NCAA Football – Week 5
Steve Spurrier and his South Carolina Gamecocks are all the way up to number six in this week’s college football rankings. The Gamecocks looked shaky in the season opener at Vanderbilt, but they have gotten stronger each game and last week’s 31-10 win over Missouri was impressive. Kentucky is just 1-3 so far this year, but they have given South Carolina and some other big SEC schools trouble at home over the past few seasons.
Connor Shaw was hurt in the season opener against Vanderbilt, and he had been struggling with his health up until last weekend. In last week’s game, Shaw threw an incompletion on his first passing attempt. He then went on to complete his final 20 passes! Shaw finished 20 for 21 passing for 249 yards and two touchdowns. Shaw is a very good runner, but the team needs him to stay healthy and not take a lot of hits. Marcus Lattimore is one of the best running backs in the nation. He seems to be completely healthy again this year. Lattimore is averaging 4.6 yards per carry this season.
The offense may be good, but it is the South Carolina defense that is dominating. There isn’t a better defensive line in the nation when it comes to pressuring the quarterback. Jadeveon Clowney is really coming into his own in his sophomore year, and there is little doubt that he’ll be a star in the NFL for many years to come. Kelcy Quarles is one of the best defensive tackles in the nation, and he clogs up the running lanes. This defense is among the best in the nation.
Kentucky hasn’t been great in the last few years, but they have been pretty competitive. It looks like that may be changing in 2012. The Wildcats already lost to Western Kentucky and they were blown out 38-0 at Florida. Starting quarterback Maxwell Smith is day-to-day with an injury. Without Smith the team was completely lost last week. Morgan Newton threw three picks in that game. Raymond Sanders has emerged as a big play threat at running back for the Wildcats. They’ll likely need a ton of big plays in this one, since the Wildcats are unlikely to sustain long drives against the Gamecocks defense.
The Wildcats defense has been terrible against the run so far this year. Opponents are averaging 191 rushing yards per contest. South Carolina blitzed this Kentucky defense for 639 total yards last year. Kentucky will have to find a way to slow down Marcus Lattimore first in this one, or this game could get ugly.
The Wildcats are a mess right now, especially on the offensive end. It wouldn’t be a surprise if South Carolina held Kentucky to single digits in this one. I like South Carolina’s defense to dominate in this one. I like the under.
South Carolina 28 Kentucky 6