First Scouting Report: UK football facing first SEC road test at South Carolina

·3 min read

An early look ahead to the Kentucky Wildcats’ next football game:

The opponent

Kentucky (3-0, 1-0 SEC) will make its first road trip of the 2021 season to face South Carolina (2-1, 0-1 SEC) on Saturday (Sept. 25) at Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia.

The game will kick off at 7 p.m. and be telecast by ESPN2.

Coach Shane Beamer’s Gamecocks lost their 2021 SEC opener 40-13 at Georgia on Saturday night.

Series history

South Carolina leads 18-13-1 but Kentucky has won six of the past seven meetings, including two of the past three in Columbia.

Most recent meeting

The Kentucky running game dominated South Carolina, as Christopher Rodriguez ran for 139 yards and three touchdowns and A.J. Rose went for 101 yards and a score as UK pasted the Gamecocks 41-18 in the 2020 regular-season finale last Dec. 5 at Kroger Field.

Know your foe

1. Starting quarterback Luke Doty sprained a foot in South Carolina’s first scrimmage of the preseason, and the injury kept him out of the Gamecocks’ first two games. So new South Carolina head man Shane Beamer, son of legendary Virginia Tech head man Frank Beamer, turned to his coaching staff for a replacement.

Former Iowa State and North Dakota State quarterback Zeb Noland came to South Carolina this year to serve as a graduate assistant. Once Doty was injured, Shane Beamer asked Noland to use the “extra year” of eligibility granted by the NCAA due to the coronavirus pandemic to “come out of retirement” and play for the Gamecocks.

In South Carolina’s opening wins over Eastern Illinois (46-0) and at East Carolina (20-17), Noland was the Gamecocks’ starting QB. Going into Saturday night’s game at Georgia, Noland had completed just under 58 percent of his passes while throwing for five touchdowns vs. only one interception.

After coming to South Carolina to be a graduate assistant coach, Zeb Noland (8) wound up starting the Gamecocks’ first two games, both victories, at quarterback.
After coming to South Carolina to be a graduate assistant coach, Zeb Noland (8) wound up starting the Gamecocks’ first two games, both victories, at quarterback.

On his weekly radio show Thursday night, Beamer talked as if Doty would be able to play against Georgia.

So stay tuned on who will be the South Carolina QB when Kentucky visits.

2. For fans of college football in Kentucky, there is a familiar face running the defense now for South Carolina. Former Western Kentucky defensive coordinator Clayton White was Beamer choice to call the “D” for the Gamecocks. At WKU, White, 43, built some stout defenses, with the Hilltoppers finishing in the top 30 in the FBS in total “D” in both 2019 and 2020.

3. In the run up to Saturday night’s South Carolina-Georgia game, there was a lot of media attention devoted to the question of whether the Bulldogs would have an advantage because ex-Gamecocks head coach Will Muschamp is now an assistant on Kirby Smart’s coaching staff.

New Kentucky offensive line coach Eric Wolford (center) spent the prior four seasons working in the same position at South Carolina.
New Kentucky offensive line coach Eric Wolford (center) spent the prior four seasons working in the same position at South Carolina.

If knowing a team’s personnel does provide an edge, Kentucky might have that when it visits Columbia. New UK offensive line coach Eric Wolford came to Lexington after spending the prior four seasons in the same job for South Carolina.

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