GamecockCentral - Breaking down the keys: Kentucky
premium-icon
football Edit

Breaking down the keys: Kentucky

South Carolina (2-1) travels to Kentucky (1-2) for a key SEC matchup against the Wildcats Saturday night at 7:30. The GamecockCentral.com staff breaks down the keys to a South Carolina victory below.

CHRIS CLARK: Kentucky will present challenges similar to what Mississippi State and East Carolina have the last two games in that they have playmakers that can make things happen in space. To that end, USC will have to tackle well with the added caveat of having a mobile quarterback in Stephen Johnson.

The difference here is that the Wildcats will bring more of a dangerous attack with their running backs than those others. Stanley “Boom” Williams is one of the more dynamic players in the conference and is more than capable of springing big runs. True freshman Benny Snell scored four touchdowns against New Mexico State last weekend and is a physical runner between the tackles. Former USC nightmare Jojo Kemp is also back from injury. Combining Kentucky’s backs with Johnson’s ability to scramble or keep on designed runs, priority number one for the USC defense will be stopping the run.

Offensively, USC has to find a way to score points by any means necessary but surely the preferred method here would be to run the football effectively in order to do it. USC ran the ball well in the second half against Vanderbilt and David Williams sprung some nice runs against East Carolina. The running attack overall has left a good bit to be desired, with USC still trying to feel its way to the best schematic approach as well. Look for the Gamecocks to do some different things with the cadence this week after teams have jumped the snap as of late.

The Wildcat front seven has looked stagnant early in the season as well, so there could be some vulnerability. UK has given up at least 220 rushing yards in each of its first three games, with New Mexico State averaging 5 yards a carry and Florida averaging 5 per pop.

WES MITCHELL: The biggest key to the game for me is going to be for freshman quarterback Brandon McIlwain to take the big plays that the Kentucky defense is likely to give him, but not to force things either. The Kentucky defense has allowed a ton of points, but it's also picked off six passes, so McIlwain is going to have to find that balance between making big plays but not forcing it. The Kentucky defense has also struggled against dual-threat quarterbacks, so if McIlwain can play within himself, it could be a bit of a coming out party for him.

premium-icon
PREMIUM CONTENT

You must be a member to read the full article. Subscribe now for instant access to all premium content.

  • icn-check-mark Created with Sketch.
    Members-only forums
  • icn-check-mark Created with Sketch.
    Predict prospect commits with FanFutureCast
  • icn-check-mark Created with Sketch.
    Exclusive highlights and interviews
  • icn-check-mark Created with Sketch.
    Exclusive coverage of Rivals Camp Series
  • icn-check-mark Created with Sketch.
    Breaking recruiting news