Kentucky vs. South Carolina: Wildcats Fight Hard, but Still Fall Short 38-17

Nick NafpliotisCorrespondent ISeptember 29, 2012

Sept 29, 2012; Lexington, KY, USA; Kentucky Wildcats quarterback Jalen Whitlow (13) is tackled in the game against the South Carolina Gamecocks  at Commonwealth Stadium. Credit: Mark Zerof-US PRESSWIRE

At the end of the first half, I was preparing to dethaw some crow and fire up the grill. Kentucky was leading 17-7 and everything seemed to be going their way. Unfortunately, the superior talent on South Carolina was too much for UK in the second half.


The Good

  • Despite an ugly stat line (12-for-23, 114 yards, 2 INT), true freshman quarterback Jalen Whitlow displayed a lot of promise when he was forced into service due to Maxwell Smith's injury. In addition to showing an ability to run the football (one of which went for a touchdown), he also looked very comfortable in the pocket despite heavy pressure from the Gamecock's defensive line.
  • Jonathan George and Raymond Sanders got some big gains for the Wildcats behind an offensive line that had a great first half (the second half, however, was a different story).
  • The defense also played out of its mind in the first half, holding the Gamecocks to only seven points and Marcus Lattimore to 12 yards. They also did all of that with the defensive line missing arguably their best player, Mister Cobble, due to injury.


The Bad

  • After going into halftime with a 10-point lead, the Wildcats gave up 31 unanswered points.
  • It's hard enough going up against one of the top defenses in the country as a true freshman, but Whitlow got almost no protection in the second half. He was constantly under pressure and forced to scramble; he also ended up being sacked a total of six times.
  • Once Steve Spurrier saw how well his quarterback could run against the Wildcats, he decided to try it a bit more with Lattimore in the second half. 108 yards and one touchdown later, any chance that UK had of a monumental upset was over.
  • At the end of the first half, Kentucky had a huge opportunity to score from the 10-yard line. Due to some poor clock management and confusion on Whitlow's part, the Wildcats came away with nothing. The kid may just be a true freshman, but the potential momentum that could have been added going into the locker room would have been huge.
  • Smith went down early in the first half with what looked like a very nasty ankle sprain. A few minutes before the game ended, Whitlow also appeared to suffer a sprained ankle. The Wildcats may have to choose next week between burning Patrick Towles redshirt or starting Morgan Newton.


The Weird

  • Kentucky extended their odd/depressing streak of not scoring a touchdown in the first quarter to 18 games.
  • Cooper Drive near Commonwealth Stadium was a pretty popular student tailgating spot...until UK President Eli Capilouto put a ban on alcohol, DJs, and bands being in the area (per the Lexington-Herald Leader). This picture (courtesy of is a bizarre site to see on game day, even during a bad season.


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