Cloninger's five gameday storylines: USC vs. Kentucky

Posted by DAVID CLONINGER on October 4, 2013 

UCF Knights quarterback Blake Bortles (5) is pressured by South Carolina Gamecocks defensive end Jadeveon Clowney (7) in the second half at Bright House Networks Stadium in Orlando, Fl, Saturday, September 28, 2013.

GERRY MELENDEZ — gmelendez@thestate.com

  • GAMECOCKS VS. WILDCATS

    WHO: USC (3-1, 1-1 SEC) vs. Kentucky (1-3, 0-1)

    WHERE: Williams-Brice Stadium

    WHEN: 7:30 p.m.

    TV: FSC

    RADIO: WNKT-FM 107.5

    SATELLITE RADIO: Sirius 135/XM 201

    LINE: USC by 21

1. DR. FEELGOOD

If ever there was a week for USC’s defense to get it together, it’s this one. Kentucky is last in the league in scoring offense, 12th in rushing offense and eighth in passing offense, with no clear idea of who will start at quarterback on Saturday. The Gamecocks have started to get their hands on some turnovers, but now is the chance to show they can be a lock-down unit.

2. STUD HOSS

The Wildcats give up 200 yards on the ground per game. USC averages 224 yards rushing per game, with Mike Davis responsible for 127. This is a hint that there’s really no need to throw.

3. AND YOUR QUARTERBACK ...

Steve Spurrier said Connor Shaw will start this week, but Dylan Thompson will probably also play. Shaw’s recovery is incredible, considering what it looked like when he went down at UCF. But the way Davis is carving up defenses right now, with the Gamecocks’ undersung offensive line blowing open gaps, is there really a need to use Shaw?

4. MY BONE SPURS ...

Jadeveon Clowney has had some ailments over the first four weeks, some that won’t go away and some that are popping up just before the game. Assuming he isn’t hit by the Jersey Bounce during warm-ups, Clowney can give everybody a nice big glass of shut up by doing what he can do this week. Kentucky has given up 10 sacks, the most in the league.

5. FINISH IT

There is no reason the Gamecocks shouldn’t put up a lot of points and roll to the finish, which is why some folks are nervous. Recent history, and recent history vs. Kentucky, are natural reasons to be nervous. Last year was a 38-17 win, but it was 17-7 Wildcats at halftime. In 2010, a USC team that had just whipped No. 1 Alabama lost to Kentucky after cruising to a halftime lead.

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