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South Carolina vs. Kentucky Football: 5 Keys to a Gamecock Victory

Alex RobertsCorrespondent IOctober 4, 2011

South Carolina vs. Kentucky Football: 5 Keys to a Gamecock Victory

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    After last week's debacle against Auburn, this is a must-win game.  Kentucky has struggled through most of the season, and is seemingly the perfect SEC opponent for South Carolina to bounce back against.

    Seemingly. 

    However, South Carolina is known for its inability to crush lesser opponents.  In this game, South Carolina needs to come out strong and absolutely demolish the Wildcats. 

    Hey, to keep pace with Florida, it's a must. 

    Florida beat Kentucky 48-10...let's see what the Gamecocks can do. 

    Here are the keys to victory. 

Matchup Chart

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    Position South Carolina Advantage Even Kentucky Advantage
    Quarterback
    X
    Running Backs/Fullbacks X



    Wide Receivers X


     
    Offensive Line X



    Defensive Line X



    Linebackers X



    Defensive Backs X



    Special Teams X



    Coaching
    X


     

    National Ranking

     

    Offense

    SC: 77th

    UK: 76th

     

    Defense

    SC: 24th

    UK: 104th

    Quarterback is a mystery.  Morgan Newton has played poorly this season.  However, Connor Shaw is getting his first start. 

    Everything else is clearly a South Carolina advantage, even though Kentucky's defense is solid against the pass. 

1. Allow Connor Shaw To Manage the Game

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    K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple, Stupid.)

    South Carolina seems to have the ugliest offense in all of college football, when they should be an offensive juggernat.

    It generally consists of Marcus Lattimore followed by some ridiculously long pass.  Cut out the long passes, and allow Connor to make a few easy throws.  Have him become acclimated to the game before you try to take shots.

    I understand the "all in one" approach, but this offense has too many great runners with the ball (Damiere Byrd, Lattimore, Bruce Ellington, Alshon Jeffery, Ace Sanders) to not try to get these guys open in space. 

2. Spread the Love

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    Speaking of those runners, they need to be utilized more. 

    Alshon Jeffery is an amazing receiver with fantastic hands.  However, you have three speedsters in Ellington, Sanders and Byrd that need the ball as well. 

    Reverses, screens and quick slants would all be great ways to get these guys involved, as well as give Connor Shaw a few easy passes to work with. 

3. Feed the Beast

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    His name is Marcus Lattimore...and he's hungry. 

    Seventeen carries against Auburn was not acceptable for a running back who gets stronger the more carries he gets.  He must carry 20-30 times a game in order for South Carolina to function. 

    Get it together...hand him the ball.  It's going to be that easy. 

4. Continue To Apply Defensive Pressure

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    We have seen numerous instances of South Carolina's big three (Devin Taylor, Jadeveon Clowney and of course, Melvin Ingram) make huge plays. 

    This week, Ingram may be seated due to an ankle injury.  Even without him, the dynamic duo of Clowney and Taylor should be enough to pressure a weak Kentucky offense. 

5. Keep La'Rod King Covered

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    Kentucky is at its best when its best receiver La'Rod King is making plays.  However, South Carolina's defensive backfield has played much better as of late, and they shouldn't have any problems with King. 

    If King does somehow get loose, look for another long day. 

Prediction

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    All three of the "experts" last week blew it.  Everyone, including the Auburn Featured Columnist Kevin McGrady, picked South Carolina. 

    I was way off.  I predicted South Carolina to win 38-21, so I had 33 points added to my total.  Horrible.

    LHD continued his comeback tour by picking the closest.  He predicted a South Carolina win of 27-17, which saw only 15 points added to his total. 

    Kevin McGrady was off as well, picking a high-scoring 35-31 South Carolina victory.  He added 37 points to the guest total. 

    LHD moves up above our guest experts. 

    So as it stands:

    1.  Alex Roberts (4-1) +128

    2.  Leftover Hot Dog (4-1) +145

    3.  Guest Experts (4-1) +160

    The guest expert will be added later.  It's been tough locating a Kentucky writer. 

     

    My Score Prediction: South Carolina 28, Kentucky 10

    Leftover Hot Dog's Prediction: TBD

    Guest Expert's Prediction: TBD

     

    As always, it is great to be a Gamecock, and you can always fan me on Facebook!

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