- Time: 7:30 pm ET on November 18th.
- Location: Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, South Carolina.
- TV Channel: The SEC Network will have tonight’s TV coverage.
- Announcers: Tom Hart, Jordan Rodgers, and Cole Cubelic will call the action.
- Live Blog
- Online Stream: You can stream the game online using WatchESPN and the ESPN app.
- Radio: Tom Leach and Jeff Piecoro have the UK radio network call on the UK Sports Radio Network.
- Satellite Radio: XM Channel 203, Sirius Channel 98, Internet Channel 966
- Replay: WatchESPN and SEC Network (check local listings).
- Rosters: UK | SCAR
- Stats To Know: UK | SCAR
- Advanced Stats
- Covers.com Weather Forecast:
- Odds: DraftKings Sportsbook has Kentucky as a 2-point underdog. ESPN’s matchup predictor gives the Cats a 41.9% chance of pulling off the win.
- Predictions: TeamRankings has South Carolina coming away with a narrow 27-26 win, with DRatings.com also picking the Gamecocks in a 27-24 victory. Losing to South Carolina last season was bad, but they went on to beat Clemson and Tennessee. That said, losing to a South Carolina team that’s currently under .500 would certainly be a blow. For that reason, I am choosing Kentucky to win 28-24.
How do you see tonight playing out? Let us know in the comments section!
The good news is that Kentucky is bowl-eligible, the bad news is this season has been a disappointment. However, the Wildcats could still reach the expectations of an eight or nine-win season based on the final two regular season games and the bowl game.
The first step in doing that is defeating a South Carolina team that is in a must-win to keep their bowl hopes alive on the road. The Gamecocks are coming off back-to-back wins for the first time this season, but that is not impressive when you consider those wins came against Jackson State and Vanderbilt.
Let’s take a look at the matchup and see what it will take to get Shane Beamer to complain in a losing press conference.
Take Advantage of Poor Defense
Statistically, South Carolina is the third-worst defense in the SEC, giving up an average of 413 yards per game. However, the Wildcat offense has only gone over the 400-yard mark three times this season and only once since September. So which side will give?
In the three weeks since the Kentucky Wildcats’ bye week, they have only run for 100 yards once, after doing so in six of the first seven games, with the exception being Georgia. What’s even more interesting is during that time, the pass and rushing attempts have practically been equal.
Given that and the fact that South Carolina’s secondary is vulnerable, giving up 350+ yards against Jackson State and Vanderbilt, Kentucky’s best opportunities are going to come through the air. Fortunately, while still not perfect, that part of the offense has been much more effective of late. Since the bye week, the Wildcats have converted 63 percent of their passes, compared to just 54 percent prior.
Secondary and Pass Coverage
While Kentucky will look to find offensive success with the pass, they will look to have defensive success with defending the pass. That said, stopping the pass has been something that Kentucky has struggled with for much of the season.
South Carolina is a pass-heavy team, in fact, with a 56.3 pass-play percentage, they lead the SEC. Due to a poor offensive line, they like to get the ball out quickly. Meaning the large majority of their passes are short passes, putting the ball in the hands of their talented receivers and letting them make plays.
Brad White has worked miracles with the secondary over the last few seasons and must use pull from that on this matchup.
Win the Trenches, Get Some Pressure
Winning an SEC game takes physicality, and that is what Mark Stoops expressed this Kentucky team would return to this season. Yet, that has been inconsistent and has lacked discipline.
The key is going to be being the more physical team in the trenches. South Carolina is in a similar position that Kentucky was in last season, their offensive line is terrible. That is the reason Spencer Rattler is one of the most sacked quarterbacks in the country. That said, Brad White is going to have to do something he doesn’t like to do, and put some pressure on Rattler.
Odds/lines subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.