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South Carolina Gamecocks at Kentucky Wildcats Preview: Three Keys and Prediction

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The Gamecocks are in a corner. Can they begin to fight their way out?

Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Today's game against Kentucky is one of the biggest in the series in years. Kentucky believes it can win and take a big leap as a program, while the Gamecocks need a win to keep the wheels from completely falling off the season.

Three Keys to Victory

3. Avoid coverage breakdowns

The 'Cats will spread the field and work the short passing game with their Air Raid offense. Lorenzo Ward and his staff need to scheme to avoid giving up too many mid-range passes, and Carolina's back seven must play with sufficient discipline not to allow too many yards after catch. The Gamecocks have played two Air Raid offenses already, so we should know the drill.

2. Handle pressure

Missouri provided a blueprint for slowing down Carolina's offense by pressuring Dylan Thompson. Kentucky lacks the personnel to get as much pressure as Mizzou did with its defensive line, but the 'Cats are creative in their blitzing and may be able to get pressure that way. The Gamecocks line must pass-block better, and Thompson must do a better job of getting the ball out when pressure comes.

1. Avoid a Mizzou hangover

While Kentucky is much improved, Carolina remains the more talented team. If the Gamecocks offense returns to form and the defense can continue to show improvement, the Gamecocks should win this game. However, if they come out playing scared after what happened last weekend, the 'Cats are good enough to win. The coaches and team leaders must put the team in the right frame of mind going into this game.

Prediction

Although we're in more dangerous territory than we've been in over recent years, you have to give this staff credit for how it's gotten the team to respond to losses over that span. I like the Gamecocks to come out and play better than they did last week and to beat UK 31-20.