Kentucky football game Saturday: Kentucky vs. S. Carolina odds and prediction for Week 6

Kentucky Wildcats running back Kavosiey Smoke (Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports)
Kentucky Wildcats running back Kavosiey Smoke (Credit: Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports) /

4-1. 7:30 PM. SEC Network. Saturday, Oct 8. 833. Wildcats -6.5. 3-2. 850

We have reached the halfway point in the college football season and the Kentucky football team has its sights set on stabilizing its play on both sides of the field seeking win No. 5.

The No. 13 ranked Wildcats host South Carolina looking to shift their run game into fourth gear, forget the pair of fumbles that cost them a win against Ole Miss last Saturday losing 22-19, and get their defense to play a complete game from the opening to the final whistle.

The Wildcats (4-1, 1-1 SEC) sit in third place in the SEC East, but a single play in three different games this past Saturday could have painted a different picture.

Had Kentucky not given the game away to Ole Miss they would have been a perfect 5-0 and 3-0 in the SEC East. Missouri had Georgia beat and let it slip away in the end losing 26-22. Likewise, Florida was set to take down Tennessee but the Vols eked out a 38-33 win.

Those results alone would have put Kentucky solely atop the SEC East.

As it stands now they will have to beat both Tennessee and Georgia to accomplish that feat.

But hey it’s not out of the question.

Before the season I predicted Kentucky would be undefeated after this game but potentially could have losses to either Florida or Ole Miss and a top-10 ranking.  They were ranked No. 7 prior to Ole Miss and knocking on the top 5.

Kentucky however may be without the services of quarterback Will Levis who is listed as a game-time decision. Head coach Mark Stoops would not elaborate on the injury or his status.

Levis clearly tweaked a “foot/ankle” late in the game against Ole Miss and was hobbling around on the sidelines, and has been spotted in a walking boot this week, per Kyle Tucker of The Athletic.

If he is able to walk, talk and throw the ball I’d expect Levis will play. If not it will be redshirt freshman Kaiya Sheron stepping in to start and sophomore Deuce Hogan would be his backup. Neither has yet to even throw a pass in a game this season.

Special teams have to improve as well after the Wildcats failed to convert on two extra-point attempts and Matt Ruffolo missed a 39-yard field goal in the first half.

Kentucky’s defense can get in the head of quarterback Spencer Rattler

Defensive Coordinator Brad White’s squad has been up to the task all season long but has had a tendency to be a bit lethargic at the start of games, especially on opening drives. However, in each ensuing possession, the Big Blue defense has been staunch and stingy.

In three out of four games Kentucky has held their opponents scoreless after halftime and in the opener against  Miami (Ohio) the Cats yielded just three points in the second half.

White told the media this week he is pleased with the way his defense has performed after halftime this season, and he wants to see his unit do more.

"“You can’t get too high, you can’t get too low. We’ve been in games when you come out scorching hot, on fire, then you come out and we did not play a good second half. What we need to continue to do is put together full games, and that’s something we’re still working on.”"

South Carolina quarterback Spencer Rattler has shown moments of excellence but also has a tendency to turn it over to opponents.

In three seasons at Oklahoma Ratter threw for 30 touchdowns but was picked off 12 times. This season at South Carolina he had thrown an SEC-leading 7 interceptions and four touchdowns.

Kentucky football vs South Carolina odds Week 6

Spread: Kentucky -6.5
Over/under: 46.5
Moneyline:  Kentucky -250, South Carolina +250

(Odds are from FanDuel, but game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change)

South Carolina leads the all-time series 28-14-1

Kentucky has won the past two games and 7 of the past 8

South Carolina won 13 of the previous 14 games dating back to 2000 except in 2010 when UK won 31-28

Kentucky’s largest victory was 41-18 in 2020 in Lexington

Kentucky is 8-9 in games played in Lexington

Kentucky vs South Carolina Prediction Week 6

With the mystery surrounding if Levis plays that will be a major factor as the backups have seen very, very little college action.

Regardless look for Kentucky to run, run and run the ball. This is the kind of game and team that Stoops likes to go to his bread-and-butter style of football and get an early lead and grind it out the rest of the game.

Feed Rodriguez the ball against a team he has great success against and let’s watch him go.

As a freshman, C-Rod carried six times for 65 yards and his first career touchdown. The following year rushed 14 times for 139 yards and three scores and last season, ran wild 26 times for 144 yards.

In total, Rodriguez has carried 46 times for 348 yards and four touchdowns and has averaged 116 yards rushing per game and 7.6 yards per carry against South Carolina.

Levis won’t need the big long ball plays especially with that dislocated finger from last week and other unnamed injuries.

He can easily find Barion Brown, Tayvion Robinson, and Dane Key for big-chunk catch-and-run plays and another strong performance by tight end Brenden Bates should be in the mix.

All that talent is quite helpful for Rodriguez explained.

"“It makes it easier on me. They’re opening up the run game for me. We’ve got a lot of guys in that receiver corps that can go (for a touchdown) at any time. It just opens a lot more up.”"

Whether it’s Levis or Sherron the playcalling will look very similar.

I look for Brad White’s defense to play 60 minutes of football and wreak havoc on Rattler forcing a couple of turnovers.

Kentucky football is never a complete thing of beauty and with the focus on running the football, I am not convinced they can hit the over. But in the end, Kentucky will get the win continuing Stoops’ domination of the Gamecocks.

I’ll take Kentucky 28, South Carolina 17

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