CATS now 0-2 in the SEC
LEXINGTON – October 8, 2022 – David Leveridge- Bluegrass Sports Nation
Kentucky returned to Kroger Field suffering a tough loss the week prior to a talented Ole Miss Rebels team. Entering today’s contest against South Carolina, the game was full of uncertainty’s as to who would play. Jaquez Jones was ruled out earlier in the week and the biggest question surrounded the play of QB Will Levis. At today’s CAT Walk Levis was seen wearing a walking boot and word began to spread that he would not play in today’s game.
Without Levis in the game the Kentucky Football team started Backup QB Kaiya Sheron and the offense was not the same having to rely on the run to move the ball. Kentucky made costly mistakes early in the game resulting in points on the board for South Carolina. The Kentucky defense put up another impressive performance particularly in the first half, but the Gamecocks put up seventeen points on the scoreboard in the second half. Chris Rodriguez was impressive in today’s game with 126 rushing yards on twenty-two attempts and a five yards per carry average. To move the ball and pick up first downs the Kentucky Offensive scheme shifted to more of ground and pound running game instead of the air raid offense we have seen with Levis as the Quarterback. The Offensive line continued to be problematic allowing five sacks on the first-time starter Sheron. QB Sheron looked uncomfortable in the pocket but did pass for two touchdowns and 178 yards passing with one interception.
1st Quarter- Kentucky received the kick on the opening kickoff and the first offensive play was a disaster. Kentucky attempted a reverse with a pass going from Chris Rodriguez to Barion Brown. Brown Fumbled the ball deep into Kentucky territory and the ball was recovered by South Carolina and nearly scored on the offensive fumble. The next offensive play South Carolina turned the turnover into a score with a Marshawn Lloyd one yard rushing touchdown. The next offensive series resulted in a three and out and South Carolina was near the redzone again. Kentucky forced a fumble and was recovered by UK defensive back JJ Weaver. Kentucky finally started to have success with the running game of Chris Rodriguez who picked up several first downs in the quarter. Kentucky was able to cross midfield and had the ball within field goal range of Kicker Matt Ruffolo. Ruffolo was unable to convert on the kick with the ball hitting the upright. At the end of the first quarter South Carolina led Kentucky 7-0.
2nd Quarter- The Kentucky defense stepped up in the second quarter and limited South Carolina into several three and outs. The Kentucky offense revolved around Chris Rodriguez who had sixteen carries and ninety- seven rushing yards in the first half. Rodriguez often required multiple defenders to tackle him and kept the chains moving with his downhill running. Kentucky scored once in the quarter with a pass from Kaiya Sheron to WR Jordan Dingle completing a seven play fifty-six-yard drive and tied the game at seven. Late in the half the Kentucky defense came up huge with an interception in the Kentucky redzone. Trevin Wallace intercepted a pass from Spencer Rattler giving the Kentucky defense two take aways in the half. At the half Kentucky and South Carolina were tied at seven.
3rd Quarter- South Carolina had the ball to open the second half and put ten unanswered points on the board. Rattler exposed the Kentucky defense and used his versatility to move the ball both on the ground and through the air. On the first series of the half South Carolina Rattler found Antwane Wells Jr on a screen pass and used his explosiveness to score the ball on a forty-two yard Passing touchdown. South Carolina kicker Mitch Jeter added to the lead late in the quarter with a thirty-two-yard field goal.
4th Quarter- With Kentucky trailing 17-7 in the fourth quarter, things only got worse with South Carolina adding to the lead with another Touchdown and put the game out of reach. South Carolina Jalen Brooks rushed for a twenty- four- yard rushing touchdown giving the gamecocks a comfortable seventeen- point lead in the fourth quarter. Fans become disgruntled with the team’s performance and for the first time all season the fans left the stadium early with only a few thousand fans remaining until the game ended. Kentucky was able to cut the South Carolina lead and made the game a little more respectable when the CATS scored on a ten- yard passing Touchdown from Sheron to JuTahn McClain. South Carolina ended the game with three straight QB kneel downs and defeated the Kentucky Wildcats 24-14.
With the loss Kentucky will drop in the polls and may potentially drop all the way out of the top twenty-five rankings. Kentucky is now 4-2 on the season currently on a two-game losing streak. With a ranked Mississippi State Team coming to Lexington next week things do not get any easier for Kentucky and the status of QB Will Levis will have the BBN focus and attention leading into next weekend’s matchup.
- Kentucky 14 / South Carolina 24
- Total Yards 299 / 356
- Passing Yards 178 / 177
- Rushing Yards 121 / 179
- First Downs 15 / 18
- Time of Poss. 31.05 / 28.55
Player stats: – Kentucky
- QB Kaiya Sheron- 15 completions, twenty-seven attempts, one interception, 178 passing yards, 2 TD, long pass twenty-seven yards, sacked six times.
- RB Chris Rodriguez, twenty-two carries, gaining 134 yards, loss of eight yards, NET 126, long run twenty yards, average yards per run 5.7
- WR Chauncey Magwood 2 targets, two receptions, thirty-seven yards, long twenty-six yards
- WR Dane Key 2 catches, gaining twenty-two yards,
Player Stats: – South Carolina
- QB Spencer Rattler 14 completions, nineteen attempts, one interception, 1 TD, long pass forty-two yards, sacked two times.
- RB Marshawn Lloyd 22 carries, gaining 126 yards, loss of sixteen yards, net 110, 1 TD long run forty-five yards.
- RB Jalen Brooks 1 attempt gaining twenty-four yards, 1 TD.
- WR Antwane Wells Jr 3 catches, gaining sixty-six yards, 1 TD.