Kentucky Hits the Road for First Time, Visiting South Carolina

Kentucky Hits the Road for First Time, Visiting South Carolina

Kentucky will travel to unfriendly confines for the first time this season when it takes on South Carolina at Williams-Brice Stadium on Saturday. Game time is 7 p.m. EDT and it will air on ESPN2.

The Cats will be seeking a 2-0 start to conference play for just the second time since 1977 (also 2018).

The Wildcats’ new offense is under the guidance of coordinator Liam Coen, who came to Lexington after a successful tenure on the staff of the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams, piled up more than 500 total yards in each of the first two games of the season for the first time in school history and ranks 27th nationally. With a deep, veteran offensive line bookended by All-American Darian Kinnard and LSU transfer Dare Rosenthal, the power running of Chris Rodriguez Jr. and a wide receiver corps that features Josh Ali and Wan’Dale Robinson, the Cats showed the hallmarks of an explosive group.

Defensively, the Cats are mixing a youth movement with productive seniors Yusuf Corker, Marquan McCall, Josh Paschal, DeAndre Square and others. The unit ranks 21st nationally through three weeks and has shown a knack for coming up with critical plays with the game in the balance.

Kentucky at South Carolina
Sat., Sept. 25 – 7:00 p.m. ET
Williams-Brice Stadium
Columbia, S.C.
Game Notes: UK | SC
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Radio: UK Sports Network
Live Stats

UK Team Stats SC
3-0 Record 2-1
1-0 Conference Record 0-1
36.0 Scoring/game 26.3
480.0 Total offense/game 357.7
196.0 Rushing yards/game 149.7
284.0 Passing yards/game 208.0
17.3 Kickoff returns (avg) 25.2
3.3 Punt returns (avg) 4.5
43.8 Punting (avg) 41.3
30:58 Time of possession/game 32:33
55.9% Third down conversion 40.5%
00.0% Fourth down conversion 75.0%
20.3 Points allowed/game 19.0
274.7 Total yards allowed/game 289.3
97.0 Rush yards allowed/game 110.3
177.7 Pass yards allowed/game 179.0

Kentucky Defense Looking to Create More Turnovers

The Kentucky defense has played well overall this season. The Cats are sixth in the SEC and 20th in the country in total offense, giving up just 274.7 yards per game through three contests.

Kentucky has not allowed an opponent to score more than 28 points so far through three contests. The Cats are eighth in the SEC in total tackles.

All of those things are great but defensive coordinator Brad White is looking for something more from his unit. Specifically, he wants his team to create more turnovers.

“It’s one of those things that we emphasize all the time, every week from spring ball to fall camp,” White said. “And it’s not as if the guys are saying they don’t want to catch the interception or I don’t want to strip the ball out.”

So far this season, the Cats have only produced two – a Jacquez Jones interception against Missouri and the Tyrell Ajian interception against Chattanooga that Ajian took back 95 yards for a score…Read More

Series vs. South Carolina

• South Carolina leads the all-time series 18-13-1.
• The Gamecocks own a 9-5-1 edge in Columbia but Kentucky has won two of the last three matchups there, the last one coming in 2017 (23-13).
• Overall, UK has won six of the past seven meetings in the series.
• The series has been defined by extended winning streaks, one from each team. South Carolina won 10 straight from 2000-09 before UK’s five-year run from 2014-18.
• The Cats have eclipsed 200 rushing yards four times in the past seven meetings, including 291 with five rushing touchdowns in 2020.
• The teams first met in 1937, a 27-7 UK win, and then not again until 1978. They have met annually since 1992 when the Gamecocks joined the SEC.
• UK coach Mark Stoops in 6-2 vs. the Gamecocks.
• Biggest UK win: 23 (41-18 in 2020)
• Biggest South Carolina win: 51 (54-3 in 2011)
• Games decided by eight points or less: Tied 8-8-1

A UK Win Would…

• Move UK to 2-0 in SEC play for the first time since 2018 and just the second time since 1977.
• Give head coach Mark Stoops 26 SEC victories at UK, breaking the school record of 25 league wins by Fran Curci.
• Give Stoops 53 career victories at UK, putting him just seven wins shy of tying Paul “Bear” Bryant for the school’s all-time winning coach. Give UK three straight SEC wins, including consecutive wins over South Carolina.
• Push Stoops’ record vs. South Carolina to 7-2.
• Be UK’s seventh in the past eight games in the series.
• Improve UK’s record vs. SEC East foes Missouri, South Carolina and Vanderbilt to 19-7 under coach Mark Stoops.

Kentucky-South Carolina Connections

• UK offensive line coach Eric Wolford spent the past four seasons in the same position at South Carolina before arriving in Lexington. He also coached there in 2009.
• Kentucky has three players from the state of South Carolina: PK Chance Poore (Anderson), DB Andru Phillips (Mauldin) and DB Jalen Geiger (Columbia).
• South Carolina does not have a player on its roster from Kentucky.
• Geiger was teammates with South Carolina P/K Alex Herrera and LS Hunter Rogers at Spring Valley High School.

Last Meeting vs. South Carolina

• Kentucky closed out the truncated 2020 regular season by defeating South Carolina, 41-18, in Lexington, the Cats’ sixth win in the last seven meetings between the SEC East rivals.
• The margin of victory was Kentucky’s largest in the series.
• The Cats took an early lead, pushed it to 27-3 at halftime and cruised to the win.
• RB Chris Rodriguez Jr. rushed for a then-career high 139 yards, including a 79-yard jaunt to close out the game. He scored three times on the ground.
• RB A.J. Rose also collected 101 yards on the ground as part of the Cats’ 291 total rushing yards.
• LB Jamin Davis had 10 tackles and a 1.5 tackles for loss as part of his breakout season.
• LB Jamar “Boogie” Watson forced two fumbles and had 2.5 tackles for loss.

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