South Carolina vs. Kentucky Prediction, Game Preview

    South Carolina vs. Kentucky prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins the SEC East matchup between the Gamecocks and Wildcats.

    September 23, 2016

    South Carolina vs. Kentucky prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins the SEC East matchup between the Gamecocks and Wildcats.


    South Carolina vs. Kentucky Game Preview


    When:
    Saturday, September 24 – 7:30 p.m. ET

    Where:
    Commonwealth Stadium, Lexington, KY

    TV Broadcast:
    SEC Network

    South Carolina earned a big win against East Carolina on Saturday to run its record to 2-1 on the season. Head coach Will Muschamp is still trying to figure out what he has on offense, but the defense has been solid so far through three games.

    Kentucky won its first game of the season 62-42 against New Mexico State, but it wasn’t easy for the Wildcats. Not until the fourth quarter did Mark Stoops’ team pull away from the visiting Sun Belt member.

    What To Know About South Carolina

    The Gamecocks aren’t exactly tearing up the field on offense right now, but they seem to think that Brandon McIlwain is the man at quarterback. He was okay against the Pirates, completing 16 of 28 passes for 195 yards, but did not throw any touchdowns. The rushing attack with running back David Williams has also struggled this season.

    The defense had the motto of bend, don’t break in the win against East Carolina, giving up 400 passing yards but allowing only one touchdown. Two key interceptions of Pirates quarterback Philip Nelson also helped the defensive effort. Linebacker T.J. Holloman will lead a front seven that will try to pressure Stephen Johnson, who took over at quarterback after an injury to Drew Barker.

    What to Know About Kentucky

    Speaking of Johnson, he was fantastic after coming into the game against New Mexico State, throwing for 310 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions. This is a much better defense he is facing, though, and the rushing duo of Boom Williams and Benjamin Snell Jr. will have to keep the Gamecocks honest so they do not just pin their ears back.

    The Wildcats defense has to simply be better. In just three games, they have surrendered a whopping 131 points. Luckily, the Gamecocks offense is not click right now.

    Advantages

     

    Offense: Kentucky. Can Johnson repeat his performance against a much stronger defense?

     

    Defense: South Carolina. The defense has won two games for the Gamecocks so far.

     

    Special Teams: South Carolina. Kicker Elliott Fry has a mighty leg.

     

    Coaching: Tie. Muschamp is getting his second chance as a head coach, while Stoops might be on his way out in Lexington.

    Intangibles: Kentucky. They need a SEC win in the worst way.

    Matchup To Watch

     

    Stephen Johnson vs. South Carolina secondary

    Johnson was solid against New Mexico State, but this isn’t a New Mexico State defense he is playing. JaMarcus King and Chris Lammons both had interceptions against ECU in the win.

    South Carolina vs. Kentucky Betting Odds

     

    Spread: Kentucky -2

    Over/Under:
    55.5

    South Carolina vs. Kentucky Prediction

    If Kentucky is going to win, it must put up the points. That hasn’t been a problem in two non-conference games, but the offense looked completely lost in the 45-7 loss to Florida. South Carolina has to keep the score low for the chance to get the SEC road win. It might be close, but Kentucky pulls it out with the offense getting it done. Stoops’ job is safe for now.

     

    South Carolina vs. Kentucky Score Prediction: Kentucky 31, South Carolina 23

    MORE: 1-128 College Football Rankings – Week 4

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