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SEC Preview: Kentucky Hosts South Carolina

The No. 17 Kentucky Wildcats will host the South Carolina Gamecocks in an SEC matchup this Saturday. Kick off is set for 7:30 p.m. at Kroger Field. Coverage of the game can be found on SEC Network.

Despite Kentucky being ranked and undefeated, ESPN’s Football Power Index indicates that the Gamecocks have a 53.7 percent chance of beating the Wildcats.

The Matchup

Kentucky is currently 4-0 on their season, defeating conference teams such as Mississippi State and Florida. Heading into this matchup, the Wildcats have been averaging 34.5 points per game and only allowing 13.3 points per game, which is extremely similar to South Carolina’s statistics. South Carolina averages 34.3 points per game and allows 23.3 points per game.

Similarly, both teams are close in total yards. Kentucky averages 427.3 total yards and South Carolina is averaging 475.7. However, most of Kentucky’s yardage comes from rushing while South Carolina’s comes from passing. The Wildcats are averaging 269 rushing yards per game and the Gamecocks are averaging 279 passing yards.

Knowing the matchup is close statistically, Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops is impressed with how the team has been preparing this week for South Carolina.

Gamecocks head coach Will Muschamp says Kentucky does a great job securing first level defenders, which is really smart considering their running back Benny Snell Jr.

Benny Snell Jr.

Kentucky will be hard to beat if running back Benny Snell Jr. is on his game. So far this season, Snell has had 87 carries for 540 yards and 7 touchdowns. That doesn’t even slightly compare to South Carolina’s leading running back Rico Dowdle. Dowdle has had 42 carries for 235 yards and 2 touchdowns.

South Carolina’s defense needs to be on their toes this weekend to stand a chance against Snell Jr.

After beating Mississippi State 28-7 last week, Kentucky entered the AP Top 25 Poll fir the first time since 2007. Stoops believe their success this year is based on the maturity of this year’s team.

On the other hand, South Carolina has been preparing hard. Muschamp says the team has had very physical practices this week.

About Sydney Jones

Sydney is a senior studying telecommunications with a specialization in sports media at the University of Florida. She is a multimedia sports reporter for ESPN 98.1 FM/850 AM WRUF and WUFT-TV.

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