Saturday, October 8, 2011
Halftime: South Carolina 20, Kentucky 3
By Chris Low
It's obvious South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier is determined to get the Gamecocks' passing game going.
The Gamecocks, with sophomore Connor Shaw taking over at quarterback, threw it 22 times in the first half and lead Kentucky 20-3. Shaw was sharp most of the way, passing for 207 yards, three touchdowns and no interceptions.
The best news for the Gamecocks was that they rediscovered Alshon Jeffery, who caught two touchdown passes in the first half. Jeffery had been quiet the last two weeks, but South Carolina's entire passing game had struggled under Stephen Garcia.
It wasn't perfect for South Carolina, which continues to commit the kind of penalties that kills drives, and Shaw took a late sack that prevented the Gamecocks from tacking on more points.
Still, the Gamecocks have a pulse when it comes to throwing the football, and that's something they didn't have with Garcia at quarterback.
On the other side of the field, Kentucky has gone from bad to worse on offense.
And at this point, Kentucky coach Joker Phillips has a tough decision to make about junior quarterback Morgan Newton, whose struggles have reached unprecedented heights. Newton threw 12 straight incompletions in the first half and is just 3-of-17 for 9 yards and an interception.
It's not fair to blame all of Kentucky's offensive problems on Newton, but Phillips has to at least think about giving freshman Maxwell Smith a shot at quarterback.
The Wildcats have just 57 total yards at the half and don't appear to have a lot of answers.
The offensive line's play has been disappointing, but the void in playmakers is equally glaring -- especially when you consider how many plays Randall Cobb and Derrick Locke made for this team the last few years.