South Carolina Football: Report card vs. Kentucky Wildcats

South Carolina football defensive back Nick Emmanwori had a huge day on Saturday. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports Kentucky
South Carolina football defensive back Nick Emmanwori had a huge day on Saturday. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports Kentucky /
1 of 3

Shane Beamer’s South Carolina football squad needed a win over Kentucky on Saturday night in order to have a chance at traditional bowl eligibility (6 wins; Gamecocks were 4-6 with two games remaining). With a bowl berth, Carolina would even have a chance to salvage a winning season out of the wreckage that has been the 2023 campaign.

A nearly soldout and rowdy Williams-Brice Stadium welcomed the Kentucky Wildcats to Columbia for a game in which USC was around a 3.5-point favorite, a massive swing from being a 1.5-point underdog just two days prior.

In the end, the game looked more like the updated spread than the original as South Carolina football pulled off a 17-14 victory over the ‘Cats. The two-game win streak over Mark Stoops’ team marks the first time Carolina has beaten Kentucky in back-to-back seasons since a three-game streak from 2011-2012.

Here are the grades for South Carolina football’s victory over Kentucky:

South Carolina football fans were loud on Saturday. Gamecock Walk was full. The energy in the stadium was high almost the entire game. The only knocks on the fanbase were that the game was not sold out, and (as has become a trend), a bunch of students left in the middle of the game, despite things being very competitive.. . South Carolina Gamecocks. FANS . A-

COACHING . B+. The South Carolina football coaching staff had a good night on Saturday. Offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains had a beautiful script for the game’s early drives, defensive coordinator Clayton White utilized a lot of 3-3-5, and defensive line coach Travian Robertson handled his rotations very well, especially in the 3-3-5. Loggains did have some struggles in the middle portions of the game whenever he had to go off-script, and White inexplicably switched back to the 4-2-5 (and stayed with it for a couple drives despite getting gashed while in the look), but all-in-all, it was a well-coached game on the South Carolina sideline.. . South Carolina Gamecocks

. South Carolina Gamecocks. SPECIAL TEAMS. B-. Special teams was fine on Saturday. Kai Kroeger had a couple of nice punts (and a couple of not-so-nice ones). Mitch Jeter had a good day on kickoffs other than one horrible spiraling kick, but luckily for USC, Kentucky let the ball bounce for a while, and Jeter made the tackle. Carolina made its two extra points and a field goal. Snapper Hunter Rogers had a few low ones, but Kroeger did a nice job fielding them, both as the punter and as the holder on PATs/field goals. Kick coverage was pretty good, and Jalon Kilgore had one nice punt return (and one more that he let drop that he should have fair caught).