After the Cats' first SEC match-up loss against No. 9 Florida at home, they traveled to Mississippi State, with hopes of recovering and capturing their first conference win of the season. However, Mississippi State impeded UK's first SEC victory after leaving the scoreboard 28-13 and Kentucky with a 0-2 record in the conference.
The Cats are not the only team looking to obtain their first conference win of the season. Kentucky will battle for the next SEC victory against the South Carolina Gamecocks, who have similarly lost two consecutive games.
South Carolina also gained an 0-2 conference record after losses from both Missouri and No. 2 Alabama. Their overall record of the season is 1-3, collecting a win from Charleston Southern and an additional loss to non conference team, North Carolina.
This is head Coach Will Muschamp’s fourth season leading the Gamecocks, where he has secured a winning record of 23-20 so far. Muschamp acquired an Outback Bowl win over Michigan, and in his first three seasons, he coached the team to more wins than any other coach in South Carolina History.
After veteran quarterback Jake Bentley suffered a long-term injury during the season opener, freshman Ryan Hilinski successfully stepped into the starting role, throwing fourth in yards in the SEC with 257.3 yards per game. Hilinksi also completed 63.2 percent of passes against No. 2 Alabama with two touchdown passes.
To South Carolina’s advantage, senior receiver Bryan Edwards turned down the chance to enter the NFL to return to the Gamecocks. Edwards poses as a threat to any defense he faces as he averages 77.8 receiving yards per game and 21 has catches this season.
Defensively, the Gamecocks utilize sophomore linebacker Ernest Jones and senior defensive lineman Javon Kinlaw. Jones is tied with Kentucky’s Deandre Square for fourth in the conference in tackles per game with 7.8. Kinlaw, a 2020 NFL draft prospect, has used his 6-foot-6 frame to lead the SEC in sacks with 4.0 this season.
NFLs TeamRankings gives the Gamecocks a 27-25 lead over the Cats as well as 60.8 percent of South Carolina winning the conference match-up.
You can tune in to watch Kentucky fight for its 6th consecutive win against South Carolina and for the two teams to battle for their first conference win Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. on SEC Network.