Mark Stoops’ club will head into Columbia for a battle against Steve Spurrier and the Gamecocks for a 7:30 prime time battle on the SEC Network trying to break a 22-game road losing streak.
Previewing Saturday’s Kentucky-South Carolina Match-Up
Kentucky blew a 23 point lead to Louisiana-Lafayette last week but pulled out a victory in the last minute on a touchdown by Mikel Horton. Considering how many games the Cats have lost like that over the years, Kentucky fans will take the win and move on.
Patrick Towles played well for Kentucky in the first half, throwing for 257 yards and three touchdowns, but had trouble hitting his receivers in the second. As well as the defense played in the first stanza, it was pretty much the opposite in the second. Whether it was fatigue due to injuries and suspensions or just a lack of game experience, the Ragin’ Cajuns ran wild for 247 yards total and 479 overall. The Cats have questions at the linebacker spot as Jason Hatcher will be serving his second of a two game suspension and Ryan Flannigan’s status is still up in the air for Saturday due to a shoulder injury.
The Gamecocks beat North Carolina 17-13 last week thanks is large part to two interceptions by Skai Moore in the end zone. USC ran for 247 yards last week and I fully expect Spurrier’s team to line up and try to run the ball at the Kentucky defense. I could see Carolina running a variation of the direct snap with either Pharaoh Cooper or Shon Carson.
Kentucky is 2-20 all-time against Steve Spurrier coached teams, but has won two of the last five. Last season, Stoops got his biggest win in a 45-38 victory over the Cocks in which the UK ran the Wildcat with JoJo Kemp almost the entire second half to rally from a 14-point deficit. Kemp finished with 131 yards and 3 touchdowns.
An interesting stat: UK has not lost in the second week of the season since a loss to Mississippi State in 1997.
Originally I picked Carolina to win this game but after watching the two teams last week, I think Kentucky can and will win for the first time in Columbia since 1999.
Time to look at the rest of the SEC games for this weekend. Last week I went 12-1, the only loss being Texas A&M and of course LSU didn’t play.
Jacksonville State at Auburn (NOON SEC Network)-The Tigers looked really great for three quarters against Louisville last week before faltering in the fourth. Jeremy Johnson can use this game as a building block for the rest of the season.
Georgia at Vanderbilt (3:30 CBS)- Just when things can’t get any worse for Derek Mason down in Nashville they get the Bulldogs coming into town. Two years ago, Vandy upset Georgia. It isn’t going to happen again.
Fresno State at Ole Miss (3:30 ESPN2)- The Rebels looked awesome in running up 76 points last week against Tennessee-Martin. The Bulldogs are a step up in competition but Chad Kelly and company should win easily unless they are looking ahead to Alabama next week.
Ole Miss 42-17
Middle Tennessee at Alabama (4:00 SEC Network)- With last week’s win over Wisconsin, Nick Saban’s club has now won 31 straight games in September. The last loss was to Florida State in 2007. It will be 32 straight after Saturday.
Toledo at Arkansas (4:00 SEC Network- Game Played in Little Rock)- Brandon Allen looked really good last week with 308 yards and four touchdowns against UTEP. The Rockets will be missing their best player in 1,600 yard rusher Kareem Hunt. The Hogs should roll in this one.
Oklahoma at Tennessee (6:00 ESPN)- The marquee game in the league on this second Saturday of the season takes place at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville. The Vols ran up 59 points and 600 yards of offense on Bowling Green but were torched for over 500 yards by the Falcons.
This will be the Sooners’ first trip ever to Knoxville and with Baker Mayfileld leading their version of an “Air Raid” offense, I don’t see how the Vols depleted defense stops them. I think Bob Stoops’ club wins a close one.
Ball State at Texas A&M (7:00 ESPNU)- The Aggies had arguably the best win in the conference last week handily beating Arizona State. Look for Kyle Allen and Kyler Murray to both play and put up big numbers.
The Cardinals gave up 36 points and 547 yards in a win over VMI last week. I don’t see Kevin Sumlin’s club having much trouble here.
Texas A&M 48-42
Missouri at Arkansas State (7:00 ESPN3)- Despite being blown out at USC last week, the Red Wolves are a pretty good football team, especially at home. The Tigers had little trouble against Southeast Missouri but did struggle some on offense.
I think this one will close than many people think with Missouri winning.
East Carolina at Florida (7:00 ESPN2)- The Gators ran up 61 points in Jim McElwain’s debut and showed some signs of being the Florida of old. This is not the same Pirate team the Gators beat 28-20 in the Birmingham Bowl last year and behind the combo of Treon Harris and Will Grier Florida should go to 2-0 easily.
LSU at Mississippi State (9:15 ESPN)- The biggest game in the conference is this battle in the SEC West. The Bulldogs struggled to beat Southern Mississippi while the Tigers only played five minutes before their game against McNeese State was postponed.
Dak Prescott dominated the game last year and playing at home and with more cowbells I am picking MSU in a close one.
Mississippi State 27-23
That is it for this week, I would love to hear your predictions. Leave them as comments below.