Across the (By)Line: South Carolina Gamecocks


Kentucky wide receiver Josh Ali (6) and wide receiver DeMarcus Harris (86) celebrate after scoring a touchdown during the first half of a NCAA college football game against Chattanooga in Lexington, Ky., Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021. (AP Photo/Michael Clubb)

Barkley Truax

The “Across the (By)Line” series will give Kentucky football fans an in-depth look at their opponent for this week — from the mind of the opposing school’s sports editor. 

This week: The Daily Gamecock, South Carolina, Michael Sauls

Who should we expect to see under center for the Gamecocks?

Michael: Luke Doty’s expected. I know Zeb Noland left in the second quarter against Georgia. He reportedly had a big cut on his throwing hand and didn’t have any feeling in it. Doty came in and didn’t do too bad. He had 158 passing yards — he looked good. Noland is going to be a gametime decision. I think it just makes most sense for Doty to start, but nothing is 100 percent official yet.

What have been your general thoughts on Kentucky football the past three weeks?

Michael: I’ve considered the Kentucky, Missouri and Tennessee game as 50-50 games for South Carolina. Last time Kentucky came here, Carolina won — the last time South Carolina went to Kentucky, Kentucky won. I think Mark Stoops has the Kentucky program in a great spot right now and I think Coach Beamer is working to get South Carolina back into a good spot. I think Kentucky probably has a good shot on Saturday night, but at the same time, the game being primetime and at Williams-Brice Stadium will probably give a solid advantage for South Carolina, but it’s a 50-50 game for sure.

What are some positive takeaways from South Carolina’s 40-13 loss to No. 2 Georgia?

Michael: The defense has shown sparks as well as the wide receivers during the Georgia game. Jalen Brooks had that phenomenal one handed catch on the sideline. Josh Vann has been a continued spotlight on the Gamecock offense, he’s continued to improve all season.

What should traveling Kentucky fans expect from a night environment inside Williams-Brice Stadium?

Michael: No matter what the record of the South Carolina football team is, it’s going to be loud. It’s going to be rowdy. Coach Beamer has already made it publicly known that he wants everybody to show up early and be loud. Night games and Williams-Brice are something else. As a student, I went to the night game freshman year when Kentucky came and it was an electric atmosphere and we went 4-8 that season. This one is an SEC opener, it’s at home, it’s a night game — it’s going to be loud, for sure. It’s just a matter of can South Carolina fans keep that loudness going the entire game and I honestly think that they’ll have a solid chance of doing that.

Name one key player on either side of the ball Kentucky should be wary of Saturday night.

Michael: Defense — Jalen Foster leads the team in tackles and interceptions. He’s kind of come up out of nowhere. He wasn’t really expected to have a breakout year. 

Offense — Any running back, depending on the day, could pop off and make a difference in the game. Whoever’s at quarterback is going to be important. Luke Doty showed signs of getting back to where he was last season, despite his injury earlier in the year. Josh Vann at wide receiver has really come into his own. Jalen Brooks is, in my opinion, getting toward that top tier wide receiver in the SEC. He’s just got to be able to consistently catch the ball. 

What has been South Carolina’s biggest weakness thus far?

Michael: The rushing attack hasn’t gotten off to what has been expected of them. Kevin Harris, the 2020 SEC leading rusher, didn’t play week one. They’re struggling with the fact that they have four high caliber backs that can play and they can’t exactly find the right rhythm with them. ZaQuandre White led the team in rushing against Eastern Illinois, but was nowhere to be seen against ECU that second game. Juju McDowell led the team in rushing against ECU, then against Georgia, he was nowhere to be found, so I think they’ve got to find that perfect balance.



Offense — 38 points per game, 16 touchdowns, 1,439 total yards, 480 yards per game, eight turnovers

Will Levis — 51-79, 800 yards, 7 TD’s, 4 INT. 18 rushes, 37 yards, one TD

Josh Ali — 12 rec, 219 yards, 18.3 yards per reception, 1 TD

Wan’Dale Robinson — 18 rec, 337 yards (No. 2-SEC, No. 16-NCAA), 18.7 yards per reception, 2 TD’s

Chris Rodriguez Jr. — 59 rush, 377 yards (No. 1-SEC, No. 7-NCAA) 6.4 yards per carry, 4 TD’s

Defense Weaver, 3 sacks; Valentine, 17 tackles (12 solo); Square 17 tackles (13 solo), 1 sack; Ajian, 14 tackles (7 solo), 1 INT, 1 TD

South Carolina:

Offense — 26 points per game, 9 touchdowns, 1,066 total yards, 355 yards per game, six turnovers

Quarterback Zeb Noland, 27-47, 407 yards, 5 TD’s, 1 INT; Luke Doty, 13-26, 153 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT

Josh Vann — 10 rec, 282 yards, 28.2 yards per reception, 2 TD’s

ZaQuandre White — 22 rush, 167 yards (7.6 per carry), 1 TD

Defense Foster, 15 tackles (9 solo), 3 INT; Staley, 15 tackles (9 solo), 1 INT, 1 TD; Johnson, 13 tackles (6 solo), 2 sacks