Cats look to carry both winning streaks through Saturday


Benny Snell rushes for the Kentucky touchdown during the Wildcat’s game against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Commonwealth Stadium on Sept. 24, 2016 in Lexington, Kentucky.

Pranavdeep Singh

The South Carolina Gamecocks (2-1, 1-1 SEC) will come to Lexington on Saturday to face off against the No. 17 ranked Kentucky Wildcats (4-0, 2-0 SEC) in the fifth week of the season.

The undefeated Wildcats, which rank in the AP Top 25 for the first time since 2007, have started this season undefeated beating ranked SEC teams Florida and Mississippi State.

The Wildcats, looking to rise up the AP Top 25, have defeated the Gamecocks for four straight years going back to 2014. The Wildcats have also won five of the last eight matchups between them.

South Carolina’s only loss on the season comes against the No. 3 ranked Georgia Bulldogs. The Gamecocks are led by junior quarterback Jake Bentley who has thrown for 6 touchdowns this season.

On the ground, the Gamecocks have two junior running backs Rico Dowdle and Ty’son Williams. Both of them are averaging over 5 yards a carry and have two touchdowns on the ground. Dowdle also has a receiving touchdown.

Their defense, led by junior defensive tackle Javon Kinlaw, has not allowed over 100 yards to a single running back this season. Kinlaw has 2.5 sacks and two forced fumbles on the season. Senior cornerback Rashad Fenton has added two interceptions, one in each of his last two games. Benny Snell Jr., UK’s star running back, is averaging well over 100 rushing yards per game this season.

In 2017 the Wildcats won 23-13 in Columbia, South Carolina. Quarterback Jake Bentley threw for over 300 yards and two touchdowns in the game, but also had two interceptions. The Wildcats held running back Rico Dowdle to under 25 yards on eight carries, with Benny Snell winning the matchup rushing for 102 yards and two touchdowns.

The Cats defense allowed only 54 rushing yards in the game, as Josh Allen had a sack and a tackle for loss. Defensive backs Mike Edwards and Derrick Baity Jr. each picked off Bentley once.

In 2016 the Cats defeated the Gamecocks by a touchdown, winning 17-10. Running back Stanley “Boom” Williams ran for 123 yards and a touchdown averaging 8.2 yards a carry. Freshman running back Benny Snell added another 73 yards and a touchdown.

The game was a defensive showdown as Gamecocks defensive end Darius English had three sacks and three tackles for loss. Kentucky defensive end Denzil Ware had two sacks and two tackles for loss with Josh Allen adding another sack.

ESPN’s Football Power Index gives the Gamecocks a 53.7% percent chance to win as of Thursday night. The line on the game is Kentucky by 1 and the over/under is set at 51.5. The game will be broadcast at 7:30 p.m. ET on SEC Network.