Kentucky Wildcats vs South Carolina Gamecocks
The Gamecocks QB was a Netflix star as a high school senior. He was a highly rated QB who committed to Oklahoma, he spent the first part of his college career starting for Lincoln Riley before being benched for Caleb Williams who also followed Lincoln Riley to Southern California. Rattler transferred to South Carolina (ironically also USC) and was given the starting job by Shane Beamer. He hasn’t exactly excelled in Colombia & they’ve struggled to a 3-2 record thus far, beating less talented teams, but losing to the only SEC competition they’ve faced in Arkansas & Georgia. Rattler has thrown for 1,121 yards & 4 TDs but has offset those successes with 7 INTs in this young season. His best game of the season came against Arkansas where he went 24-39 for 377 yards, but had 1 TD & 1 INT. The South Carolina offensive line also struggled that day giving up 6 sacks. It’s safe to say the annual media preseason darling hasn’t lived up to expectations.
The gamecocks leading rusher thus far in the season stands 5’9 weighing 212 lbs. has a good blend of size & speed with the ability to be utilized in the running game as well as the passing game notching 6 catches for 72 yards against the aforementioned Arkansas Razorbacks. He has feasted on lesser competition though, against top 25 opponents this year he’s only rushed for 45 yards & 1 TD, he’s also had 2 fumbles this year losing one of them. His biggest game of the season came against the Charlotte 49ers where he went for 169 yards & 3 TDs on the ground. He hasn’t shown the ability to have breakaway speed much this season as his longest runs were 34 yards against Charlotte & 31 against South Carolina State. I think the Wildcats stand a good chance to keep him in check & force Spencer Rattler into high pressure situations.
After putting up nearly 700 yards & 5 TDs last season expectations were high for the senior WR to build on those numbers this season, however that hasn’t come to fruition as he has struggled mightily this season to the tune of 3 receptions for just 13 yards this season, maybe the chemistry between him & Rattler just hasn’t been there yet this season, but with what he showed last year I wouldn’t take him lightly.
Antwane Wells Jr.
The Junior WR is South Carolina’s greatest weapon on offense. He went off last season for 1,250 yards & 15 TDs, thus far this season he has 309 yards & 1 TD including nearly 200 of those yards coming against top 25 teams. Wells is a WR that runs precise routes & is comfortable in catch & run plays as well as showing the ability to take the top off a defense deep, he’s also shown the ability to run under those deep balls & find the football well, Kentucky’s secondary will have to be aware of this & be disciplined in coverage as well as wrapping him up to get him down on first contact.
The biggest news in this matchup this week has been Kentucky’s star QB & projected top 10 pick Will Levis being seen in a walking boot during practice, he is questionable to start & if he can’t go true freshman QB Keiya Sheron will get the call, with veteran weapons on offense such as Chris Rodriguez Jr & Tayvion Robinson as well as talented true freshman pass catchers in Dane Key & Barion Brown the offense may not miss him as much as many may think. The line however has dropped from Kentucky +10 to Kentucky +6. The defense for Kentucky will look to stay tough in their bend, but don’t break strategy that they’ve used all season, but the kicking game will look to get back on track after a rough outing in Oxford, MS a week ago where they missed 2 extra points (1 block & 1 botched snap) & the kicker Matt Ruffalo hooked his first field goal to the left leaving 5 points off the board in a game the team lost by 3. I think whether Levis plays or not Kentucky wins this game & keeps their dream of a new year’s 6 bowl alive in Lexington under the lights on Saturday night.