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Kentucky edges South Carolina: 4 things to know and postgame cheers

Being 4-0 heading into a matchup with Florida is exactly where this team wanted to be.

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

The Kentucky Wildcats started off with a bang on a fantastic opening drive, and ultimately did just enough the rest of the way to stay ahead and pull out a win in Columbia against the South Carolina Gamecocks.

Kentucky defeated South Carolina 16-10 to put Kentucky at 4-0 on the season. While the defense carried the load for the Wildcats, Chris Rodriguez picked up 144 yards on the ground, and Wan’Dale Robinson made several huge plays with his team-leading seven receptions for 65 yards.

The Wildcats head into a huge matchup with Florida next week, but here is what you need to know about Saturday’s win over South Carolina.

Ball Security

Yes, Kentucky was able to get all of Chris Rodriguez’s fumbles back. But he put the ball on the ground way too much in Columbia, and considering his recent past that is becoming more of a concern. That’s not even to mention Josh Ali giving away two fumbles, Kentucky ends up leading the league in a bad way.

Will Levis also seems to be hitting more defenders with deep passes than his own teammates lately. Sometimes a deep interception is as good as an interception, but at some point you have to take care of the ball. And maybe complete a deep pass...

Can’t Stretch the Field

Yes, Kentucky is primarily a running team. That has not changed with Liam Coen calling plays. But in order to get the most out of the running game, you have to be able to stretch the field. Will Levis continues to be very inaccurate on passes more than 15 yards downfield, and it looks like defenses are starting to pick up on Kentucky’s inability to throw the ball deep.

Kentucky must find some consistency here to have any hope of hanging with teams like Florida and Georgia.

Wan’Dale is the Real Deal

Levis looks shaky at times. Rodriguez coughs the ball up too much. Smoke doesn’t break enough tackles. Josh Ali is making enough big plays.

Wan’Dale Robinson, on the other hand, is the real deal.

Robinson reads the defense as well as any receiver we have ever seen in Lexington. He can turn any play into a big play, and he often makes something out of nothing. If Kentucky is going to take any strides forward toward an SEC Championship this season, Wan’Dale Robinson has to be option one in Kentucky’s offensive game plan.

He’s a stud, and he needs the rock as much as possible.

Defense Saves the Day

Yes, they looked as tough as a Louisville out of conference schedule on the first drive of the second half. But the rest of the game, Kentucky’s defense was outstanding, holding the Gamecocks to just 216 total yards. Several huge plays, multiple fourth down stops, and ongoing adjustments that kept South Carolina off balance ultimately put Kentucky in the position to win on Saturday. This unit is strong, deep, and well-rounded. That’s exactly the type of defense you need to win in the SEC.

Now, let’s celebrate!