South Carolina plays Kentucky on Saturday night in the Gamecocks’ home football opener. Here’s what you need to know about the game:
Who: Kentucky (2-0, 0-0 SEC) at South Carolina (2-0, 1-0)
When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Williams-Brice Stadium (80,250)
Series history: South Carolina leads all-time series 17-10-1, but the Wildcats have won the past three
TV: SEC network (Tom Hart, play-by-play; Mike Golic Jr., analysis; Cole Cubelic, sideline)
Radio: 107.5 FM (Todd Ellis, play-by-play; Tommy Suggs, analysis; Langston Moore, sideline)
Satellite radio: Sirius 138/XM 191
Line: South Carolina by 6 1/2
Weather: Low 80s to start the game; low 70s toward end of game.
What’s at stake
Vengeance, as Kentucky has taken three in a row after the Gamecocks won 13 of 14. The current streak hasn’t featured a game decided by more than one touchdown.
If the Gamecocks win, they’re likely headed to 4-0 (Louisiana Tech is next) before a road trip to Texas A&M. It would be USC’s first 4-0 start since 2012 and third since 2001.
The Wildcats are trying to get a solid conference road win after not looking great in one-possession wins against Southern Mississippi and Eastern Kentucky.
The teams, by the numbers
Opp. Yds Rush/Game
Opp. Yds. Pass/Game
Opp. Total Yds/Game
South Carolina players to watch
1. Sophomore quarterback Jake Bentley has showed off his throwing ability and shown a good handle on the offense, but the numbers haven’t yet caught up. He’s thrown for 402 yards, four touchdowns and one interception this season.
2. Wide receiver Deebo Samuel does everything, doesn’t he? He has 128 yards on 10 catches, 30 yards on the ground and three touchdowns from scrimmage, plus a pair of kickoff return scores. The questions are, can Kentucky’s defense shift focus toward him, and does that open up something else?
3. Senior linebacker Bryson-Allen Williams can do a lot, from rushing the passer to some coverage and could play a lot against a power-running Wildcats team with a mobile quarterback. For the season, he has eight tackles, two for loss, one sack, one interception, one pass break-up and a quarterback pressure.
Kentucky players to watch
1. For better or worse, running back Benny Snell Jr. remains the bell-cow runner for the Wildcats. They’ll use him in several spots, including a Wildcat package, but the sledding has been tough with 170 yards on 39 carries.
2. Quarterback Stephen Johnson was benched in the middle of the EKU game and managed to throw for 224 efficient yards behind a leaky and banged-up offensive line. His top target is Blake Bone, a 6-foot-5 Woodruff product.
3. Defensive end Denzil Ware has a history of playing well against the Gamecocks. Two years ago, he returned a fumble on a potential tying, two-point conversion 98 yards for a Wildcat score in a 26-22 victory. Last year, he had a big sack to seal the game.
South Carolina depth chart
QB – Jake Bentley (Michael Scarnecchia)
RB – Rico Dowdle (Ty’Son Williams, A.J. Turner)
WR – Deebo Samuel (Terry Googer)
WR – Bryan Edwards (OrTre Smith)
WR – Shi Smith (Randrecous Davis)
TE – Hayden Hurst (Kiel Pollard)
TE – Jacob August (K.C. Crosby)
LT – Malik Young or Dennis Daley
LG – Donell Stanley (Sadarius Hutcherson)
C – Alan Knott (Chandler Farrell)
RG – Cory Helms (Blake Camper)
RT – Zack Bailey (D.J. Park)
DE – Dante Sawyer OR Keir Thomas (Aaron Sterling)
DT – Taylor Stallworth (Kobe Smith)
DT – Ulric Jones (Javon Kinlaw)
DE – D.J. Wonnum (Daniel Fennell)
LB – Bryson Allen-Williams (Antoine Wilder)
LB – T.J. Brunson (Sherrod Greene)
LB – Skai Moore (Eldridge Thompson)
CB – Jamarcus King (Chris Lammons)
S – D.J. Smith (Javon Charleston)
S – Chris Lammons (Steven Montac)
CB – Rashad Fenton (Jamyest Williams)
NICK – Jamyest Williams (Chris Lammons)
PK – Alexander Woznick OR Parker White
KO – Parker White
P – Joseph Charlton (Michael Almond)
LS – Ben Asbury (Matthew Smith)
KR – Deebo Samuel (Rashad Fenton)
PR – Chris Lammons (Rashad Fenton)
H – Danny Gordon (Michael Almond)