David Cloninger

Kentucky is good at things USC isn’t

Kentucky is scoring 34.7 points per game but is allowing 43.7 points each game.
Kentucky is scoring 34.7 points per game but is allowing 43.7 points each game. The Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader

For three weeks, I’ve thrown darts and saw where they stuck. I picked South Carolina to win every week and got two right. There was no easy way to predict what was going to happen because the Gamecocks are too young and too inexperienced.

This week, I think I can see what’s going to happen. Kentucky, as poor as it is, is good at things that USC isn’t.

The Wildcats have veteran wideouts and the Gamecocks have three scholarship cornerbacks. Kentucky can run a Wildcat package, which gave USC fits last week, and if JoJo Kemp suits up Saturday, he’s a guy that gave USC fits two years ago.

The Gamecocks are still very basic with their offense, because they have to be. It’s hard for a freshman quarterback to get into a passing rhythm when he’s adjusting to the college game and his receivers switch in and out more often than Missouri’s athletic department personnel. It’s also rather difficult for Brandon McIlwain to set his feet and throw when he’s either running for his life two seconds after the snap or studying a defensive lineman’s dental structure from a prone position.

With so much uncertainty on offense, the Gamecocks can’t exploit those gaudy numbers of Kentucky’s secondary. USC’s defense may be on the field a while, and Kentucky will know just how to attack it.

Throw in that the Gamecocks have traditionally struggled in Lexington, and have lost two of their last three there in the most gut-punching ways possible, and it doesn’t look very promising.