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.
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.