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South Carolina vs. Kentucky, recap and final score: Gamecocks’ offense blacks out in 23-13 loss


NCAA Football: Kentucky at South Carolina Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

The South Carolina Gamecocks were riding high after a 2-0 start and a victory in their opening SEC game. They saw the night end with a poor 23-13 loss to the Kentucky Wildcats. South Carolina has now lost four straight to the Wildcats and fall to 2-1 on the young season (1-1 SEC).

Despite a 68-yard touchdown catch by Deebo Samuel and a pair of takeaways, the Gamecocks offense stalled in the first quarter. The Wildcats, meanwhile, put together a long 13-play, six-and-a-half plus minute drive ending in a Benny Snell five-yard TD run to put Kentucky up front 7-6 just before the quarter expired. They were at it again on their next drive, going on an 11-play, 67-yard drive - ending on another short Snell scoring run - to take a 14-6 lead with 8:37 left in the half. Meanwhile, South Carolina’s special teams let them down as Alex Woznick missed an extra point and Parker While missed a pair of long field goals in the opening 30 minutes.

After a field goal by Kentucky made it 17-6 with five and a half left in the third quarter, South Carolina was desperate for points, but they were stopped on 4th and goal inside the one on a questionable play call by offensive coordinator Kurt Roper. After a three and out forced by the Carolina defense, they found themselves in field goal range - but Woznick missed a 42-yarder wide right with 12:22 left as the offensive drought continued. The door looked to close for a comeback after a 44-yarder by Austin McGinnis with 8:56 left, but a seven-play, 77-yard drive, ending with a great catch by OrTre Smith at the corner of the end zone, made it 20-13 with 6:26 left. On the next drive, though, Stephen Jackson converted a 3rd and 8 and broke off a 54-yard run to the South Carolina 10 with just over three minutes left to basically ice the game away. A MacGinnis 21-yarder with 2:06 left provided the game’s final margin.

Although Jake Bentley was 24-36 for 304 yards and two touchdowns, he also threw two interceptions, including one inside two minutes left to seal the deal once and for all. Concern now shifts to Zack Bailey and Deebo Samuel, who both left the game due to injury.

The Gamecocks host Louisiana Tech next Saturday at 3:30pm ET.

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