It all looked so easy for USC for the first 30 minutes. It appeared the Gamecocks were on their way to their 11th straight win over Kentucky as they built a 28-10 halftime lead. But the Gamecocks were totally dominated in the second half as the Wildcats rallied for a 31-28 win at Commonwealth Stadium.
Mike Hartline’s 4th touchdown pass of the night, a 24 yarder against a blitz to a wide open Randall Cobb with 1:15 to play, was the game winner. The Wildcats added a two point conversion on a rush by Cobb for the final margin.
The Wildcats outgained the Gamecocks in the second half 262 yards to 103. The Cats had 12 second half first downs and converted 7 of 11 third downs over the final 30 minutes.
Continue for game recap and final stats
1st Quarter Recap:
- USC takes the opening kickoff and moves 72 yards in 6 plays. Stephen Garcia completes passes to Tori Gurley and Alshon Jeffery and Marcus Lattimore carries four times including 30 yards for a touchdown, the longest run of his brief USC career. With 11:53 to play in the quarter, USC leads 7-0.
- After forcing a punt on Kentucky’s first possession, the Gamecocks went right back to work driving 88 yards in 9 plays. Garcia hit Ace Sanders for 42 yards and Lattimore for 30 yards. He capped the drive with a 3 yard pass to Alshon Jeffery. It’s Garcia’s 9th touchdown pass of the season and Jeffery’s 5th touchdown reception. With 4:40 left in the quarter, USC leads 14-0.
- After another UK punt, USC is on the move but a poorly executed screen pass results in an interception by Winston Guy at the Kentucky 44.
- USC had 178 yards in the quarter to 65 for Kentucky.
- End of quarter…USC 14-UK 0.
2nd Quarter Recap:
- Kentucky takes advantage of the Garcia interception and drives in for a touchdown. Mike Hartline connects with La’Rod King on a 10 yard touchdown pass to cap the drive. With 13:10 left in the 1st half, USC leads 14-7.
- The Gamecocks responded with a 77 yard drive in 7 plays. Lattimore reached the end zone again, this time on a 10 yard run. Two big Garcia pass completions set up the score…the first on a swing pass to Lattimore for 48 yards to the UK 24, and the second to Jeffery for 19 yards to the Kentucky 10 whch game the Gamecocks a third down conversion on a third and 15 play. With 9:55 left in the half, USC leads 21-7.
- The Gamecocks forced a UK punt on the next possession but Stephon Gilmore fumbled it away at the 11. The Gamecock defense stepped up, however, thanks to a sack by Devin Taylor, and the Wildcats had to settle for a 26 yard field goal by Craig McIntosh. With 3:15 left in the half, USC leads 21-10.
- USC came right back with Lattimore doing all the damage. He had a 7 yard run, an 8 yard reception and then a 47 yard yard catch and run for his third touchdown of the night. It was a swing pass against the blitz that Lattimore caught from Garcia and he took it down the left sideline. He sliced through two defenders at the five yard line to make it into the end zone. With 2:03 left in the half, USC leads 28-10.
- USC had 369 first half yards, Garcia passing for 281. UK had 139 yards.
- End of half…USC 28-UK 10.
3rd Quarter Recap:
- UK gets back into the game with an impressive 14 play, 95 yard drive capped by a 5 yard Hartline to King touchdown pass. King beat CC Whitlock running along the back of the end zone. With 3:49 left in the third quarter, USC leads 28-17.
- The Gamecocks come out for their next possession without Lattimore. He’s finished for the night with a sprained ankle. He finishes with 133 receiving yards, 79 rushing yards and 3 touchdowns. Without Lattimore, it’s three and out for the offense.
- USC manages just 49 yards in 3rd quarter. They ran just 9 plays. UK had 132 yards on 20 plays.
- End of quarter…USC 28-UK 10.
4th Quarter Recap:
- Kentucky continues its rally early in the fourth quarter with another Hartline scoring pass. This one was of 38 yards to Chris Matthews. The Wildcats went for two and failed with an incomplete pass. With 13:09 to play, USC leads 28-23.
- On next possession, USC is forced to punt but Randall Cobb muffs the ball. The Gamecocks Marty Markett has chance to recover it but can pull it in. UK recovers at its own 29.
- Kentucky takes with lead with 1:05 to play on a 24 yard Hartline to Cobb touchdown pass on fourth down. The Gamecocks came with a blitz and Cobb drifted behind the secondary and was wide open. Cobb then ran in for a two point conversion. With 1:15 to play, UK leads 31-28.
- With 2 timeouts left, USC starts from its own 31. The Gamecocks move the ball to the Kentucky 20. They use their final timeout and Steve Spurrier decides to try one shot to the end zone for the win. Garcia attempts a fade pass to the right corner for Lamar Scruggs. It is underthrown, deflected by Cartier Rice and intercepted by Anthony Mosley. Game over.
- Final score…Kentucky 31-USC 28.