UK upsets South Carolina to keep perfect record


Stephen Johnson

For the first time since 2010, UK football is 3-0 after defeating the South Carolina Gamecocks on the road 23-13. 

This is the first time in the Mark Stoops era that the Cats are 3-0. The win means Kentucky also keeps their win streak over South Carolina alive, which is now at four games.

“It was a great team victory, the strength of our team is the team,” Stoops said. “I told you guys since day one that they have a winning mentality, a winning work ethic and you see it now.” 

The start of the game did not go well for the Cats, as electric play-maker Deebo Samuel took his first catch 68 yards to the end zone on the first play of the game. 

“I take responsibility for that touchdown because it was my man, but how it went I was supposed to have help,” Derrick Baity said.

The Cats’ next two offensive drives were ended by turnovers, an interception from Stephen Johnson and a fumble recovered by South Carolina. However, the Gamecocks weren’t able to take advantage as they missed a 52 yard field goal, and had a pass intercepted by Mike Edwards. 

After Edwards’ interception, the offense woke up, scoring two touchdowns on their next four drives to take a 14-6 lead. Benny Snell Jr. ran in both touchdowns in the wildcat formation, which the Cats had struggled with leading into today’s game.

“We’re never going to give up the wildcat, that’s dead,” Snell said. “We just stay on our technique, letting the line get to the blocks and do what they got to do.” 

Kentucky would take that 14-6 lead into halftime. 

In the second half, the offense slowed down a tad, but the defense continued to play well after the rough start with the Samuel touchdown catch.

South Carolina’s first two offensive drives of the second half were ended by fourth down stands by the Cats’ defense. The second turnover of downs took place on UK’s goal line early in the fourth quarter, when the Cats led 17-6.

“It just shows that us as a defense, we can do things like that,” Courtney Love said. “Things like that, we knew it was going to come, and when you know things are coming you got to stop it.”

The Cats would tack on another field goal with 8:59 remaining, taking a 20-6 lead. Kicking was an issue for South Carolina, who missed all three of their field goal attempts and an extra point attempt off Samuel’s opening touchdown.

The Gamecocks got some momentum back when quarterback Jake Bentley led a seven-play 77 yard drive that brought the Gamecocks within a touchdown with 6:26 remaining. However, Austin MacGinnis responded with another field goal, his third of the game to take a 10-point lead with 2:07 remaining.

MacGinnis’ third field goal was setup by a Johnson 54-yard scramble on 3rd and eight. This play virtually sealed the game as Gamecock fans started filling the concourse as Johnson ran away from South Carolina’s defense.

“As soon as I saw everyone was in coverage I just ran right up the middle then went to the sideline,” Johnson said. “We had a little bit of time left so I made sure I didn’t go out of bounds and stop the clock.” 

When South Carolina got the ball back, Baity intercepted one of Bentley’s passes and the offense kneeled out the clock. 

Up next for the Cats is a night game against the Florida Gators at Kroger Field. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m.

“Just looking at the next game on the schedule, it’s Florida, we want to end that streak,” Baity said.