We're live here at Williams-Brice Stadium as the South Carolina Gamecocks take on the Kentucky Wildcats. We'll be updating this story with the scores and other highlights throughout the evening. Stay tuned!
UPDATE 1: The Gamecocks struck quick against the Wildcats thanks to a 62-yard touchdown from QB Connor Shaw to WR Damiere Byrd. Gamecocks lead Wildcats 7-0.
UPDATE 2: After a small drive from Kentucky, the Gamecocks get the ball back and put it to good use, capping off a 4 minute drive with a 22-yard rushing TD from Mike Davis. Gamecocks lead Wildcats 14-0.
UPDATE 3: With a sack to Kentucky QB Jalen Whitlow, the Gamecocks force a three-and-out and go on a 71-yard drive with RB Davis putting a 1-yard exclamation point on the drive. Gamecocks lead Wildcats 21-0.
UPDATE 4: A personal foul helped the Wildcats finally get some momentum as they finish off a 75-yard drive with a 2-yard rushing TD from RB Raymond Sanders. Gamecocks lead Wildcats 21-7.
UPDATE 5: The Gamecocks had some forward momentum toward the end of the first half thanks to a hook and lateral, but an intentional grounding penalty took the gas out of the drive and the Gamecocks were forced to settle for a field goal. Gamecocks lead Wildcats 24-7.
HALF TIME: Gamecocks 24, Wildcats 7.
UPDATE 6: The Gamecocks looked to be putting together a nice drive after forcing a three-and-out for the Wildcats, but a failed first down conversion from a read option play ended the momentum. Elliot Fry picks up a 41-yard field goal. Gamecocks lead Wildcats 27-7.
UPDATE 7: What looked like a huge goal line stand against the Wildcats, cornerback Victor Hampton gets a big stop on Kentucky receiver Dem Robinson at the half-yard line. The refs decide to take a second look at the play, and award Kentucky with a touchdown, saying Robinson extended himself just enough for 6 points. Gamecocks lead Wildcats 27-14.
UPDATE 8: A critical fumble on a kick return from Bruce Ellington gives the Wildcats the ball back at the Gamecocks 35 yard line. Kentucky takes advantage quickly and scores an easy 6 points. Gamecocks lead Wildcats 27-21.
UPDATE 9: With the wind coming out of the sails of the Gamecock faithful, QB Connor Shaw orchestrates an 89-yard drive and scores on a 2-yard keeper. Wanting to put a little more running room between themselves and Kentucky, South Carolina picks up a 2-point conversion to make it a two-possession game. Gamecocks lead Wildcats 35-21.
UPDATE 10: Not content to go quietly into the night, Kentucky puts together a big drive and picks up a touchdown. Gamecocks lead Wildcats 35-28.
Trailing 7-0 in the first quarter, Gamecock quarterback Connor Shaw was looking to rally his team to the challenge of beating the scrappy University of Central Florida Knights.
The Knights were playing tough in their home stadium, and their defense was looking for ways to neutralize Shaw's dual-threat abilities.
As luck would have it, the Knights were given the perfect way to stop Shaw.
A run play knocked out the senior quarterback for the rest of the game. He landed awkwardly on his shoulder and immediately trotted to the sidelines, arm limp as his backup, Dylan Thompson, took over in relief.
"Shoulder sprain" was the diagnosis, according to a sideline reporter. The early word was he'd be out for 2-3 weeks while he healed up.
Thompson would once again have to take over for a team seeking some forward momentum and a statement game just before a tough three-game stretch on the road.
But the chapter wasn't closed on Shaw. Coach Steve Spurrier, who is often known for flipping the script, said during his weekly news conference that Shaw would be ready as the Gamecocks (3-1, 0-1 SEC) faced the Kentucky Wildcats (1-3, 0-1 SEC) on Saturday.
"Looks like Connor is going to be fine," said Spurrier. "He was throwing the ball very well today. It looks like he will be the starter and Dylan will probably go in about the third or fourth possession. They both deserve to play we think. We'll send them both out there and go from there."
With Shaw good to go, Spurrier will be looking for more defensive improvement as the linebackers and secondary almost let UCF back in the game late in the fourth quarter last week.
Defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward definitely saw what Gamecocks fans saw.
"All the criticism we get, we deserve. Anytime you give up 153 yards in two plays, obviously something's wrong," said Ward.
Ward's unit also had to concentrate on defending against Kentucky's two-quarterback system featuring Jalen Whitlow and Maxwell Smith.
"They're two different kind of quarterbacks," said Ward. "We know if [Whitlow] is in the ballgame he's going to run the football a lot more than [Smith]. [Whitlow] is more of a passing quarterback. We're going to have to stop both of them. They've played both of them all season and we fully expect them to play both this game."
Back on the offensive side of the ball, Spurrier will look toward emerging SEC star Mike Davis to propel the Gamecocks to victory.
"He's a good back and we have to keep giving it to him," said Spurrier. "He can't carry it all the time, so we have to get a backup guy ready to go."
But the ‘backup guy' is a bit of a question mark at the moment. Backup running back Brandon Wilds dislocated his elbow last week at UCF. Spurrier and company turned to Shon Carson to fill the void, but he only carried once for no gain.
Carson will once again play the backup to Davis and true freshman David Williams will serve as the third-team back.
The Gamecocks kick off against the Wildcats Saturday night at 7:38 p.m. at Williams-Brice Stadium. The game will broadcast locally on Fox Sports South.
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