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The Friday Morning Optimist: South Carolina vs. Kentucky

With a win this week, the Gamecocks will have matched their win total from last season. Not bad, considering it’s Week Four.

NCAA Football: East Carolina at South Carolina Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

2005. It’s Steve Spurrier’s first season as head coach, and after three weeks, the Gamecocks are sitting pretty with a 1-2 record. Flash forward eleven years, and Coach Will Muschamp is calling the shots in Columbia, boasting a 2-1 record through three weeks. Coincidence? That’s certainly up to personal interpretation.

What we do know is that things are finally looking up. After the embarrassment of last season, we’re finally witnessing some continuity on the offensive side of the ball. We have a clear-cut starter at quarterback, a talented, yet inconsistent, stable of running backs, and a group of young receivers with a lot of potential. A win this week would be huge, as the Gamecocks head back to Williams-Brice for five straight games. Going into this stretch at 3-1 would give them a solid chance to reach six or even seven wins. Although this opening stretch has been brutal, with three of the first four on the road, the meat of the schedule is in home territory.

Kentucky has struggled so far this season, starting 1-2, blowing a large lead against Southern Miss, getting blown out by Florida, and beating New Mexico State in a shootout. Although it is a road game, their defense is inefficient and porous and should give Brandon McIlwain plenty of opportunities to put up points. If the Gamecocks can play to their talent level, and if the defense continues to make plays, this should be a comfortable win.

Reasons for Optimism

  • Kentucky’s Strength of Schedule and Record
  • Bryan Edwards’s 207 yards through three games
  • Eleven TFL’s last week, to go along with four sacks
  • Three takeaways last week, with two in the red zone
  • Exceptional special teams play in all phases