An early look ahead to the Kentucky Wildcats’ next football game:
Kentucky (6-4, 3-4 SEC) will play at South Carolina (4-6, 2-5 SEC) on Saturday, Nov. 18, at Williams-Brice Stadium (seating capacity of 77,559) in Columbia, S.C.
The game will kick off at 7:30 p.m. (EST) and be telecast by the SEC Network.
Coach Shane Beamer’s Gamecocks demolished Vanderbilt 47-6 Saturday in Columbia.
South Carolina leads the all-time series with Kentucky 19-14-1. However, UK has won seven of the past nine meetings.
UK coach Mark Stoops is 7-3 vs. South Carolina.
Gamecocks head man Shane Beamer is 1-1 against Kentucky.
Most recent meeting
MarShawn Lloyd ran for 110 yards and a touchdown and Spencer Rattler completed 14-of-19 passes for 177 yards and a TD to lead South Carolina to a 24-14 upset of No. 13 Kentucky on Oct. 8, 2022, at Kroger Field.
UK played without starting quarterback Will Levis, who was sidelined by a foot injury.
The Wildcats’ backup QB, ex-Somerset High School star Kaiya Sheron, completed 15-of-27 passes for 178 yards and two touchdowns with one interception.
Know your foe
1. You cannot pin South Carolina’s struggles this season on the play of veteran quarterback Spencer Rattler.
The 6-foot-1, 217-pound transfer from Oklahoma enters play Saturday against Vanderbilt having completed 69.7 percent of his throws for 2,516 yards with 14 touchdowns vs. six interceptions.
Over South Carolina’s final three games (including Vandy), Rattler needs to throw for at least 484 yards to reach 3,000 passing yards on the season. It would be the third season of Rattler’s college career in which he reached 3,000 yards through the air.
2. What makes Spencer Rattler’s performance in 2023 more impressive is that it has come while playing behind a pass-protection sieve.
Out of 130 FBS teams, South Carolina is tied (with Alabama) for 124th in sacks allowed, having surrendered a whopping 37 entering Saturday’s games.
3. With the Southeastern Conference doing away with divisions after the 2023 season, Saturday night’s matchup between Kentucky and South Carolina will be the final SEC East game ever for both the Wildcats and the Gamecocks.
However, with the arrival of Oklahoma and Texas in 2024 pushing the SEC to 16 teams, it is possible that UK and South Carolina will continue to play annually under whatever new scheduling format the SEC ultimately adopts.
In fact, if the league goes with a one/eight format — one permanent foe, eight conference games a year —most of the permanent rivalry pairings seem intuitive.
The couplings of Alabama-Auburn; Arkansas-Missouri; Florida-Georgia; LSU-Texas A&M; Mississippi-Mississippi State; Oklahoma-Texas; Tennessee-Vanderbilt make sense.
By process of elimination, that would leave Kentucky and South Carolina as permanent “rivals.”