An early look at South Carolina's third SEC opponent, Kentucky. This is the third in a series looking at each of South Carolina's eight SEC opponents. Coming Thursday: Georgia.
... Last year's record: 5-7, 2-6 SEC
... Bowl game last season: None
Never miss a local story.
... Head coach: Joker Phillips 11-14, two years (11-14 career record)
... Series record: USC leads 15-7-1
... Coaches All-SEC selections: OL Larry Warford (1st team); WR LaRod King (2nd)
... Maxwell Smith, QB: Coaches say the sophomore had a good spring and will likely win the job over returning starter Morgan Newton. Smith appeared in eight games last year as a true freshman, completing 84 passes for 819 yards and four touchdowns. He was the only Wildcat on the SEC All-Freshmen team.
... The Gamecocks have won 11-of-12 in the series, including a 54-3 pasting of the Wildcats last year. Connor Shaw took the quarterback job full-time in the victory and threw for four touchdowns. The bad news for Kentucky is that Shaw has improved steadily ever since. USC rolled to 639 total yards in that game, 351 in the air and another 288 on the ground.
... After three straight home games, the Gamecocks will take to the road. The Wildcats showed improvement after that embarrassment against USC last year. UK’s offense has to be improved after being held by USC to 96 total yards and 4-for-26 passing with four interceptions. They might also catch the Gamecocks looking ahead.