USC faces nemesis Kentucky this Saturday night in Lexington and will be out to end a four year drought against the Wildcats who are 4-0, 2-0 in the SEC, and nationally ranked for the first time in 11 years. And to do that, the Gamecocks know they have to contain the SEC’s leading rusher in Benny Snell who is averaging 135 yards per game.
During the losing streak, the Gamecocks have not been able to stop the run or the Wildcats top running back.
In 2014, the Wildcats rushed for 239 yards with JoJo Kemp gaining 131 yards and scoring 3 touchdowns.
In 2015, the Wildcats rushed for 207 yards with Stanley Williams going for 107 yards.
In 2016, the Cats gained 216 yards on the ground with Williams leading the way with 123 yards.
And last season, Kentucky rushed for 184 yards with Snell going for 102 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Obviously at his press conference Tuesday, Gamecock coach Will Muschamp made stopping the run a major point of emphasis.
He also announced sophomore receiver OrTre Smith will have season ending knee surgery next week to repair a genetic issue with his kneecap that has been causing him a lot of pain. He also said tight end KC Crosby had finger surgery Tuesday but should be fine for the game. Muschamp also announced transfer cornerback Jamel Cook was not granted eligibility by the NCAA and will sit out this season.
Other key comments from Muschamp:
- Stoops has done a very good job recruiting at Kentucky, lot of guys who can make a difference on defense.
- Snell is an outstanding back, runs the way you are supposed to, has high respect for him, QB Terry Wilson has also been a nice addition. Good passer and can really run.
- Kentucky has recruited good team speed and has a good football team.
- They have to swarm the ball to stop Snell and have to leverage the ball, finish on the ball carrier. Has to have the right mind set going into the game. You have to gang tackle him.
- WR Chad Terrell was cleared today for the first time to practice but has not been cleared for contact, he’s out at least another 2-3 weeks.
- Rashad Fenton practiced today and is good to go for Saturday.
- Pleased with the aggressive down the field nature of the offensive attack against Vanderbilt.
- Pleased with the progress of his offensive line, knows they face a challenge with Allen this Saturday.
- No update at this time on finding a replacement game for the cancelled one with Marshall.
Will Muschamp previews Kentucky