Shane Beamer and key Gamecocks players met with the media, Tuesday, as they continue preparations for this weekend’s road trip to face 13th-ranked Kentucky.
South Carolina (3-2, 0-2) finds its head back above water thanks to consecutive victories over Charlotte and SC State. After a lackluster performance against Georgia, the Gamecocks discovered their offensive rhythm, posting 106 points and 949 yards of offense over the last two games. But yards will be harder to come by against a Kentucky club surrendering just 14.8 points/game. The Wildcats have forged a reputation of hard-nosed physicality and it’s fair to say Mark Stoops has had the Gamecocks’ number.
Under Lou Holtz and Steve Spurrier, USC won 13 of 14 over Kentucky from 2000 to 2013 before Stoops got the better of Spurrier in 2014 and 2015. That started a run of five straight for UK. Overall, Stoops is 7-2 against South Carolina, including last season’s 16-10 victory at Williams-Brice Stadium. USC hasn’t won in Lexington since Connor Shaw and Marcus Lattimore led the Gamecocks to a 38-17 triumph in Joker Phillips’ final season.
But the Gamecocks have a chance to turn the momentum of the series, Saturday. Having faced consecutive non-conference opponents has afforded USC the chance to get healthy and build confidence. Due to a change in the schedule, the Gamecocks even picked up extra time between games. Kentucky, meanwhile, is coming off a devastating 22-19 road loss at Ole Miss. The Wildcats found themselves in position to tie or take the lead but failed on fourth down before fumbling away their final two possessions.
Kickoff from Kroger Field in Lexington, Ky., is set for 7:30 p.m. and will be broadcast on the SEC Network.
Key comments from Shane Beamer
- On the plan for Luke Doty as he is at the four-game threshold for a redshirt year. “The plan is full speed ahead with him. He’s shown that he’s one of our top two QBs.”
- On Kentucky’s offense, “we’ve got a big challenge facing those guys as well. Getting (Chris) Rodriguez back, they are able to run the ball efficiently with him. They’ve (WR’s) got great speed and can run past you. Those three guys are really, really talented.”
- Beamer is asked if he remembers the last time that USC played at Kentucky. “That’s the night I got the job, right? I remember it pretty well.” Beamer jokes that while he had Covid that week, he was watching the USC/UK game while getting an IV in one arm and holding the phone (expecting a call from Ray Tanner) in the other.
- On getting back on the road, “to be a great road team, they are able to respond to adversity. We did not get off to a great start at Arkansas. We battled back and made it 21-16 in the 3rd quarter. We lost to Arkansas because we couldn’t stop the run and turned the ball over.”
- Beamer reiterates his comments from Sunday night that USC is as healthy as they have been in a while.