The Kentucky Wildcats took the field on a cool Saturday night to face the South Carolina Gamecocks. The Cats needed a win to gain the momentum that they had prior to last Saturday’s loss against Ole Miss. The Wildcats had to try to win this game without their starting quarterback Will Levis who was replaced in the lineup by Kaiya Sheron due to a foot injury.
The loss of Will Levis proved to be too much for the Wildcats who could not find any success on the offensive side of the ball and loss the game 24-14. UK’s only option on offense was Chris Rodriguez who, despite not scoring a touchdown, ran the football for 126 yards and was the only positive aspect of the game. Kaiya Sheron ended the game with 178 passing yards, completing 15 of his 27 attempts. Most of his passing yards, however, came late in the fourth when South Carolina was playing softer defense.
Once again, the Wildcat’s special teams struggled starting the game with a blocked punt and followed that up later in the quarter with a missed field goal. Also, many of the long snaps were low causing the kicker to have to adjust.
The defense did have times where they made held the Gamecocks and even forced a fumble in the redzone, but without the offense moving the football the defense was often left with a short field. DeAndre Square led the Cats in tackles with 9 and Tyrell Ajian forced the fumble.
Hopefully the Wildcats will have Will Levis back before Next Saturday’s matchup versus Mississippi State. Now that Kentucky is 4-2 on the season, they will have to win two of the next 6 games to make a bowl game and with Georgia and Tennessee still left to play it is not guaranteed they will get them.
Kentucky won the toss and elected to receive the football. On the first play of the game UK tried a reverse and fumbled the football which resulted in a touchdown for South Carolina. Empty possessions for both teams until a blocked punt by the Gamecocks set them up inside the redzone. However, a great forced fumble gave the Wildcats the ball back. The drive fell short when a field goal attempt by Matt Ruffolo hit the left side upright missing the mark.
The Wildcats first score of the game came on a 16-yard pass from Kaiya Sheron to Jordan Dingle that tied the game 7-7. The rest of the quarter was uneventful except for an interception at the end of the second by Trevin Wallace. Kentucky elected to not chance it and ran the clock until the end of the half with the score still tied 7 to 7.
The Gamecocks were the first to put up points in the second half on a 42-yard touchdown reception by Spencer Rattler to put SC up 14 to 7. South Carolina followed the touchdown up with a field goal giving the Gamecocks a 10-point lead at the end of the third.
South Carolina added to their lead with a 24-yard rushing touchdown by Jalyen Brooks. Kentucky scored their last touchdown late in the fourth on a 10-yard touchdown pass to JuTahn McClain. The game ended with the score 24 to 14 in the Gamecocks favor.
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