South Carolina rediscovered Marcus Lattimore in the second half on Saturday night, and in doing so, awakened from its first-half slumber to pull away from Kentucky for a 38-17 victory at Commonwealth Stadium.
Lattimore carried the ball just five times for 12 yards in the first half, and No. 6 South Carolina went into halftime trailing 17-7.
Visions of the Gamecocks’ last trip to the Bluegrass were no doubt dancing in the heads of South Carolina fans everywhere.
But this time, the Gamecocks fed the ball to Lattimore repeatedly in the second half and reeled off 31 unanswered points. Lattimore finished with a season-high 120 rushing yards and had 108 of those in the second half on 18 carries. He scored both of his touchdowns in the fourth quarter.
Two years ago when Kentucky upset South Carolina 31-28, the Gamecocks blew a big lead in the second half, and Lattimore didn’t play after injuring his ankle in the first half.
The Gamecocks (5-0, 3-0) have now won nine straight games dating back to last season, which matches the longest winning streak in school history.
The striking thing about South Carolina's defense Saturday was how well it played in the second half. Other than a meaningless touchdown scored by Missouri last week with 17 seconds to play, the Gamecocks haven’t given up any second-half points in their last three games.
Now, it’s on to what should be the first of three huge showdowns in the Eastern Division race. No. 5 Georgia visits Williams-Brice Stadium next Saturday in a 7 p.m. ET contest.
The other big games in the East to mark on your calendar are South Carolina at Florida on Oct. 20 and Florida vs. Georgia on Oct. 27 in Jacksonville, Fla.
South Carolina has swept Florida and Georgia each of the last two years.