Last year in Lexington the Gamecocks had their first of three 4th Quarter meltdowns, relinquishing a 14-point lead in a matter of minutes to lose 45-38. Dylan Thompson gave up 3 interceptions, one a pick-6, and Jo Jo Kemp torched our defense for 134 yards rushing (mostly from the Wildcat) and 3 TDs. Losing to Kentucky is never good, but losing in that manner was almost too much to bear.
This year USC looks to be much improved on defense, while Kentucky lost two key pieces to last year's unit to the NFL in Bud Dupree and Za'Darius Smith, and will be missing two starters at LB for this game. Kentucky gave up 479 yards of offense to Louisiana-Lafayette last week in a 40-33 win, and 247 of those yards were of the rushing variety. Advantage: South Carolina.
On offense, Kentucky has veteran Patrick Towles back at QB, as well as the above mentioned Jo Jo Kemp at RB. New Offensive Coordinator Shannon Dawson brings a HUNH, Air Raid-style offense from West Virginia, and with Towles and some adequate playmakers at the skill positions, Kentucky can be dangerous on offense. Advantage: Kentucky.
Overall, I think USC's advantage on defense outweighs the one Kentucky has on offense. I expect the South Carolina passing game to continue to struggle, but we should be able to find success in the run game and use that to control the time of possession. Brandon Wilds will get his first 100 yard game of the season, and the defense will add 3 sacks to their 2015 total. Prediction: USC 28 - UK 21
Bonus: Watch Kentucky back-up QB and former USC priority recruit Drew Barker get totally destroyed by a sucker punch at an EKU dormitory following several months of off-the-field shenanigans. Enjoy.