College football final: South Carolina Gamecocks 17, Kentucky Wildcats 14

The Kentucky Wildcats took to the road to take on the South Carolina Gamecocks in an SEC East matchup at Williams-Brice Stadium on Saturday.

Under coach Mark Stoops, Kentucky is now 6-5 overall and 3-5 in the SEC. Under coach Shane Beamer, South Carolina improved to 5-6 overall and 3-5 in the SEC.

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Final: South Carolina 17, Kentucky 14

Kentucky drops to 6-5 overall and 3-5 in the SEC heading into next Saturday’s regular season finale at Louisville.

South Carolina re-takes the lead, up 17-14

South Carolina goes 74 yards in nine plays to retake the lead. Spencer Rattler hits Xavier Legette for a 17-yard touchdown. Key play was a 21-yard completion from Rattler to Legette on a third-and-15 at the Gamecocks’ 21-yard line. Later, Rattler found Trey Knox for a 22-yard gain. UK had Carolina backed up into a second-26 on the UK 34, but Rattler completed a 17-yard pass to Legette, which set up the go-ahead TD pass.

End of third quarter: Kentucky 14, South Carolina 10

The Kentucky defense has forced six straight punts as UK takes a four-point lead into the fourth quarter.

Stats through three quarters

Kentucky takes a 14-10 lead over South Carolina

Ray Davis burst up the middle, spun out of a tackle and scored from 31 yards out to give Kentucky a 14-10 lead with 8:42 left in the third quarter. Davis’ run completed a 92-yard drive in nine plays. A South Carolina penalty for illegal hands to the face on a third-and-11 gave UK a first down at the 34. The big play was a 15-yard pass from Leary to Cummings on third-and-4 to the Gamecocks’ 45-yard line.

Halftime: South Carolina 10, Kentucky 7

South Carolina leads Kentucky 10-7 at the half. UK was hurt by two straight turnovers on possessions in the second quarter. The first resulted in an interception in the end zone. The second happened when Dane Key fumbled the ball away after a nice catch-and-run for 14 yards.

Halftime stats

South Carolina comes up with end zone interception

South Carolina’s Nick Emmanwori intercepts Leary in end zone to stop nice UK drive with 5:35 left in first half.

Leary left game after a late hit personal foul in second quarter, out for two plays, then returned. Through a nice 14-yard pass to Barion Brown on a third-and-9.

Kentucky cuts South Carolina lead to 10-7

Kentucky gets on the board with an 11-play, 75-yard drive. Devin Leary found Barion Brown in the back of the end zone for the 7-yard TD with 10:52 left in the first half. Key play was a 20-yard completion by Leary to Izayah Cummings on a third-and-8 from the South Carolina 32.

End of first quarter: South Carolina 10, Kentucky 0

South Carolina leads Kentucky 10-0 at end of first quarter. Total yards: South Carolina 125, Kentucky 7. UK’s Devin Leary was 0-for-3 passing. South Carolina’s Spencer Rattler hurt UK with his legs, scrambling five times for 38 yards.

First quarter stats

South Carolina extends lead to 10-0

South Carolina extended its lead to 10-0 on a 23-yard field goal by Mitch Jeter with 13 seconds left in the first quarter. USC drive covered 56 yards in 12 plays. Gamecocks actually had a first-and-goal at the 2-yard line, but a holding call moved the ball back. Nice play by UK linebacker D’Eryk Jackson breaking up a third-and-goal pass in the end zone.

South Carolina draws first blood

After a three-and-out by Kentucky, South Carolina goes 70 yards in 11 plays to take a 7-0 lead with 7:27 left in the first quarter. Quarterback Spencer Rattler hit a wide-open Xavier Legette in the right corner of the end zone for the 13-yard touchdowns. Rattler was 6-of-7 passing on the drive.

Kentucky went three-and-out on the game’s first possession. A completion for a first down on third down was nullified by an illegal shift penalty. After a sack of Devin Leary, UK was forced to call a timeout thanks to confusion on the punt.

Kentucky Wildcats wide receiver Barion Brown (7) catches a pass for a touchdown against the South Carolina Gamecocks during the game at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky, Friday, November 17, 2023.
Kentucky Wildcats wide receiver Barion Brown (7) catches a pass for a touchdown against the South Carolina Gamecocks during the game at Rupp Arena in Lexington, Ky, Friday, November 17, 2023.

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