The Kentucky Wildcats will host the South Carolina Gamecocks this Saturday at 7:30 p.m. The primetime matchup will feature two talented SEC squads, including a Kentucky team currently ranked #13 in the country. The Wildcats enter Saturday’s game with a 4-1 record following a 22-19 loss to the Ole Miss Rebels. Meanwhile, the Gamecocks improved to a 3-2 record last week after a 50-10 victory over the South Carolina State Bulldogs. Oddsmakers currently have Kentucky as the favorite to win this weekend, with the spread set at -6 in favor of the Wildcats.
South Carolina has gotten off to an up-and-down start in its 2022 campaign. The Gamecocks suffered tough back-to-back losses last month against the Arkansas Razorbacks and the then No. 1 Georgia Bulldogs. Nevertheless, they have since bounced back and scored a combined total of 106 points in their last two games. Sophomore running back MarShawn Lloyd has run for 249 yards and four touchdowns over that span. A lot of South Carolina’s offensive production this season has come from their rushing attack. The Gamecocks have scored 15 of their 21 offensive touchdowns this season on the ground.
While South Carolina’s running game has started the year strong, they have struggled to find a rhythm with their passing attack. With former Oklahoma quarterback Spencer Rattler joining the Gamecocks, many expected to see a significant improvement in the Gamecocks’ air attack. However, Rattler has appeared to struggle as he continues adjusting to his new environment. In his first five games with South Carolina, Rattler has thrown for 1121 yards, four touchdowns and seven interceptions. He also currently holds on to a 32.5 QBR, landing him at 115th in the country. The Gamecocks will likely need to see a major improvement in Rattler’s play if they want to knock off the Wildcats in their own stadium.
The Wildcats got off to an impressive 4-0 start this season. At one point, they climbed their way up to #7 in the AP Poll Rankings. However, they swiftly fell out of the top ten after their loss to the Rebels last week. Despite their fall in the rankings, Kentucky still has plenty of talent on its roster and will be a squad to keep an eye on going forward.
The Wildcats have found a strong balance between their passing and rushing attacks. Senior Kavosiey Smoke has led Kentucky’s backfield this season with 53 carries for 269 yards and one touchdown. The team also recently got a boost with the return of senior running back Chris Rodriguez Jr. following a four-game suspension. Rodriguez received his suspension following a DUI and careless driving arrest last May.
Kentucky’s offense has mostly run through senior quarterback Will Levis this season. The projected 2023 first-rounder has thrown for 1405 yards, 12 touchdowns and 4 interceptions this season while also chipping in with two rushing touchdowns.
South Carolina Head Coach Shane Beamer gave some high praise to Levis earlier this week. He cited how far the quarterback has come since the Wildcats and Gamecocks faced each other last year. However, Beamer also emphasized his focus on shutting down Kentucky’s running game.
Kickoff between Kentucky and South Carolina is set for 7:30 p.m. on Saturday at Kroger Field in Lexington, Kentucky.