Mark Stoops: ‘What other doors you guys got?’
South Carolina (2-1 1-1 SEC) at Kentucky (4-0, 2-0)
When: 7:30 p.m.
Where: Kroger Field, Lexington
TV: SEC Network
1. After Georgia, Kentucky was likely the SEC game South Carolina fans had circled next on their schedule in the preseason. The Wildcats have owned the Gamecocks of late, taking the last four matchups. It’s UK’s longest winning streak over an SEC East opponent not named Vanderbilt since the 1940s. “I don’t need South Carolina to motivate me,” Kentucky coach Mark Stoops said in July.
2. UK’s 23-13 win over USC last year in Columbia included Deebo Samuel’s season-ending leg injury. The full-circle return comes after Samuel caught seven passes for 56 yards in the Vanderbilt win. Samuel has a somewhat subdued 145 receiving yards through three games this season. That’s good for third on the team.
3. South Carolina is seeking consecutive road wins for the first time in the Will Muschamp era. The Wildcats are 3-0 at home this year, including a statement 28-7 win over No. 14 Mississippi State on Saturday night. Who’s the second-best team in the SEC East after Georgia? This game could go a long way toward answering that question.
Three Kentucky players to watch
1. Kentucky running back Benny Snell has started this season looking like the SEC’s best at his position. He’s averaging 135 yards a game after another 165 yards and four touchdowns against Mississippi State. The junior has run for 175 yards and three scores in two career games against the Gamecocks.
2. Not lost in Snell’s performance Saturday, the Wildcat defense limited a previously electric Mississippi State offense to over 380 yards and 40 points below its season averages. Linebacker Josh Allen is the unit’s ringleader. After two tackles for loss, a sack, quarterback hurry and pass breakup against the Bulldogs, the All-American candidate told reporters, “I felt like they couldn’t block me.”
3. UK quarterback Terry Wilson was one of the most coveted junior college prospects on the market this past recruiting cycle. The January enrollee won’t wow you with passing numbers (Jake Bentley has thrown for 317 more yards than Wilson in one less game), but he’s enough of a running threat to take some attention off Snell. Wilson is second in the SEC among QBs with 241 yards.