David Cloninger

Thumbs up, thumbs down: USC vs. Kentucky

gmelendez@thestate.com

Thumbs up

Perry Orth

The former grocery-store shelf stocker entered in relief of Connor Mitch and did his best Joe Montana impersonation. He was calm, cool and collected in the pocket, picking up two crucial first downs on USC’s fourth-quarter touchdown drive. Until …

Jon Hoke

Whatever he said in the halftime locker room, it worked. The Gamecocks all but stood aside and let Kentucky pass through in the first half. After halftime, the Wildcats struggled.

Elliott Fry

He did all he could, making all his field goals after an initial miss. It was nearly enough.

Brandon Wilds

His first 100-yarder of the season, and on some really tough handles and hits.

THUMBS DOWN

Alan Knott

A personal foul after a first-and-goal at the 2 backed USC up 15 yards, and while the Gamecocks got a first down, they had to kick a field goal on that drive. Would have been nice to have three or four tries from the 2.

First-half defense

Read the stats. Eeep.

Connor Mitch

He hurt himself playing for the team, which is admirable. His throws before that, though, were not good. He wasn’t helping his team nearly as much as that fumble recovery.

Pharoh Cooper

As much as he sparkled, as much as he played hurt … that fumble on a two-point try made the score four points, out of field-goal range. Without that, USC plays it safer, has a chance for a game-winning field goal.

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