Kentucky vs. South Carolina, 9-16-2017 - Expert Prediction
Written by: Benjamin Hayes
Kentucky Wildcats (2-0 SU, 0-2 ATS, 0-2 O/U) at South Carolina Gamecocks (2-0 SU, 2-0 ATS, 1-1 O/U)
When and Where: Saturday, Sept. 16, Williams-Brice Stadium, Columbia, S.C., 7:30pmET
Line: South Carolina -6
South Carolina is 2-0 and 1-0 in the SEC after beating N.C. State 35-28 on the road and Missouri (31-13) on the road last week. Kentucky has quite been as impressive, with a road win over Southern Miss by seven (24-17) and a home win over FCS Eastern Kentucky (27-16). Last season, Kentucky beat South Carolina, 17-10 at home. These two SEC teams will meet on Saturday night from Columbia.
Kentucky has to come back to defeat Eastern Kentucky
Kentucky was down 13-3 in the second quarter and by three at the half, before rallying in the second half to down the Eastern Kentucky Colonels by 11. Senior quarterback Stephen Johnson had a decent day with 224 yards passing and a TD pass on 15-of-22. He also had a 25-yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter to increase the lead to 24-16. Running back Benjamin Snell Jr. added 103 yards on 19 carries with a TD. Johnson has 400 yards passing this season with two TDs and no picks. The Grambling transfer threw for 2,037 yards with 13 TDs and six picks on 54.7 percent completion rate in his first season at Kentucky after transferring.
Defensively, the Wildcats held Eastern Kentucky to just 62 yards rushing on 20 carries. But the Colonels managed to throw for 256 yards on 31 completions. On the season, the Wildcats are allowing 341 yards per game and just 58.5 yards per contest on the ground.
Are the Gamecocks back?
The Gamecocks were pretty good under Steve Spurrier but they couldn’t sustain consistent play. They hope to improve under Will Muschamp, who went 6-7 in his first season at the helm of USC. It appears that South Carolina is back on track after starting 2-0. In their win over Missouri, Jake Bentley completed 18 of 28 for 187 yards with a TD and no turnovers. South Carolina had a pedestrian 359 yards but they were able to control the game and time of possession at 37:36 to 22:24. They also forced three Mizzou turnovers and dominate a game despite allowing 423 total yards.
Bentley is a sophomore quarterback who had a solid freshman season, completing 65.8 percent of his passes for 1,420 yards. Running back Ty’Son Williams added 78 yards and a TD. Defensively, they are allowing 330 yards passing per game so that may be an issue down the line.
- 1-4 ATS last 5 overall.
South Carolina is:
- 3-0-1 ATS last 4 conference games.
- 5-2 ATS last 7 in September.
Let’s face it, Kentucky is a basketball school. They always will be. That doesn’t mean they can’t have a few successful seasons but South Carolina is all about football. Now they have Clemson to compete with so Muschamp could be the guy to get them to compete against the Tigers. When it comes to beating the Wildcats, expect Soth Carolina to win and cover with ease.
Pick: South Carolina
Ben has been a sports writer for over 30 years, dabbling in college and pro basketball, college and pro football, baseball, college lacrosse, minor league baseball and even college gymnastics. He's also been involved in the gaming industry for over 25 years and has been looking to beat the books since he was 13!
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