Gamecocks Drop Tight Contest at Kentucky, 17-10
Sept. 24, 2016
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LEXINGTON, Ky. — South Carolina (2-2, 1-2 SEC) fell in a close contest at Kentucky (2-2, 1-1 SEC) on Saturday night at Commonwealth Stadium.
Kentucky retook the lead with 10:21 to play when Benny Snell capped an 11-play, 65-yard drive with a one-yard score. Snell ran for 50 of the drive’s 65 yards on the drive on nine carries.
The Gamecocks had one last chance, getting the ball with 4:23 to go. Freshman quarterback Brandon McIlwain led the Gamecocks to three first downs, but Kentucky buckled down and stopped the drive.
Kentucky finished a drive that took the final third of the first quarter early in the second with Austin McGinnis’ 30-yard field goal. Stanley Williams had three passes of over 10 yards as part of the 12-play drive, two coming on third down.
The Gamecocks answered on redshirt freshman A.J. Turner’s 12-yard run with 5:44 left in the second quarter, taking a 7-3 advantage. The running back ran it five times on the drive, breaking free on the right side to cap the drive. Sophomore tight end Hayden Hurst set up the score with his 30-yard reception of McIlwain’s pass.
The Wildcats started the second half fast, taking the 10-7 lead after Stanley Williams scampered for a 43-yard touchdown. Stephen Johnson completed two passes for first downs on the five-play drive, both to Jeff Badet for 28 and 11 yards, respectively. He also recovered his own fumble on the play before Williams’ score.
South Carolina knotted things at 10-10 with seconds left in the third quarter on senior Elliott Fry’s 35-yard field goal. McIlwain connected with tight ends Hurst and Jacob August on the drive, the latter hauling in a 29-yard pass to get the Gamecocks deep into Kentucky territory.
Snell’s big, bruising running took over the game in the final quarter, helping the Wildcats post 216 rushing yards on the night.
Kentucky almost doubled South Carolina in second-half offense after the teams were nearly even in the first half.
McIlwain went 15-for-30 for 177 yards, leading the Gamecock offense.
Hurst made seven of the Gamecocks’ 15 catches for a total of 84 yards.
Chris Moody made nine tackles on the night.
Darius English had three of the Gamecocks’ four sacks as part of his seven tackles.
Quoting Head Coach Will Muschamp
The Gamecocks return home to start a month of football at Williams-Brice Stadium, facing nationally-ranked Texas A&M at 4 p.m. on Oct. 1. The game will be televised by the SEC Network.