Kentucky vs South Carolina never used to be a big game or even a winnable game prior to Mark Stoops taking over at Kentucky.
South Carolina leads the all-time series 17-11, but Kentucky has closed the gap in the past four seasons by winning four straight games against the Gamecocks.
From 2000-2009, South Carolina won 10 straight against Kentucky, with Kentucky breaking the streak against Carolina in 2010 at Commonwealth Stadium.
Since then, Kentucky is 4-3 against South Carolina, including four in a row that the Wildcats currently hold. Let’s take a trip together and remember the four straight games that Kentucky has beaten the Gamecocks.
2014 - The Blackout:
The blackout game is arguably Mark Stoops’ first big game at Kentucky. The Wildcats came into the game 3-1 and 1-1 in the SEC, Kentucky’s best start to a season in years.
Kentucky even came back from a 38-24 deficit in the fourth quarter to pull the upset on Carolina. With help from JoJo Kemp, who had 131 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns in the wildcat offense, Kentucky got their first big win of the Stoops era, and the game also spawned the birth of ‘Grove Street Party.’
Also worth mentioning, Patrick Towles threw for 208 yards and one touchdown. And who could ever forget the Bud Dupree pick-six to seal the game.
2015 - The Big Road Win:
The very next season, Kentucky went down to Williams-Brice and got their first win in Columbia since 1999 and also broke a 22 game road losing streak in the process, with the last road win coming in 2010 against Louisville and the last SEC road win coming in 2009 against Georgia.
While that South Carolina team left a lot to be desired, Kentucky still shocked SEC nation and got a huge road win to propel this Kentucky program to a new height.
Kentucky would rush for 207 yards and three touchdowns, showing early signs to come with Benny Snell coming to Lexington the next season. I also believe that this loss led to Steve Spurrier retiring in the middle of the season.
2016 - It’s a streak now
With Stephen Johnson at the helm in 2016, Kentucky ran all over South Carolina in a defensive battle, with the score ending 17-10. Boom Williams and Benny Snell ran for a combined 196 yards and 2 touchdowns.
In this game we also saw a Kentucky defense play their best game of the Stoops era, allowing only 268 total yards of offense, with Josh Allen and Denzil Ware getting a combined 3 sacks on the night.
2017 - All aboard the hype train:
Last season, Kentucky went down to Columbia, during a blackout, with Sandstorm blasting, and shut the Gamecocks down. Deebo Samuel and the Gamecocks struck first on the very first play from scrimmage, but after that, it was all Wildcats.
Benny Snell would get 32 carries for 102 yards and 2 touchdowns, while Stephen Johnson added 74 rushing yards of his own. The defense would also intercept Jake Bentley twice on the night.
This would be the only real “questionable” loss for South Carolina last season, as the Gamecocks would go 9-4 on the season with losses to Texas A&M, Clemson, Georgia, and....Kentucky.
What a great win for the Wildcats, even if the very next week we got heartbroken.
Let’s hope the Wildcats can keep the streak going on Saturday night in Kroger Field, as they go for their fifth straight win over South Carolina.