How Kentucky and South Carolina match up

October 4, 2013 

How Kentucky and South Carolina match up for Saturday night's game at Columbia, S.C.:

QUARTERBACKS

Kentucky's two-QB rotation of Maxwell Smith (90 passing yards) and Jalen Whitlow (35) was ineffective against Florida. Will the Cats choose one quarterback and stay with him this week? If so, the guess is Whitlow. South Carolina starter Connor Shaw, knocked out with a shoulder injury against Central Florida, is expected to play. In two starts against Kentucky, Shaw is 41-for-57 passing for 459 yards with six touchdowns and no interceptions. Backup Dylan Thompson went 2-0 (East Carolina and Clemson) as a starter in 2012 and rallied the Gamecocks past Central Florida last week.

Advantage: South Carolina

RUNNING BACKS

UK true freshman Jojo Kemp is averaging 8.9 yards a carry but has rushed the ball only eight times total in the past two games. Raymond Sanders ran for 98 yards vs. Western Kentucky, but has only 71 total in UK's three games since. South Carolina's Mike Davis leads the Southeastern Conference in rushing yards (127) per game. His backup, Brandon Wilds, is out with an elbow injury.

Advantage: South Carolina

WIDE RECEIVERS

Kentucky true freshmen Ryan Timmons (six catches) and Alexander Montgomery (four) were the Cats' leading receivers against Florida. South Carolina two-sport standout Bruce Ellington, the basketball point guard, leads the Gamecocks with 14 receptions. With Shaq Roland serving a suspension at Central Florida, Damiere Byrd caught five passes for the Gamecocks.

Advantage: South Carolina

TIGHT ENDS

After UK's Anthony Kendrick caught five in the season's first two contests, Kentucky tight ends have not caught a pass in the past two games. South Carolina junior Rory "Busta" Anderson has eight career touchdown catches, though none so far this season.

Advantage: South Carolina

OFFENSIVE LINEMEN

Former walk-on Max Godby is slated to make his second straight start at left guard ahead of returning starter Zach West for Kentucky. Left tackle Darrian Miller had a rough go against Florida and will get to block Jadeveon Clowney this week. South Carolina has allowed only four quarterback sacks all season. Left guard A.J. Cann has made 29 career starts and leads a unit that returned four starters from 2012.

Advantage: South Carolina

DEFENSIVE LINEMEN

Kentucky end Alvin "Bud" Dupree made seven tackles and shared a sack with tackle Donte Rumph against Florida. South Carolina has three linemen among the SEC sack leaders, tackle Kelcy Quarles (three) and ends Jadeveon Clowney and Chaz Sutton (two apiece).

Advantage: South Carolina

LINEBACKERS

UK middle linebacker Avery Williamson had "only" seven tackles against Florida, but the senior still leads the SEC in stops with 42. Paducah Tilghman product Josh Forrest is first-string at strong-side linebacker after intercepting a pass against the Gators. South Carolina sophomores Kaiwan Lewis (22 tackles) and Marcquis Roberts (21) are in their first seasons as starters.

Advantage: Even

SECONDARY

Nate Willis, the junior-college transfer cornerback, tied for the Kentucky team lead with seven tackles vs. Florida. South Carolina senior cornerback Jimmy Legree has an interception in each of the last two games. Still, the Gamecocks' pass defense is allowing 252 yards a game which is 10th in the SEC.

Advantage: South Carolina

SPECIAL TEAMS

UK senior place-kicker Joe Mansour is 6-for-6 this year on field goals (long of 37 yards) and ran 25 yards for a touchdown on a fake field goal vs. Florida. Punter Landon Foster is 11th in the SEC in kicking average (40.7 yards a punt) and has pinned foes inside the 20 only once. South Carolina punter Tyler Hull is last in the SEC in average (37.5 yards a punt) but has forced opponents to start from inside their 20 five times. Gamecocks place-kicker Elliott Fry has made all three of his field-goal tries with a long of 39 yards.

Advantage: South Carolina

MARK STORY

Mark Story: (859) 231-3230. Email: mstory@herald-leader.com. Twitter: @markcstory. Blog: markstory.bloginky.com

Lexington Herald-Leader is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service