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South Carolina football returns home to host an SEC matchup at Williams-Brice Stadium on Saturday. The Gamecocks will play the Kentucky Wildcats in search of their first conference win under head coach Shane Beamer.
For fans heading to the game, a face-covering requirement will be in effect at Williams-Brice due to a city of Columbia ordinance, though the belief is that widespread enforcement is unlikely. The school announced Wednesday afternoon that it was preparing for a full-capacity crowd this Saturday, with approximately 1,000 tickets left two days before kickoff. Announced attendance for USC’s first game against Eastern Illinois was 64,868.
What you need to know about the Week 4 matchup:
When do the South Carolina Gamecocks play UK?
Who: Kentucky Wildcats (3-0, 1-0 SEC) at South Carolina (2-1, 0-1)
When: 7 p.m. Saturday
Where: Williams-Brice Stadium (77,559) in Columbia, S.C.
On-air announce crew: Brian Custer, play-by-play; Kelly Stouffer, analyst; Lauren Sisler, sideline.
Radio: 107.5 FM in the Columbia area (Todd Ellis, play-by-play; Tommy Suggs, analyst; Jamar Nesbit, sideline) … See all the radio affiliates around South Carolina here.
Satellite radio: Sirius 135/XM 190
Series history: USC leads 18-13-1. Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops is 6-2 against the Gamecocks.
Weather forecast for Columbia, SC
Saturday’s weather is expected to be sunny with a few clouds, with highs reaching 78 degrees in the afternoon. The temperature will be closer to 70 by kickoff and mid-60s by the end of the game.
What to know about ‘SEC Nation’ visit
SEC Network crews will also be at the game this weekend. ”SEC Nation” returns to South Carolina to host its Saturday morning gameday show (10 a.m. to noon) on USC’s iconic horseshoe with various ESPN personalities, including Paul Finebaum, Laura Rutledge and Tim Tebow. The “Marty & McGee” show is also live from the Horseshoe from 9-10 a.m. Saturday.
Want to go? Fans are encouraged to be at the Horseshoe beginning at 7 a.m. Saturday. Per ESPN, “fans are permitted to enter the pit area beginning two hours before the start of SEC Nation.” This is the show’s fifth time at South Carolina and first visit the show will broadcast from the Horseshoe.
South Carolina vs Kentucky game prediction
ESPN’s Football Power Index gives South Carolina a 56% chance of winning against the Wildcats.
Point spread for UK vs USC Gamecocks
Kentucky is a 5-point favorite against the Gamecocks, according to the VegasInsider consensus, with one sportsbook having the Wildcats favored by 6 points when the line opened Sunday. ESPN Chalk gambling writer David Purdum told The State it’s the first time South Carolina has been a home underdog to Kentucky since 1999. The Wildcats have won six of their last seven meetings with the Gamecocks.
Week 4 SEC college football betting lines
Noon: Georgia (-35) at Vanderbilt Noon: LSU (-2.5) at Mississippi State Noon: Missouri (-1.5) at Boston College 3:30 p.m.: Texas A&M (-5.5) at Arkansas 4 p.m.: Georgia State at Auburn (-27) 7 p.m.: Tennessee at Florida (-19) 7 p.m.: Kentucky (-5) at South Carolina 7:30 p.m.: Southern Miss at Alabama (-45)
South Carolina football injury report
Quarterback Zeb Noland started throwing in practice again Wednesday after his hand was stepped on in the Gamecocks’ first offensive series of the Georgia game. Noland received stitches and had to recover from numbness in his throwing hand.
Linebacker Sherrod Greene underwent surgery on his lower right leg Sunday after needing to be carted off after two plays at Georgia. Shane Beamer said Greene’s injury isn’t expected to be season-ending, but that he will miss a significant chunk of time.
Defensive back Cam Smith has been practicing and is “100%,” per Beamer. Smith missed the second half against Georgia after having his foot, which had recently recovered from offseason surgery, stepped on.
Wide receiver Xavier Legette is questionable for Kentucky after suffering minor scrapes in a “traffic incident” last week, Beamer said.
Defensive lineman Rick Sandidge remains sidelined with a leg injury. He hasn’t played in any of the Gamecocks’ first three games.
Gamecocks vs. UK Wildcats: What to watch for
Kentucky got its first SEC East win under its belt in Week 2 with an impressive offensive showcase against Missouri. The Wildcats’ 35-28 conference win, which included 511 yards on offense, had various pundits excited about their potential with dynamic quarterback Will Levis under center. Levis does hand off to SEC leading rusher Chris Rodriguez and throw passes to the SEC leading receiver Wan’Dale Robinson after all.
But the Wildcats’ most recent game against FCS UT-Chattanooga exposed some of their shortfalls. For one, the Mocs were able to hold Kentucky to just 102 yards on the ground, and they came up with three turnovers, including two interceptions.
The good news for South Carolina is that it has demonstrated ability to force turnovers. Even in Georgia’s 40-13 rout of the Gamecocks, USC safety Jaylan Foster came up with two picks and the Gamecocks were able to hold the Bulldogs to 184 yards rushing.
South Carolina’s starting quarterback Luke Doty has also returned after a preseason foot injury kept him sidelined for the first two games. Doty warmed up as the Georgia game progressed, finishing the night on 13-of-26 passing for 153 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Shane Beamer said Doty will be the Gamecocks’ starter against Kentucky.
Another aspect leaning in the Gamecocks’ favor is the potential for true home-field advantage at Williams-Brice Stadium. With USC announcing it’s just 1,000 tickets away from a sellout crowd, Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops has piped in crowd noise, Darude’s “Sandstorm” and rooster crows, into Wildcats’ practices this week to prepare their first real road contest since the lifting of COVID-19 capacity restrictions.
This week’s matchup with the Wildcats is poised to be more of a measuring stick for Beamer in his first year at South Carolina. While Georgia hosted the Gamecocks as part of a tear through the SEC East that could easily see the Bulldogs land in the conference championship, Kentucky’s weak spots give South Carolina a chance to potentially grab its first SEC win of 2021.
South Carolina players to watch
1. Quarterback Luke Doty is slated to record his first start of 2021 after taking command of the Gamecocks’ offense early in last week’s game following Zeb Noland’s hand injury. Doty, who had previously been named South Carolina’s starter before suffering a foot injury in fall practice, settled in against Georgia and ended up completing seven of his last 11 passes in Athens.
2. Wide receiver Josh Vann has quickly risen up the ranks as South Carolina’s go-to wideout. After an impressive showing against ECU with 127 yards on five receptions, Vann continued to show off his production downfield against Georgia in Week 3. He caught three passes for 128 yards and a touchdown in Athens, including a career-long 61-yard grab.
3. Safety Jaylan Foster leads the SEC with three interceptions through three games, including two in last week’s conference opener against Georgia. Foster has stepped up for the Gamecocks in 2021 as questions had previously been raised in the offseason around who would be able to replace Jaycee Horn and Israel Mukuamu in the defensive backfield.
Three Kentucky football players to watch
1. Quarterback Will Levis has already impressed Beamer, who complimented Levis’ “rocket” of an arm as well as his versatility as a dual-threat quarterback. Levis, who transferred to Kentucky this year after playing three seasons at Penn State, has completed 64.6% of his passes this year for 800 yards, seven touchdowns and four interceptions. He’s added 37 yards and a touchdown on 18 rushes.
2. Wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson is a formidable deep ball threat, leading the SEC with 337 yards on 18 receptions, an average of 18.7 yards per catch. A transfer from Nebraska, Robinson had his best game against Missouri, totaling 101 yards on five catches and adding another 73 yards on three runs out of the backfield.
3. Inside linebacker Jacquez Jones is another player Beamer made specific mention of in his Tuesday news conference. Jones, a transfer from Ole Miss, leads the Wildcats with 20 tackles. He’s also recorded three pass break-ups and an interception.
South Carolina Gamecocks 2021 football schedule
Home games in bold
Sept. 4: South Carolina 46, Eastern Illinois 0
Sept. 11: South Carolina 20, East Carolina 17
Sept. 18: South Carolina 13, Georgia 40
Sept. 25 vs. Kentucky, 7 p.m. (ESPN2)
Oct. 2 vs. Troy, 3:30 p.m. (SEC Network)
Oct. 9 at Tennessee
Oct. 16 vs. Vanderbilt
Oct. 23 at Texas A&M
Nov. 6 vs. Florida
Nov. 13 at Missouri
Nov. 20 vs. Auburn
Nov. 27 vs Clemson
South Carolina football depth chart vs UK
Any position, whether it’s a starter or a backup, is listed with an —OR— designation.
QB — Luke Doty (Zeb Noland, Jason Brown)
RB — ZaQuandre White —OR— MarShawn Lloyd —OR— Juju McDowell —OR— Kevin Harris
WR — Jalen Brooks (Xavier Legette)
WR — Dakereon Joyner (Ahmarean Brown)
WR — Josh Vann (Geri-Cari Caldwell —OR— OrTre Smith)
LT — Jazston Turnetine (Jakai Moore)
LG — Jaylen Nichols (Vershon Lee)
OC — Eric Douglas (Vincent Murphy)
RG — Jovaughn Gwyn (Wyatt Campbell)
RT — Dylan Wonnum (Tyshawn Wannamaker)
TE — Nick Muse (E.J. Jenkins)
TE — Jaheim Bell (Traevon Kenion, Keveon Mullins)
EDGE — Aaron Sterling (Jordan Burch)
DT — Jabari Ellis (Tonka Hemingway)
DT — Zacch Pickens (Alex Huntley)
EDGE — Kingsley Enagbare (Jordan Strachan)
NICK — David Spaulding (Carlins Platel)
MLB — Damani Staley (Debo Williams)
WLB — Brad Johnson (Mo Kaba —OR— Darryle Ware)
CB — Marcellas Dial (Dominick Hill)
SS — Jaylin Dickerson —OR— R.J. Roderick (Jahmar Brown)
FS — Jaylan Foster (Tyrese Ross)
CB — Darius Rush —OR— Cam Smith
PK — Parker White (Mitch Jeter)
KO — Parker White —OR— Mitch Jeter —OR— Alex Herrera
P — Kai Kroeger (Alex Herrera)
LS — Matthew Bailey (Hunter Rogers)
H — Kai Kroger (Alex Herrera)
KOR — Dakereon Joyner (Juju McDowell)
PR — Josh Vann (Ahmarean Brown)