UK keeps unbeaten record with 24-10 victory over South Carolina


Kentucky Wildcats quarterback Terry Wilson (3) and teammates celebrate a touchdown during the game against South Carolina on Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018, in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Chase Phillips | Staff

As the UK football team marched into Kroger Field Saturday night, looking to extend their active winning streak against SEC East foe South Carolina to five consecutive games, the true blue fans cheered in support for Heisman candidate Benny Snell Jr. before a 24-10 defeat of the Gamecocks.

Both offenses started with three-and-outs before the Cats started attacking. On South Carolina’s second drive, Jordan Jones got into the backfield and took a fumble, starting a UK drive at the USC 7.

Unfortunately for the Cats, two false start penalties took them off the goal line and UK had to settle for a field goal for the first score of the game. USC drove down the field and responded with their own field goal to end the first quarter before the Cats took over.

The second quarter entirely belonged to the home team. The Cats drove all the way down to the goal line with help from Snell (99 yards in the game), then faked a handoff to Snell before quarterback Terry Wilson jogged into the end zone for the first touchdown of the day.

The game’s second touchdown was much flashier, as UK was pounding South Carolina’s defense with runs for most of the drive. As UK was running clock and driving forward, backup running back A.J. Rose broke several tackles and dove out to the pylon for the 21-yard touchdown run.

After an interception from Derrick Baity to get UK the ball back, the Cats punched down to the USC goal line again in the second quarter. Snell finally found his way to the end zone near the end of the second quarter to put the Cats up 24-3, running away with the game.

In the third quarter, the Cats gave up their first touchdown of the game after Lonnie Johnson Jr. failed to intercept a pass intended for Deebo Samuel. Samuel took the ball 58 yards for the score, the first allowed by the Cats in the first quarter all season.

With under five minutes to go in the third quarter, UK safety Darius West brought down UK’s second interception of the night, but not without cost.

On the interception return, star linebacker Kash Daniel committed a targeting foul that ruled him out for the rest of the game. From there, the UK offense struggled, scoring no points in the third quarter. The Cats suffered a slew of penalties, even facing a 3rd and 40 at one point, before Wilson threw an interception.

A 19-play, 71-yard South Carolina drive backed UK’s defense into their own territory, but time was running out for the Gamecocks. A play that was thought to be a backwards pass by South Carolina that was recovered by Kentucky appeared undo all the work, but the play was ruled a forward pass after review.

The drive continued with just over four minutes left, as the Gamecocks faced a 14-point deficit. USC quarterback Jake Bentley then immediately threw an interception, his third of the game.

UK had a three-and-out, and South Carolina refused to go away. They drove down the field until they were halted by sacks from Jamar “Boogie” Watson and Josh Allen with just over a minute to go. The Cats had four sacks on the night, three of which came from star edge rusher Allen.

Thanks to another hurry by Allen, the Gamecocks turned the ball over on downs and the Cats kneeled their way to a two-touchdown victory, despite being outgained in the game.