Kentucky falls to South Carolina, 24-7

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COLUMBIA, S.C. – Christopher Rodriguez Jr. rushed for a career-high 65 yards and his first career touchdown, but Kentucky lost at South Carolina 24-7 on Saturday night at Williams-Brice Stadium.

Kentucky (2-3, 0-3 SEC) had its struggles on offense all night. Other than Rodriguez, one of the bright spots was Lynn Bowden Jr. who was seemingly all over the field. Bowden had six carries for 44 yards, caught three passes for 18 yards, completed both of his passes for seven yards and returned three kickoffs for 84 yards in the game.

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On defense, Jamar Watson led the way with a pair of sacks, while Yusuf Corker had nine tackles and Chris Oats had eight.

South Carolina took the opening kickoff and marched 75 yards in 11 plays, culminating with a Tavien Feaster two-yard touchdown rush. Parker White added the point after and the Gamecocks grabbed a 7-0 lead with 11:09 remaining in the first period.

Kentucky got a first down on its first possession before Sawyer Smith was intercepted near midfield. But the Cats’ defense held, forcing a punt. Kentucky punted on its next possession, but the Cats got a break when the punt hit a South Carolina player and was recovered by Brett Slusher at the Gamecock 39. However, the Cats could not convert, giving the ball back to South Carolina.

The teams would then exchange punts near the end of the first quarter, which would end with South Carolina leading 7-0.

Early in the second quarter, South Carolina drove deep into Kentucky territory, but the UK defense stood tall again, forcing a 26-yard field goal that White converted, giving the Gamecocks a 10-0 lead with 11:43 left in the first half. Neither team would score for the rest of the half, and South Carolina took a 10-point lead into the break.

Kentucky received the second-half kickoff, but the Cats turned the ball over, and South Carolina struck immediately, with a 30-yard touchdown rush from Rico Dowdle. The PAT gave the Gamecocks a 17-0 lead with 13:59 left in the third quarter. The Gamecocks added a fourth-quarter touchdown to lead 24-0 before Rodriguez’s late touchdown got the Cats on the board.

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Austin Miller joins ABC 36 Sports Team as a Sports Reporter and Weekend Anchor. Austin is from the Louisville area and graduated from St. Xavier High School in 2008. Austin graduated from Indiana University with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and a second concentration in German. While at IU, Austin was a blogger at Kentsterling.com and co-host, producer and engineer for WIUX, the school’s student radio station. Before coming to ABC 36, Austin was a news videographer at WLFI in West Lafayette from 2012-2015. While working with WLFI, Austin had the chance to cover the Purdue Boilermakers. He then accepted a Sports/New Reporter position at Local 4 KSNB-TV in Hastings Nebraska and was eventually promoted to sports full-time as the Weekend Sports Anchor/Reporter. While at KSNB-TV, Austin covered the University of Nebraska, the University of Nebraska-Kearney and Hastings College. After spending nearly six years away from home, Austin is excited to return to the Bluegrass State to cover the teams he grew up watching. In his spare time, Austin enjoys playing basketball, working out and cooking. If you have any story ideas or would like to say “Hello,” you can reach Austin by email at amiller@wtvq.com or direct message him on Twitter @AustinMillerTV.