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Kentucky vs. South Carolina simulation

(AP Photo)

One week ago, WhatIfSports prediction engine pumped out its simulation for the Kentucky versus Florida game in The Swamp. The Cats were coming off an inexcusable loss to Western Kentucky at home, and headed down to Gainesville to one of the toughest venues to play in the nation. There are better situations for football teams to be in, no doubt.

However, WIS was quite generous in their prediction, suggesting a 23-12 Gators win. All things considered, an 11-point loss and beating the spread would have been a good day for the Cats. But that prediction couldn’t have possibly accounted for Morgan Newton.

Sticking with the current trend of the offense, Kentucky was projected to collect 169 passing yards and 95 rushing yards. Without Max Smith, they amassed 60 and 159 yards respectively. Looking for positives in a game filled with negatives, the run game was the bright spot. Jonathan George and Raymond Sanders led the rushing attack which averaged five yards per carry. The ground game has been abysmal through the first part of the season, so it’s surely an encouraging sign to see that unit is capable of picking up yards when necessary.

Moving forward to this week, the Cats take on the South Carolina Gamecocks. WIS doesn’t stray too far from last week’s projection that ended up being about three touchdowns off. The simulation gives USC a 25-11 victory, and gives the Cats its lowest win probability yet, of only 11.9%. According to Vegas, Kentucky is a 21-point underdog.

No. 6 South Carolina returns to Commonwealth Stadium — having exited on their last visit with a loss. That Gamecocks team was good. Unfortunately this one is better, and surely looking for even more payback; just in case last season’s 54-3 drubbing in Columbia wasn’t enough. Steve Spurrier is just that kind of coach that he’ll pile on if he feels like it.

Quarterbacks Dylan Thompson and Connor Shaw are both being used by Spurrier in different situations. Shaw as a scrambler, and Thompson for pocket presence. Both are very capable of leading this team, which is having no trouble putting points on the board, to victory. In the backfield is a healthy Marcus Lattimore, one of the elite backs in the league. He is averaging 4.6 yards per carry and has already found the end zone six times this season. He is without a doubt their primary back and will take nearly every snap on Saturday.

The simulation suggests South Carolina will collect 352 yards of total offense, 168 on the ground and 184 through the air. With Florida doing what they did and piling up over 400 yards of offense, the Gamecocks may do even more damage than that.

Kentucky’s offensive attack will once again be led by Maxwell Smith, barring an unexpected setback before kickoff. The Cats passing game entered last week ranked 13th in the country in total yards. After Morgan Newton was finished with it, it dropped all the way to 43rd. Smith will likely be called upon to resurrect the high octane passing game, looking to go deep early and often to keep the chains moving. Jadeveon Clowney is coming off the edge and the Cats don’t want to run in his direction.

As mentioned before, the running game finally showed signs of life against Florida — because it had to. Jonathan George and Raymond Sanders will return to the backfield, leading the charge after CoShik Williams is being ruled doubtful for Saturday, following his aggravation of a hip strain. Projected for 92 rushing yards, it will be interesting to see how Max Smith responds with his bum shoulder, and if the run game will be relied upon once again. That number could either go way up, or way down.

Article written by Stuart Hammer

B.S. Broadcast Journalism from the University of Kentucky. @StuartHammerKSR

15 Comments for Kentucky vs. South Carolina simulation

  1. UK Snuggie
    2:06 pm September 28, 2012 Permalink

    My advice to all bet placers, bet on SC to cover.

  2. Vegas Vinny
    2:07 pm September 28, 2012 Permalink

    S. Carolina 48
    UK 10

  3. TheDecker
    2:16 pm September 28, 2012 Permalink

    52-13 S. Carolina

  4. I Say
    2:26 pm September 28, 2012 Permalink

    Clowney is going to have 5 sacks

  5. jaws2
    2:29 pm September 28, 2012 Permalink

    SC will score as many times as they want. In fact, I believe they’ll score on defense as well. We Are UK!

  6. nassau65
    2:36 pm September 28, 2012 Permalink

    25-11? bet the farm.

  7. Jax Teller
    2:38 pm September 28, 2012 Permalink

    25 for SC? Did you simulate the first quarter or the whole game?

  8. EightLetters
    2:43 pm September 28, 2012 Permalink

    No wonder they have SC winning…..they have us playing at home wearing road uniforms. Cats will win now!!!

  9. barn
    2:55 pm September 28, 2012 Permalink

    maybe joker would do a better job if mitch gave him a hefty raise–like maybe 2 or 3 mil a year. if he made more money he would have more incentive to coach harder and make a better team?

  10. UKBlue
    2:57 pm September 28, 2012 Permalink

    The line right now is 21 1/2, I’d take that all day & run with it. The o ball coach is defiantly going to pad his numbers of more than 21 1/2 on an easy team like UK.

  11. catlogic15
    3:06 pm September 28, 2012 Permalink

    KSR gave us the same bogus BS last week. Bettors, the big play is USC,jr. Start counting your money.

    Oh, and #9 barn?; you’ve been in one with the sheep for too long.

  12. UKBlue1!
    3:38 pm September 28, 2012 Permalink

    I am predicting SC will have more than 25 points by mid 2nd quarter. I will be there and once we get down by 35, I’m pulling out my brown paper bag and putting it over my head! Go Cats.

  13. Reality
    3:44 pm September 28, 2012 Permalink

    SC 56
    UK 0

  14. Holler Baller
    6:40 pm September 28, 2012 Permalink

    Can we just use this score and not play the game. Getting clobbered is bad enough,now there is alcohol free tailgating.

  15. Cam
    4:31 pm September 30, 2012 Permalink

    13. you were pretty close