Photo credit to University of Kentucky Athletics
By J.R. Simpson
What looked like a disastrous start for Mark Stoops’ Wildcats football team turned into a great victory for Kentucky. For the fourth year in a row, Mark Stoops has beaten the South Carolina Gamecocks, a feat that has not been accomplished in many years. While the game could not have started worse for the Wildcats, with a 67 yard touchdown pass from Jake Bentley to Deebo Samuel and an interception by Stephen Johnson, Stoops’ Wildcats gained their composure and showed great maturity and poise. The Wildcats scored scored 20 straight points and held a 20-6 lead before Jake Bentley hit OrTre Smith in the back of the endzone to make it 20-13. After an amazing 55 yard run by Stephen Johnson, an Austin MacGinnis field goal made it 23-13. Following that score, South Carolina was driving, until Derrick Baity intercepted the ball to seal the deal for Kentucky.
Stephen Johnson completed 16/25 passes for 169 yards and had 74 yards on seven rushes. Benny Snell led the Wildcats with 102 yards on 32 carries and two touchdowns. The Kentucky defense may have been the collective player of the game, however. The Wildcats had two interceptions, by Baity and Mike Edwards, and held South Carolina to 358 total yards of offense, with only 54 on the ground. Already the #9 rush defense in the COUNTRY, the Wildcats improved upon their 58.5 average rushing yards per game allowed. It is clear that Matt House and Mark Stoops have figured out the right combinations on the defensive side of the ball, especially considering this game was played without the Wildcats’ leading tackler from last year, Jordan Jones, who was out with a shoulder injury.
Kentucky returns to action next Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Kroger Field (aka Commonwealth Stadium) on the SEC Network, against the Florida Gators, who they are 0 for the century against. The streak has to end sometime, right?
Don’t forget to follow us @ukfansallday on Twitter and Facebook!