South Carolina vs. Kentucky Preview and SEC Predictions

Kentucky Wildcats Position Preview
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South Carolina vs. Kentucky Preview

The Kentucky Wildcat football team will try to do something it hasn’t done in almost sixty years on Saturday, and they will have to do it with a new starting quarterback. When Drew Barker went out on the game’s first series against New Mexico State with a back injury last Saturday, Wildcat fans were unsure how backup Stephen Johnson would fare.

However, Johnson was up to the task and had one of the best games in recent Kentucky history, throwing for 310 yards and three touchdowns and rushing for 51 more yards, leading the Cats to a 62-42 victory. The Cats set a record for yards in a home game in the 40-plus year history of Commonwealth Stadium with 692.

Coach Mark Stoops announced on Wednesday night Barker would be out at least a month weeks with his undisclosed back injury and many close to the program think he could possibly be done for the season.

That means Johnson will now be the man in the UK offense with freshman Gunnar Hoak as the primary backup with Cincinnati transfer Luke White the next in line.

New Stars On Offense

In rolling up over 600 yards and 62 points on Saturday, two other names emerged for the Cats as the offense finally started to show the promise coordinators Eddie Gran and Darrin Hinshaw have been hoping for.

True freshmen Benny Snell got his first carries on Saturday, and he made them count running for 138 yards and four touchdowns. With a backfield that already features Boom Williams and the returning Jo Jo Kemp, it will be interesting to see how the snaps are split up.

The Cats seemed to finally recall that they had an All-SEC caliber tight end in CJ Conrad, and he responded with his best game ever. Conrad caught five balls for 133 yards and three touchdowns.

As good as the offense was on Saturday, the defense was just as bad as a third straight team carved up the Wildcat defense. The Cats are giving up 43 points a game and 500 yards per contest, worst in the SEC and 121st in the nation. Stoops was obviously less than thrilled with the defensive effort and lit into his team after a bad practice on Wednesday.

To say the Cats defense is still struggling is putting it mildly. They are giving up 43 points a game and 500 yards per contest, worst in the SEC and 121st in the nation.

A Modest Winning Streak

South Carolina at Kentucky- (7:30 SEC Network)- The Gamecocks come into Lexington off a good win over East Carolina 20-15. True freshman Brandon McIlwain leads the SEC’s lowest scoring offense at only 15 points per game.

The key to this game for the Wildcats will be to keep control of the ball. Will Muschamp’s team ranks 89th in the nation in rushing defense, and behind the plethora of backs at Kentucky’s disposal they should be able to run the ball.

On the other side of the ball, the question is can the Wildcat defense, which has been so terrible, keep McIlwain and company from having their break out game.

Kentucky is trying to win three games in a row against an SEC team not named Vanderbilt since they beat Tennessee three straight from 1957-1959. The recent history of this series between the squads are almost always close, and this should be no exception. The Wildcats need a win here to keep the momentum going and they will get it.

Kentucky 27-20

SEC Predictions

Time to take a look at the rest of the SEC game for Week Four. Last week the Old Krystal Ball went a perfect 10-0 making the season record 30-6. There a several huge games this weekend and we will start in Oxford.

Georgia at Ole Miss- (NOON ESPN)

The Rebels have had trouble finishing games this season, becoming the only team to lose twice after having a 20+ point lead. The Bulldogs are off to a 3-0 start under Kirby Smart and have come from behind in each of their wins.

Hugh Freeze’s club is desperate for a win and they should get it in a close one.

Ole Miss 31-24

Kent State at Alabama- (NOON SEC Network)

Fresh off their 48-43 comeback win over Ole Miss, the Crimson Tide will host a visit from Nick Saban’s alma mater. Alabama could have a bit of a let down after the big win last week but will still have little trouble with the Golden Flashes.

Alabama 42-14

Florida at Tennessee- (3:30 CBS)

Though not as lengthy as the win streak against Kentucky, the Gators have run off 11 straight wins against the Volunteers. Phil Fulmer was on the sidelines for Tennessee the last time they beat Florida, while Ron Zook was the Florida coach, otherwise known as the “Dark Ages” in Gainesville.

The Gators will be without quarterback Luke Del Rio who hurt his knee in a win over North Texas last week. Austin Appleby, a graduate transfer from Purdue, will start in his absence. Appleby went 2-9 as a starter for the Boilermakers.

This game will ultimately come down to the ability of Joshua Dobbs and Jalen Hurd to get some offense going against the number one ranked defense. Playing in front of what should be a rabid crowd at Neyland Stadium the Vols will finally break the streak.

Tennessee 23-20

Mississippi State at Massachusetts- (3:30 ESPN3)

At first it seems odd the Bulldogs are traveling all the way to Massachusetts to play one of the worst teams in football. According to Coach Dan Mullen the chance to play in the New England Patriots stadium was too good to pass up.

The Bulldogs really need a win, and while this will probably be closer than most experts think as the Minutemen played Florida tough in the season’s first week.

Mississippi State 27-17

Delaware State at Missouri- (4:00 SEC Network)

The Tigers are trying to bounce back after the heartbreaking loss to Georgia last week. The Hornets are 0-2 and should be just what Barry Odom and company needs.

Missouri 49-13

Vanderbilt at Western Kentucky- (4:30 CBS Sports Network)

The Hilltoppers went into Nashville last year and beat the Commodores. There is no reason to think WKU won’t win again this season and make Derek Mason’s seat a little hotter.

Western Kentucky 24-14

LSU at Auburn- (6:00 ESPN)

This one features the two coaches on the hottest of hot seats. Gus Malzahn’s Tigers have now lost an incredible six straight SEC home games, while Les Miles’ Tigers played great for three quarters last week before almost blowing the game against Mississippi State.

With some experts already focusing on who might coach Auburn next year, Malzahn will get a home win he desperately needs.

Auburn 21-17

Texas A&M vs. Arkansas- (9:00 ESPN- Game Played in Arlington)

The Razorbacks have been a big surprise so far in the SEC, starting 3-0 for the first time since 2013. The Aggies are coming a huge road win over Auburn and currently the second highest rated team in the SEC. Kevin Sumlin’s club has won four in a row in this series and after Saturday it will be five in what should be a shootout.

Texas A&M 49-42

That is it for this week, thanks for reading and see you next time.

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