SC (2-1, 1-1) electrified a sold-out stadium with a 68-yard TD catch by receiver Deebo Samuel on the opening play, then got an interception and a fumble from the Wildcats' first two drives. They took South Carolina's opening punch and then won every big moment the rest of the way. Instead, after next week's contest with Louisiana Tech, they'll face a hard stretch of league games including contests at Texas A&M and Tennessee. SC field goal kicker Parker White missed both of his opportunities - from 52 and 54 yards, while Woznick missed from 42 yards.
The dagger? A 54-yard run by Wildcat quarterback Stephen Johnson on a third-and-eight from the Kentucky 36-yard-line - a critical conversion that came just five plays after the Gamecocks had pulled within seven points late in the fourth quarter.
In the second half, the offense slowed down a tad, but the defense continued to play well after the rough start with the Samuel touchdown catch.
SC kicker Alexander Woznick missed the PAT on the Gamecocks' first touchdown.
Johnson completed 16 of 25 passes for 169 yards.
"He's going to be part of everything we do", Bentley said after the game.
Well, it was a sellout crowd until late in the third quarter - when thousands of Gamecock fans dressed in black for this "blackout" game headed for the exits, frustrated with a new "gameday experience" that produced a familiar result. "We had a little bit of time left so I made sure I didn't go out od bounds and stop the clock".
The 'Cats will kick off at 7:30 p.m. when they visit Williams-Brice Stadium.