Coming off a 16-13 loss to the defending BCS National Champion Auburn Tigers, the No. 18 South Carolina Gamecocks will be looking to bounce back against the unranked Kentucky Wildcats at Williams-Brice Stadium on Saturday.
The Wildcats beat the Gamecocks 31-28 last October in Lexington, South Carolina's first loss to their SEC Eastern Division rivals since 1999.
The Gamecocks defense struggled to get off the field against the Tigers, allowing Auburn to convert 11-of-22 third-down opportunities. Four turnovers and inefficiency on offense has prompted Gamecocks head coach Steve Spurrier to make a change at quarterback. Fifth-year senior Stephen Garcia is completing just over 50 percent of his pass attempts and has more twice as many interceptions (9) as touchdowns (4) in 2011, so enter sophomore Connor Shaw, who is 4-of-11 for 29 yards in limited action this season. The change at the quarterback position should increase the focus on sophomore running back Marcus Lattimore, who has just 143 yards on 37 carries (3.8 yards per carry) the last two weeks after opening the season with 83 attempts for 534 yards (6.1 yards per carry).
After opening their 2011 schedule with wins over Western Kentucky and Central Michigan, the Wildcats have lost three straight, including back-to-back losses for Top 25-ranked SEC rivals Florida and LSU by a combined score of 83-17. Kentucky's offense is led by junior quarterback Morgan Newton, who has completed 50 percent of his pass attempts for 647 yards with six touchdowns and six interceptions. Junior wide receiver La'Rod King is Newton's top target, catching 21 passes for 307 yards and is tied for third in the SEC with four touchdowns receptions this season.
Game date, time: 12:21pm ET, Saturday, October 8, 2011
Location: Williams-Brice Stadium, Columbia, South Carolina
TV channel: SEC Network
Spread: Gamecocks are favored by 18 points
Series history: Gamecocks lead the series, 14-7-1
For further reading, news, discussion and more, visit South Carolina blog Garnet And Black Attack and Kentucky blog A Sea Of Blue. Here’s this week’s college football TV schedule, and stay tuned to SB Nation’s college football news hub for more.