South Carolina opens up at Williams Brice Stadium this Saturday against SEC foe Kentucky Wildcats. The Wildcats have won the last three meetings between these two teams, each decided by one touchdown or fewer.
South Carolina and Kentucky roll into this contest 2-0. The Gamecocks have two Power 5 wins against N.C. State and Missouri, while the Wildcats hold two non-Power 5 wins against Southern Mississippi and Eastern Kentucky. This matchup should be a good test for the Wildcats to see how they match up against a Power 5 and SEC opponent.
Head coach Will Muschamp knows the environment will be rocking.
“Regardless of our record, our fans will be ready to go. I do know that. They’ll be excited, and I know our players will be excited to play for them,” said Muschamp in his weekly press conference Tuesday.
The Gamecocks have been rolling. They have scored over 30 points in their first two games, and held an explosive Missouri team to 13 points last week. South Carolina also has made big plays on special teams this season, including two kickoff return touchdowns from versatile star Deebo Samuel, and a muffed punt recovery by Kaleb Chalmers.
Kentucky has been productive on both offense and defense as well. The Wildcats have scored over 20 points in both contests and have only allowed 17 points or less in both games. Quarterback Stephen Johnson has thrown for over 400 yards this season with a pair of touchdowns. He has looked effective under center for Kentucky. Even though they played non Power 5 teams, Kentucky still has a lot of positive points to build off of and still look like a solid team.
How the Wildcats can win
The Wildcats will need to put long drives together, and win the time of possession. They need to try to give South Carolina the ball as minimal as possible and work the clock. They also need to target and spy big time playmaker Deebo Samuel, who has already scored three different ways this season. Look for him to draw a lot of attention from the Wildcats.
How the Gamecocks can win
The Gamecocks can win by using their offensive arsenal as much as they can and include players like Bryan Edwards, Hayden Hurst and Deebo Samuel on the touches. When the Gamecocks spread the ball around, they are a much better team offensively. Last week, for example, Hayden Hurst touched the ball more and it opened up a lot of things for the Gamecocks offensively. Look for a lot of contributors on offense, as they look to put up 30-plus points for the third week in a row.
Prediction: Gamecocks 31 Wildcats 24. I see a closer game than most. The Wildcats are tough and want to spoil South Carolina’s fun.
With South Carolina on the prowl for revenge after losing the last three meetings to Kentucky, the atmosphere at Williams Brice Stadium should be electric. This should be a close, hard-hitting matchup between these two SEC teams.