'd love to see it anyways. Our play in the return game last week was the story of the game, and the more we can do to established ourselves in this regard, the more confident I'll feel in the potential for this to be a special team.

2. Limit Maxwell Smith

One of the lone bright spots for Kentucky this season is the improved play of QB Maxwell Smith. Smith has played respectable football this season, although his four interceptions were instrumental in the 'Cats stunning loss to Western Kentucky. One key goal for Carolina will be to put some pressure on him. Kentucky tries to get the ball out quickly, which has helped it not give up too many sacks so far this year, but UK hasn't seen Jadeveon Clowney or Devin Taylor yet, so hopefully that will change. It will help if he can force plenty of third-and-long situations, which seems likely. Smith is coming off an injury, so he might fold under pressure. La'Rod King, by the way, is the main guy to watch for among the receivers.

1. Connor Shaw Must Avoid Mistakes

Shaw doesn't need to have a Heisman-esque performance for Carolina in this one. He will probably have some chances to make big plays against a bad Kentucky defense, but if he struggles to do so, it's not the end of the world. What he can't do is turn the ball over. Aggressive Kentucky DC Rick Minter will likely take some chances with blitzes to try to force Shaw to make the kinds of mistakes that could allow Kentucky to make a game out of this. Shaw has to play these situations intelligently, taking what he can but not forcing the issue. This is very important because Kentucky isn't likely to put many points on the board unless we give them some short fields.

Prediction

I wouldn't be surprised if Kentucky empties the playbook early in this one. Joker Phillips's back is against the wall, and a win in this game could be the difference in his career. If Carolina can withstand the early charge and build a lead, though, this one will get out of hand quickly. Something in between is probably most likely. Carolina might not play a perfect game, but the outcome won't seriously be in doubt. Let's say 38-10 Carolina.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Garnet And Black Attack

You must be a member of Garnet And Black Attack to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Garnet And Black Attack. You should read them.

Join Garnet And Black Attack

You must be a member of Garnet And Black Attack to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Garnet And Black Attack. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9341_tracker