Kentucky had a very successful 2020 senior night at Kroger Field against SEC rival South Carolina, completing the regular season with it’s largest series victory by a score of 41-18.
The Cats led the game from the moment Matt Ruffolo banged in a 22-yard field goal to go up 3-0 following a 12 play, 75-yard opening drive. Kentucky finished the outing with 492 total yards (6.3 per play). Senior quarterback Terry Wilson went 17/26 for 201 passing yards, and added 14 rushes for 46 yards and one touchdown. He is now the third player in UK history to have 20 touchdown passes and 10 scoring rushes (Lorenzen, Towles), and also is the first Kentucky player to ever have 3,000 passing yards and 1,000 rushing yards in a career.
Kentucky’s rushing attack altogether was once again efficient (291 yards, 6.5 per carry). After a short absence from sophomore running back Chris Rodriguez, he ran for 139 yards and three touchdowns on 14 carries, including a season-long 79-yard touchdown run to put UK up 41-18. Senior AJ Rose also had a big outing, rushing for 101 yards and one touchdown on 14 carries. Rose has now entered into UK’s all-time top-10 rushing yards list (1,823).
Defensively, they forced South Carolina into four turnovers which led to 13 UK points. Linebacker Jordan Wright had two fumble recoveries himself, and the team as a whole had eight tackles for loss. The run defense was gashed at moments, as rising-star SC running back Kevin Harris had 21 carries for 210 yards and one touchdown. With that said, their opportunistic style of forcing turnovers and avoiding big pass plays (just 107 yards through the air for SC) proved to be big factors to the outcome.
Although UK had some players out due (17 tonight) to injuries and Covid-19 issues, it was not to the level of the Gamecocks as they had 46 players out tonight. In fact, only one defensive player that started tonight for South Carolina also began the opening matchup against Tennessee, so they were quite depleted.
The Cats have however had to endure many off-the-field issues including the death of offensive line coach John Schlarman and life-threatening medical circumstances surrounding linebacker Chris Oats. All of that along with many Covid-19 issues themselves. So, this win had to give them enthusiasm going into bowl season.