Cats look to keep winning streak alive against South Carolina


Kentucky quarterback Stephen Johnson rushes with the ball during the Wildcat’s game against the South Carolina Gamecocks at Commonwealth Stadium on September 24, 2016 in Lexington, Kentucky.

Roman West

Head coach Mark Stoops and the Kentucky football team will head to Columbia, South Carolina on Sept. 16 to face the Gamecocks for the Cats’ SEC opener.

Both teams will enter the game undefeated after Kentucky’s victories against Southern Miss and Eastern Kentucky, and South Carolina’s victories against North Carolina State and Missouri.

South Carolina currently leads the all-time series against the Cats 17-10-1. However, Kentucky is on a three-game win streak over the Gamecocks, their longest win streak in the series history. Stoops has only lost one game to the Gamecocks since becoming UK’s head coach, a 28-35 loss in his first season at the helm.

Kentucky has looked less than stellar in its first two games, only beating Southern Miss by a touchdown and only beating EKU by 11 points. Kentucky was a heavy favorite and failed to cover the spread in both games.

South Carolina has preformed better than odds makers have anticipated this year, covering the spread in both of their games this season. This week, Kentucky is a 6.5 point underdog against South Carolina as of Monday night.

Last season’s matchup with the Gamecocks marked the beginning of the Stephen Johnson era at UK. His first start of his career at UK was not glamorous, going 11-19 with 135 yards and an interception, but it was enough to get the job done.

Since that game, Johnson has been on a thrill. He’s won seven of the 11 games he has played in, including winning the first two starts of this season. Johnson has thrown for 400 yards with a 61.9 completion percentage, two touchdowns and zero interceptions to start this season. Johnson has also tacked on 58 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns this season.

Johnson’s opposing quarterback this week, South Carolina sophomore Jake Bentley, will be playing in his first career matchup against the Cats. Bentley became the starter last year in the Gamecocks seventh game of the season.

This season, Bentley has similar stats to Johnson, throwing for 402 yards with a 61.4 completion percentage, four touchdowns and one interception. Last week against Missouri, Bentley threw for 187 yards and a touchdown.

The game in South Carolina has already been announced as a blackout, as the game will be the Gamecocks’ home opener. Kickoff at Williams-Brice Stadium is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. and the game will be broadcasted on the SEC Network.