South Carolina is traveling to Lexington to face the Kentucky Wildcats in a key SEC East battle. Kentucky is coming off of a surprising blowout win against Mississippi State. Benny Snell has made his name known across the country as possibly the top running back in the SEC. South Carolina is coming off of an impressive road win against Vanderbilt.
This is seen as the battle for second in the SEC East. Obviously, the Gamecocks have to stop Benny Snell, who ran for four touchdowns against Mississippi State. Besides that, I want to see South Carolina do three things against Kentucky.
Win the line of scrimmage
First, I want to see South Carolina dominate on the line of scrimmage. Kentucky currently has the third ranked offensive line in the SEC per Pro Football Focus. South Carolina will be without star defensive end DJ Wonnum. Javon Kinlaw has stepped up on the defensive line, but the whole line will need to step up if they want to limit Snell. South Carolina’s offensive line has been very impressive this season, but they will need to have the game of their life to hold an improved Kentucky defense. The offensive line also needs to limit their penalties. They dominated Vanderbilt’s defensive line, but there were too many unnecessary holding or ineligible player downfield penalties.
Balance on offense
The second thing I want to see is a balanced offense. What impressed me the most in the Vanderbilt game was that the Gamecocks had over 500 yards of offense, but it was extremely balanced. South Carolina finally was able to catch fire in both the passing and running games. The Kentucky defense will be tougher than Vanderbilt, but if the Gamecocks establish the run early, they can put up over 30 points for the third time this season.
The final thing I want to see is more creative play-calling. Don’t get me wrong Bryan McClendon has done a fantastic job for this offense, but they seem to run out of gas at the end of the game, and they lose the flame they have early on. The reason South Carolina got off to a hot start yesterday was because they mixed up the play-calling and ran the ball until they took a shot downfield. In the second half, the offense became stagnant because the offense got too predictable. I would like to see more screens or jet sweeps or even trick plays. Once the Gamecocks gain a 10 point lead, it seems like they just call the same thing over and over again. If they keep the play-calling creative, they will confuse and exhaust the Kentucky Defense.
Of course I could’ve talked about stopping Benny Snell. However, everyone knows how important that is. Kentucky is currently favored by one point at home, but they also hold a four game winning streak against South Carolina. Will the Gamecocks break the streak, or will Kentucky prove themselves as a contender? We will know Saturday night.
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