USC’s defense was dominant and the running game was punishing as the Gamecocks defeated Kentucky 24-7 Saturday night Columbia in front of an announced crowd of over 80,000. The defense shutout the Wildcats for over 57 minutes, and the running game, led by Rico Dowdle and Tavien Feaster, rolled up 247 yards, a season high against FBS opponents, and three touchdowns. The Gamecocks also snapped several streaks with the win, not the least of which was the five game losing streak to the Wildcats. They also ended a two game losing streak on the season and a six game drought against Power 5 conference opponents dating back to last season.
Here’s my POSTGAME RECAP from Williams-Brice just minutes after the postgame media session
Some takeaways from the Gamecock victory
- The Gamecocks were set on running the football, and run they did. 45 of their 73 plays were runs, and almost all were called runs.
- For the first time since a 2001 win over Vanderbilt, the Gamecocks had two 100 yard rushers in an SEC game with Feaster gaining 107 yards and Dowdle 102. Dowdle had to leave the game with an ankle injury but he said afterwards he’s fine.
- Feaster scored his first touchdown at Williams-Brice Stadium as a Gamecock, but it wasnt his first ever in the stadium. He scored a touchdown for Clemson in 2017, and he also scored three touchdowns for Spartanburg High School in the 2014 state championship game against York.
- QB Ryan Hilinski looked for in control of himself compared to last week at Missouri. He wasn’t spectacular, but he didn’t need to be. He completed 15-27 for 140 yards with no touchdowns but also with no interceptions.
- Senior receiver Bryan Edwards had 6 more catches for 37 yards. Edwards has 26 receptions over his last four games and a catch in 43 straight games tying the school mark with Kenny McKinley.
- The Gamecock defense was stifling, especially on third down. The Wildcats were only 2-15 on third downs, and they had just 9 first downs. they fewest they’ve allowed in an FBS game since a win over Arkansas in 2013.
- Defensive end DJ Wonnum had his best game of the season with a career high 3 sacks. He had 5 tackles and also forced a fumble.
- Linebacker Ernest Jones led the Gamecock defense in tackles with 7 and he also had his first career interception.
- The Gamecocks had trouble during the Kentucky losing streak handling the “Wildcat” formation. Not so much this time. UK ran it with Lynn Bowden 6 times and he netted 44 yards, 26 of those on one run.
- The Gamecocks put a lot of pressure of UK quarterback Sawyer Smith sacking him 4 times. He completed just 11 of 32 passes for 90 yards with an interception.
- Punter Joseph Charlton was called on 9 times and he responded with an average over 51 yards per punt.
- FINAL STATS
Rico Dowdle & Ernest Jones
Tavien Feaster & Sadarius Hutcherson
DJ Wonnum & TJ Brunson