South Carolina’s quest to become bowl eligible will advance when the team hosts Kentucky in a Southeastern Conference clash on Saturday night in Columbia, S.C.
The Gamecocks (4-6, 2-5) answered four straight losses with a 38-28 win over Jacksonville State on Nov. 4 and a 47-6 victory vs. Vanderbilt last Saturday. Should South Carolina beat the Wildcats (6-4, 3-4), it would set up a regular-season finale with Palmetto State rival Clemson on Nov. 25 for the chance to punch its ticket to the postseason.
Spencer Rattler threw for 351 yards and three touchdowns and rushed for a score in the lopsided triumph over the Commodores. Xavier Legette recorded nine catches for 120 yards and Mario Anderson rushed for 102 yards and a touchdown.
“Yeah, um, you don’t want to make too big of a deal off one game,” Gamecocks coach Shane Beamer said. “I thought defensively, we didn’t make enough plays in the second half, but we showed some flashes (in a 30-17 loss to Texas A&M on Oct. 28) of pressuring the quarterback and being aggressive and getting off the field on third down.”
South Carolina forced two turnovers and limited Vanderbilt to 234 total yards. A nice performance to be certain; however, Beamer was quick to keep it in perspective.
“I’m not gonna anoint us the ’85 Chicago Bears defense because of one really good day,” Beamer said. “But if we can continue to build on what we did (Saturday) and keep getting better — not just defensively, but our entire team — offense, defense and special teams — we’ll have the November that we want.”
Kentucky followed a winless October by splitting the first two games in November. The Wildcats became bowl eligible with a 24-3 victory over Mississippi State on Nov. 4 before falling for the fourth time in five games with a 49-21 setback against Alabama.
Kentucky was outgained 444-253 in total offense and allowed Alabama to convert 7 of 11 third-down opportunities.
“We have to regroup in a hurry and get ready to go on the road and try to get win No. 7 for us here this week at South Carolina, a team that obviously has played much better the past two weeks,” Wildcats coach Mark Stoops said. “They’ve also played some very good football teams and are more than capable of playing well in all phases.”
Rattler completed 14 of 19 passes for 177 yards with one touchdown and one interception in South Carolina’s 24-14 victory over Kentucky last season.
–Field Level Media
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