Kentucky vs. USC Football Preview

University of Kentucky


Location: Lexington, Kentucky

Students: 27,209

Head Coach: Joseph “Joker” Phillips 3-3 in first year as head coach

Stadium:   Commonwealth Stadium – Capacity of 67,606

USC vs UK 2009- Carolina won 28-26 (Alshon Jeffery caught 3 touchdowns passes from Garcia).

Winning Streak:  USC has won 10 straight against the Wildcats and Spurrier has won 17 straight against the Wildcats.

Famous Alumni: Ashley Judd ( Actor) Pat Riley (NBA player, Coach, and president)  Chris Sullivan (Found of Outback Steakhouse) Brandon Webb (MLB Cy Young winner 2006) John Wall, Tayshawn Prince, Rajon Rondo (NBA players)

Kentucky Offense vs. USC Defense: The Wildcats are currently ranked 3rd in the SEC in scoring offense, averaging 37 points per game and 4th in total offense averaging 434 yards per game.  So far this season the Wildcats offense is average 176 yards on the ground and 257 yards in the air.  They will mix in the Wildcat formation with WR Randall Cobb from time to time, so Carolina’s defense will have to be ready for a variety of formations.

Players to watch out for: Kentucky’s offense is lead by it’s multi dimensional star Randall Cobb, who will line up in a number of different positions to keep the defense guessing. Cobb threw for a touchdown, caught 2 touchdowns and ran for a touchdown in the loss to Auburn last weekend.  For the season Cobb is ranked 3rd in the SEC in receptions  receiving yards per game.  Cobb has racked up 4 receiving, 3 passing, 3 rushing touchdowns  and one punt return for a TD.   The Wildcats are also lead by RB Derrick Locke and QB Mike Hartline.  Locke was injured last weekend against Auburn and will be a game time decision.  If Locke can’t go, look for Sophomore Donald Russell to fill in.  Russell has only 27 carries on the season for 124 yards and 0 touchdowns.  Mike Hartline the senior QB for the Wildcats is currently ranked 2nd in the SEC in passing yards, averaging a little over 240 yards per game.  Last year against Carolina, Hartline passed for 139 yards and one touchdown in Columbia.

USC’s defense is coming off of one of the best games ever, holding the high powered Alabama offense to 21 points and only 36 rushing yards.  Currently the Gamecock’s defense has been able to stop red zone scoring, ranked 5th nationally in red zone defense.  USC has allowed 5 touchdowns and 7 field goals in 20 red zone attempts.    USC is also ranked 5th in the SEC in scoring defense allowing 18 points per game.

Key Stat: In 6 games this season Kentucky’s offensive line has only given up 3 sacks, which is best in the SEC.  In 5 games this season, USC has recorded 19 Sacks, (7 against Alabama last weekend), which ranks them #1 in the SEC in sacks.  The Gamecocks used a variety of blitz packages last weekend against Alabama, which seemed to work nicely.  Look from Ingram, Robertson,  Matthews and Taylor to have an impact on the game against Kentucky.

Gamecock offense vs. Kentucky Defense: Kentucky’s defense is currently ranked 11th in scoring defense, giving up 30 points a game.  The rush defense is currently ranked last in the SEC giving up 190 yards a game on the ground.  Last weekend against Auburn Kentucky allowed the Tigers to rush for 311 yards, and Cam Newton made up 210 of those yards. However Kentucky is ranked #1 in the SEC in pass defense, which is no surprise as teams have been able to run on them.

Players to watch:  The Wildcats are led on defense by linebacker Danny Trevathan, safety Winston Guy and defensive end Luke McDermott.  Trevathan, who leads the SEC in tackles per game with 9, will be all over the field Saturday.  He was defensive player of the week in the SEC earlier in the season, and will be a player USC will have to block on every play.  Safety Winston Guy is 2nd on the Wildcats in tackles averaging 6 tackles a  game.  Garcia will need to keep an eye out for Guy, as he can play back in pass coverage as well as sneak up to the line to help stop the run.  Walk-on defensive end Luke McDermott is a high energy pass rusher who leads the Wildcats in sacks with 3 and tackles for loss with 4.5.

Key Stat: Kentucky’s defense is 9th in the SEC when it comes to 3rd down conversions, giving up 1st downs 38 % of the time.  USC leads the SEC in 3rd down conversions on offense, getting a first down 55% of the time.  This could be a key stat at the end of the game, if USC is driving late to win the game.

What might happen:  USC will come in riding high from their victory over Alabama last weekend.  The Wildcats will be ready for the gamecocks, even if the fans aren’t.  Basketball season is right around the corner, and practice actually starts on Friday.  The Gamecocks will shake of the hangover effect after the first drive, and go back to what the Gamecock team has done all season.  Run the ball with Lattimore, and then air it out to Jeffrey.  Kentucky will double team Jeffrey most of the game, so look for for Gurley, Moore, and Sanders to all step up.  Kentucky was burned for 3 touchdowns last season by Alshon, and they will need to shut him down, if they have any chance of winning this game.  USC will do their best to stop Randall Cobb, but in the end he will get his yards.  The wildcat formation has given USC trouble in the past, but after last weekend, USC’s defense has figured out a way to stop it.  I have a feeling Garcia will have another career day, and start to turn the non-believers into believers.

Prediction USC 37 Kentucky 21

There are 3 certainties in life. Taxes, Death, and Alshon gets a 100 yards a game.