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The Gamecocks aren’t world-beaters. Relax.

Barry Westerman | UK Athletics

Barry Westerman | UK Athletics

Despite Kentucky winning three consecutive battles against the South Carolina, just about everyone is counting out the Wildcats on extending the streak to four.

Vegas currently has the Gamecocks favored by seven points, but the way some fans and analysts are talking, this is (apparently) going to be a Saturday night massacre with the home team committing the violent crime.

As we told you guys earlier, ESPN’s FPI gives UK just an 18.1% chance to defeat the Gamecocks. 

CBS Sports’ Barrett Sallee says: “The offense will light up Kentucky’s defense, hunker down defensively and win by double digits over the visiting Wildcats.”

ESPN’s Alex Scarborough says: “Maybe (South Carolina) is the dark horse to win the East. The combination of Jake Bentley and Deebo Samuel is so much fun to watch. I’m going to go with the Gamecocks. Kentucky, to me, just doesn’t have enough firepower on offense.”

South Carolina is the latest “hot take” team to not only come out on top tomorrow night, but to win the entire SEC East.

But I’ll let you in on a little secret… South Carolina is not the juggernaut people make them out to be.

As of today, the Gamecocks are 13th in the SEC in total offense and 14th in total defense. For those keeping track at home, that’s the second-worst offense in the conference and dead last in defense. The unit has been outgained by nearly 350 yards in two games, and even against Power 5 competition, that’s still rough.

Keep in mind, Missouri fired their defensive coordinator just two weeks into the season for a reason. The Tigers gave up 43 points to Missouri State to open the season. The Gamecocks are statistically worse than the team that gave up 74 points in two games.

UK’s defense is currently giving up just 16.5 PPG, good for 35th in the nation. They are also only giving up 58.5 yards on the ground per game, good for ninth best in the entire nation.

We’ve seen a productive defensive line, linebackers are making plays, and the secondary is living up to the hype. There are injury question marks, but just about everyone is pleasantly surprised in the defense’s ability early in the season to make a substantial impact.

Now let’s head on over to the “deadly” offense South Carolina possesses. Everyone hypes up QB “sensation” Jake Bentley, with some putting him in the Heisman conversation before the year started. But Stephen Johnson is putting up better numbers across the board.

Bentley has thrown for 402 yards, four touchdowns, one interception, with a completion rate of 61.4%, and a QBR of 140.3.

Stephen Johnson has thrown for 400 yards, two touchdowns, zero turnovers, with a completion rate of 61.9%, and a QBR of 157.6.

Johnson has also rushed for 58 yards and two scores compared to Bentley’s six total rushing yards.

UK’s gunslinger has been more efficient, accurate, and productive through the air, and he has dominated the opposing QB on the ground.

Speaking of on the ground, let’s talk about UK’s dominance against USC in the run game. In the past three years, the Wildcats have rushed for an average of 220 yards per game against Carolina, with the Wildcat as the primary method of attack. Fans are adamant about minimizing use of the Wildcat, but the Cocks have done nothing to prove they can even slow it down in past years.

This year, USC has given up nearly 150 yards on the ground a game against two relatively pass-happy teams. The Cats have been trying to get the run game firing on all cylinders to start the season, and it started working relatively well against EKU last week. UK is going to shove the run game down the opponent’s throat, and it’s going to work.

(You’ll see a whole lot of Wildcat tomorrow, so be prepared.)

What I will tell you, however, is that this team is extremely disciplined and will absolutely capitalize on any and all Wildcat miscues. UK will not get away with careless turnovers and penalties, as South Carolina has preyed on this in the first two games. I’d never thought I’d say this, but Will Muschamp has been extremely impressive this season and has coached his team up well. He wants this victory bad, and so do his players. He’s going to have his team well-prepared for this matchup.

But Kentucky is more talented than the Gamecocks, plain and simple.

If they do their job, the Wildcats can and will win this football game.

Make a statement tomorrow night.

Article written by Jack Pilgrim

Follow me on Twitter: @JackPilgrimKSR

17 Comments for The Gamecocks aren’t world-beaters. Relax.

  1. Living in TX But Heart Still in KY
    9:47 pm September 15, 2017 Permalink

    Love this post!

  2. bailey000
    10:03 pm September 15, 2017 Permalink

    Thank you for some common sense. Now, bring on the stupid comments from fake fans. Can’t wait til kickoff. Go Big Blue

    • BigBlueMeade
      10:09 pm September 15, 2017 Permalink

      As Drew and Matt would say this game is #FreeMoney

  3. duggan
    10:24 pm September 15, 2017 Permalink

    People forget that game in Louisville and panic about playing some FCS school. The team doesn’t play the same in those games compared to SEC games. Coach threw barker in on the third drive after Johnson played well. They obviously don’t take those smaller games serious which is why those teams hang around. Cats by 20

  4. Luether
    10:48 pm September 15, 2017 Permalink

    Would feel better if our best defensive player hadn’t been ruled out for the game…

    • UKPROF
      12:37 am September 16, 2017 Permalink

      A agree Luether, but what has me a little more concerned is the coaching staff. I hope they are just trying to confuse USC and that they really have a secret (or two) up their sleeves. But if the tea leaves are right, UK will take a whoopin’. Surprise me Cats, this game is a LOT more important than it may appear.

    • Bill Selfs Hair Piece
      7:50 am September 16, 2017 Permalink

      What tea leaves are you reading? Because the statistics say we’re a better team. That’s the whole point of this article.

    • TBW3011
      8:46 am September 16, 2017 Permalink

      Yes an no. Difficult to compare stats when you haven’t played common opponents. I think it’s fair to say we’ve certainly compiled our stats against 2 bad football teams. SC hasn’t played great teams, but they’ve played better teams than we have thus far.

    • conman
      8:58 am September 16, 2017 Permalink

      The ones that say we choke EVERY time we get an opportunity in football. I hope I’m wrong, but c’mon they exist . Have for only the last 30-40 years.

    • DennyC
      9:14 am September 16, 2017 Permalink

      The stats are AGAINST C-USA and OVC teams son… welcome to POWER 6 competition. . . Smh. . . USC 35. UK 14. Write it down.

    • BBNDan7
      12:02 pm September 16, 2017 Permalink

      Reading your comments drops my IQ, DennyC

    • runningunnin.454
      9:26 am September 16, 2017 Permalink

      Welcome to the SEC, son.
      UK and LSU.

    • When did it become Power 6 instead of Power 5?

    • runningunnin.454
      9:57 am September 16, 2017 Permalink

      Guess he’s counting the weak a$$ ACC that has only 2 decent teams.
      And, the wannabe,
      UK 41, UL 38
      LSU 29 UL 9

  5. TimB
    8:57 am September 16, 2017 Permalink

    I hope you’re right, but South Carolina has played against an SEC school and an ACC school. We’ve played against a C-USA school and a non Division 1A school .So, our stats should look much much better. But, they play the game on the field, so we shall see…

  6. Here’s my 2 cents: I get that the east has been weak and everyone is trying to figure out who will emerge (hence Booger and others even calling us a darkhorse), but I don’t get all this love for SC either. Yes, they’ve played better teams than we have, but what did Muschamp do at UF with a much better talent pool to recruit from? Bupkis! Maybe they will win the east, but I think Georgia is better personally. Unfortunately we blew our chance to get them last year.

    Anyway, CATS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. RickE
    3:39 pm September 16, 2017 Permalink

    GO CATS!