No. 18 South Carolina bounced back from its first loss of the season, and a turnover on the opening kickoff, to beat Kentucky 54-3 on Saturday afternoon at Williams-Brice Stadium. The Gamecocks (5-1, 3-1), behind sophomore quarterback Connor Shaw, still control their own fate in the SEC East race halfway through the conference season.
Sophomore Connor Shaw was 26-of-39 for 311 yards and four touchdowns in South Carolina's 54-3 victory over Kentucky on Saturday.
In his second career start, Shaw completed 26-of-39 passes for 311 yards. He tossed four touchdown passes and didn’t turn the ball over finding eight different receivers before leaving the game midway through the fourth quarter.
For the second straight game, kickoff returner Bruce Ellington put one on the ground but this week, it was recovered by the opposition. Kentucky took advantage of the short field by kicking a field goal for an early lead but Shaw put his team in control with his first opportunity.
Shaw completed a pair of third down passes, one to Ace Sanders and a 46-yard pass to Rory Anderson. The completion to the freshman tight end moved South Carolina deep into Kentucky territory, which set up a 20-yard touchdown pass to Alshon Jeffery for the game’s opening touchdown.
That would just be the beginning of the best offensive performance for the Gamecocks this season. South Carolina found the end zone two more times on an 11-yard touchdown pass to Justice Cunningham and a 24-yard scoring toss to Jeffery in the opening half alone.
The Kentucky offense didn’t run a play in South Carolina territory in the first half after the opening turnover. The Wildcats had just 57 first half yards, including nine through the air. Shaw, on the other hand, was 15-of-22 for 207 yards and three touchdowns.
Senior Jay Wooten, who missed his first field goal attempt and had an extra point blocked, connected from 48 yards and 42 yards late in the third quarter to give his team a 33-3 lead after three quarters.
Ellington scored his first career touchdown rushing down the right side for 61 yards with 10:34 remaining in the game.
Sophomore Andrew Clifford came in for Shaw midway through the fourth quarter and promptly threw his first career touchdown passes finding D.L. Moore, a Bluegrass State native, from seven yards out.
Redshirt freshman Dylan Thompson capped the scoring with a seven-yard touchdown run with eight seconds left in the game to give the Gamecocks their winning margin.
The Gamecocks forced six turnovers – four interceptions and two fumbles – while allowing 96 total yards. It was the second time this season that South Carolina has held its opponent to less than 100 yards. The Wildcats didn’t run a play in South Carolina territory after their first drive of the game.
Next up for the Gamecocks is Mississippi on October 15 at 12:21 p.m. EDT on the SEC Network. The Bulldogs defeated UAB earlier today at Legion Field.