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A night game at South Carolina is no easy task

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Kentucky’s first road test of the season won’t come easy

NCAA Football: Eastern Illinois at South Carolina Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

Kentucky passed its first big test of the 2021 season by defeating Missouri on Saturday night, and the Cats should take care of business this Saturday when they host FCS Chattanooga at Kroger Field.

But Kentucky’s next challenge includes a road trip to South Carolina in Week 4 for a night kickoff against the Gamecocks.

This is expected to be a rebuilding year for the South Carolina program, with Coach Shane Beamer in his first year at the helm of the program. The Gamecocks are 2-0 with a shutout win over Eastern Illinois, but it took a last second field goal to knock off East Carolina last Saturday in a game they never led in until the end.

The Gamecocks probably drop back to reality this coming Saturday when they travel to Athens for a matchup against the #2 Georgia Bulldogs. The Gamecocks were listed as 30.5-point underdogs as of Monday in that game.

Kentucky looks like a better team right now, but the game being in Columbia and at night means there will likely be a raucous atmosphere at Williams-Brice Stadium on Sept. 25.

Gamecock fans are eager to see their program get back on the right track, and over recent years, Mark Stoops has had South Carolina’s number. Since Stoops has taken over the Kentucky program, he’s 6-2 against South Carolina with the only losses coming in his first year and 2019.

But when Kentucky travels to South Carolina, the Gamecock fans show up and are loud. This will be the first road trip for Will Levis as the starting QB for the Wildcats and for other key players who have transferred in.

That Week 4 game will likely have Kentucky as a betting favorite, but it will be important for the Wildcats to avoid looking ahead against a Gamecocks squad that will be desperate for a key win in a year when they will likely have quite a few struggles.