South Carolina beat a team every which way you can Saturday night in Lexington, KY. Unfortunately for Gamecock fans, that team was South Carolina. The Gamecocks made mistake after mistake in the first half to fall behind 24-3 and eventually lost to 17th ranked Kentucky 24-10. The Gamecocks dug such a deep hole that despite out gaining and shutting out Kentucky in the 2nd half, they couldn’t catch up.
And what were USC’s self-inflicted wounds?
- A lost fumble that led to a field goal
- A dropped pass that could have led to a score
- A running back tripping in the open field wiping out what could have been a huge gain
- A kick returner running into his own man
- The punt team failing to down the ball at the one
- A pass interception that led to a touchdown
- A missed field goal
- Horrible tackling
And that was just in the first half. Add to that in the second half two more Jake Bentley interceptions, a second dropped deep ball by Bryan Edwards and an ill-timed unsportsmanlike penalty on JC Horn after a third down stop and you can see how the Gamecocks were not able to recover from the first half debacle.
Bryson Allen-Williams & Steven Montact (Williams on why another slow start in a big game)
The Gamecocks actually won the second half on the scoreboard 7-0, thanks to a 58 yard Bentley to Deebo Samuel touchdown pass in the third quarter. The Gamecocks also out gained the Wildcats over the final 30 minutes 204-75.
They had one final chance to make it a game in the fourth quarter with a long drive from their own 9 to the Kentucky 20. But Bentley, scrambling for his life, fired a pass into the end zone that was picked off by Mike Edwards with 3:47 to play, and that was that.
Bentley suffered the second three interception game of his career and now has six on the season, half of what he threw all of last season. He was 13-28 for 148 yards.
Jake Bentley and Kiel Pollard (Bentley on offensive performance)
The Wildcats again did most of their damage on the ground with 195 yards. Their star back Bennie Snell rushed for 99 yards, the first time during this five game winning streak a Wildcat back has not rushed for at least 100 yards.
The loss drops USC to 2-2 overall and 1-2 in the SEC and for all practical purposes eliminates the Gamecocks from the SEC East race. That means the Gamecocks can make plans for their cancelled game with Marshall on December 1st, the same day as the SEC Championship game.
Will Muschamp addresses the media following the Kentucky loss
Here’s my Periscope recap from Commonwealth Stadium
USC postgame https://t.co/Sepmj6A0C5
— SportsTalk (@sportstalksc) September 30, 2018