UK VS. SOUTH CAROLINA | Wildcats hold on for 26-22 victory, end road losing streak
09/12/2015 11:07 PM
COLUMBIA, S.C. — THE. STREAK. IS. OVER.
The Kentucky Wildcats (2-0, 1-0 SEC) held on late for the second consecutive week to defeat South Carolina 26-22 and snap a 22-game road losing streak on Saturday night at a raucous Williams-Brice Stadium.
UK jumped out to a 24-7 lead in the first half before its defense needed to save the record-breaking victory.
South Carolina (1-1, 0-1 SEC) outscored the Wildcats 15-2 after halftime, and the Wildcats did not convert a first down until midway through the fourth quarter.
Kentucky’s lone two points of the second half came from a botched USC two-point conversation attempt to tie the game in the fourth quarter. Redshirt freshman defensive end Denzil Ware scooped up the fumble and ran it back 98 yards to give UK its winning margin.
After another Kentucky punt, freshman cornerback Chris Westry intercepted backup USC quarterback Perry Orth at the UK 26-yard line, and Kentucky ran out the clock to end the game.
Starting South Carolina quarterback Connor Mitch left the game in the second quarter after suffering a shoulder injury while attempting to recover a fumble. He finished the game 4-7 for 43 yards. Orth completed 13-20 attempts for 179 yards, one touchdown, and the aforementioned one interception.
Sophomore running back Stanley “Boom” Williams led the way for the Kentucky offense, rushing 14 times for 107 yards, including a huge 25-yard run on the Wildcats’ final possession to ice the game. Junior Jojo Kemp also continued his good play against South Carolina with another 78 yards and a touchdown.
Junior quarterback Patrick Towles finished the game 21-29 for 192 yards and one interception thrown on Kentucky’s first possession of the game. He also rushed for eight yards and one touchdown.
USC punched in the turnover a few plays later to take an early 7-0, but UK respond on its next possession with a 10-play, 80-yard drive to tie the score at 7-7 on a four-yard touchdown run from Mikel Horton. The sophomore running back did not return to the game after the first quarter from an apparent neck injury.
The Wildcats would score 24 unanswered points to end the first half, capped by Towles’ one-yard touchdown plunge with 0:17 left, before stalling for most of the second.
Pharoh Cooper, South Carolina’s All-American wide receiver, hauled in a game-high nine receptions for 100 yards, but the Wildcat secondary kept him out of the endzone for the first time in his last four games.
It wasn’t pretty, but any win on the road in the SEC (especially for UK) is a great win. Kentucky improves to 2-0 on the season with the victory, 1-0 in the SEC.
Next up: Florida on Saturday, September 19th, at Commonwealth Stadium.