Trip to South Carolina may be more difficult than some think


Kentucky quarterback Stephen Johnson drives the ball down the line before being tackled by South Carolina at Commonwealth Stadium on Saturday, September 24, 2016 in Lexington, Ky. Kentucky defeated South Carolina 17-10. Photo by Lydia Emeric | Staff 

UK Football is just two games into their 2017 schedule, and they are already preparing for a Southeastern Conference opponent.

UK’s next challenger is the South Carolina Gamecocks, who will be playing their home-opener when they host the Cats on Sept. 16. South Carolina has already announced this game will be a blackout.

The hype for this game has grown as the football season goes on, but one of the biggest storylines surrounding this game for UK is keeping their win streak over the Gamecocks alive. 

Out of all SEC opponents over the last three year’s, the Cats have had the most success against South Carolina, as they have won the last three meetings. Because of the streak, many feel that the Cats have a chance to leave Columbia with a win, but history shows that South Carolina has the advantage.

Yes, the Cats have won the past three meetings with South Carolina, but all those games were decided by a touchdown or less. Two of those games took place in Lexington, where having the home crowd behind you in a conference game can sometimes make a small difference.

Before 2015, the Cats have lost the last seven games in Columbia. Before UK’s three game win streak the Cats had actually lost the last eight of nine games in both Lexington and Columbia.

The last time the Cats defeated the Gamecocks in South Carolina was in 1999, when the 3-2 Cats defeated a 0-5 South Carolina team by 20.

The last time UK defeated South Carolina when the Gamecocks had a winning record in Columbia was in 1993. Overall the Cats are 4-8-1 when they play at South Carolina.

On top of the struggles that come with playing in South Carolina, the Cats have also struggled in SEC-opening games.

In the last 15 SEC-openers, the Cats have lost 12 of those game. Take for granted that 10 of those SEC-openers were against Florida, who the Cats haven’t beaten since 1986, but the Cats typically struggle with the increase in aggressiveness that SEC opponents bring.

Another advantage in South Carolina’s corner is they have already played an SEC opponent in Missouri. They will also have the blacked-out home crowd backing them in their first home game of the season.

Recently history favors the Cats in this game, but overall history says the Cats will face tough odds when they travel to South Carolina. If they can get the win however, that should set themselves up nicely when they look to end another lengthy streak the following week against Florida.