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Across the (By)Line: South Carolina Gamecocks football

Sydney Dunlap | Daily Gamecock
A group of South Carolina Gamecocks players make a tackle during the South Carolina vs. Georgia State football game on Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022, at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, South Carolina. Photo by Sydney Dunlap | Daily Gamecock

The “Across the (By)Line” series will give Kentucky football fans an in-depth look at their opponent for this week — from the mind of the opposing school’s sports editor.

This week: The Daily Gamecock, Jacob Phillips, South Carolina

Kentucky has won three of its last four games in Columbia, do you think that puts an even bigger chip on the Gamecocks’ shoulders after winning at Kroger Field last year?

I think it does put a chip on their shoulder. Obviously, the last time Kentucky came to Williams-Brice it was in (Shane) Beamer’s first season as the head coach, and the game was pretty low-scoring.

The Gamecocks got shut out in the first half of that game and really just struggled all around. Home-field advantage is something that Beamer and this team talk about all the time and pride themselves on protecting.

Despite being 4-6 this season, they are 4-1 at home with a last-minute loss in a high-scoring game vs Florida. Then obviously they have to win this game to keep their bowl hopes alive. So I think the team will be playing with a large chip on their shoulders for many reasons.”

The Gamecocks have been starting to turn some things around as of late. Certainly part of that is opponents, but do you feel like South Carolina has started to turn the corner this year?

I’m not sure if they’ve turned the corner or not, but I think this game will show us.

As you said, the team has played some less-than-stellar competition these last few games, and even though they took care of Vanderbilt, they still struggled some against Jacksonville State.

This team has a lot of talent, but for some reason, we haven’t seen them play up to their potential. They had the hardest schedule in the country to start the season, so it definitely took some time to get the team going, but I still can’t tell if they are finally playing like they can, or if they got a lucky break in the schedule.

This game against a not-great but also not-terrible Kentucky team will show us a lot.

What worries you the most about this Kentucky team?

Any team with a decent passing attack has been able to put up points against this Gamecock team.

All season, our secondary players have been getting torched on deep routes, which has turned into big-scoring plays. The Gamecocks are last in the SEC in passing yards allowed per game and second to last in total passing defense just in front of Vanderbilt.

With Kentucky specifically, I see guys like Ray Davis on offense and think he could give us some trouble. I know South Carolina in the past has had trouble stopping the run, ranking near the last in the SEC every year under Beamer.

Then, on the other side of the ball, Kentucky has Maxwell Hairston, who leads the SEC in interceptions. Spencer Rattler has had a pretty good year limiting his turnovers, but he’s had interception problems in the past, and in this game, the team has to win the turnover margin if they want to win. They can’t afford to give the ball away.”

What do you think the final result will be when these teams face off?

I like to be optimistic, so I’m going to say South Carolina defends its home field and gets the win over Kentucky.

This is a must-win. If they lose here they won’t qualify for a bowl, and that last game of the season against our rival, Clemson, will be for nothing but pride.

So, because the season is on the line, and in previous years we’ve seen this team play and win big games under Beamer, I’m going to go South Carolina 27, Kentucky 24.

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Cole Parke, Sports Editor

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