SOUTH CAROLINA (2-1,1-0 SEC) @ #17 KENTUCKY (4-0, 2-0 SEC)
Lee Ann Herring-Olvedo
LEXINGTON,KY–The underestimated under cats could care less who is buying into if they are really capable of going the distance. No one would really have thought that the Coach Stoops and the Kentucky Wildcats would be heading into Week 5 of the college football season one of 4 SEC teams still undefeated at 4-0 and ranking # 17 in the AP & Coaches Polls which hasn’t happened since 2007.
Coach Stoops and his ball club are no longer under the radar or at least shouldn’t be after the power pounding they gave to #14 Mississippi State 28-7 at Kroger Field in week 4. After six long years of patience and persistence the Big Blue Nation looks to finally have themselves a legit contender in SEC football. As the heavens opened and the rain poured down in the Commonwealth last Saturday evening under those lights I couldn’t help but think that the moment of reckoning has finally arrived for this team.
The truth be told this Kentucky team is not your typical powerhouse SEC team whose depth chart and roster is filled with names we know or the top 4&5 stars recruits from ear to ear. In fact you could say that this is your average joe team but don’t let that fool your folks. What has made this team go the distance and deserving of being where they are is the grit and grind they have put in not just this season but over a period of time to earn a spot at the big boy table for now.
I think the best way to describe what the Cats have going that makes them unstoppable heading into week 5 and beyond is just how Kentucky’s’ OT, E.J Price remarks following their Week 4 victory, “You keep pounding until they quit.” That ladies and gentleman is what makes the difference in the big games not just pure talent or athleticism but the belief of pushing till you have nothing left. Furthermore, that every member of a team has to do their part every and no one player is more significant than the next.
Kick-Off: 6:30 PM CT
Venue:KROGER FIELD, LEXINGTON,KY
Network: SEC NETWORK
The former coach in waiting under Mack Brown and the once revered Texas Longhorns enter his third season in South Carolina and has yet to find a firm footing for his ball club. It seems that perhaps the Texas Hex has preceded him since his departure from Austin because he just can’t catch a break. Quite frankly it’s really difficult to know just what we are going to see from the Gamecocks in Week 5. Kentucky has dominated this meeting in past years with a sub par team so who knows just how difficult it will be for Carolina to go head to head with this new kentucky team. However, like anything momentum can do a lot to change the direction of a ball game. You can be sure that Will Muschamp and his ball club are going to be finding every play possible to “cock block’ the cats from going 5-0. They have weapons especially on their offense and their have been glimpse of a pretty decent game on the air and the ground that could challenge the cats if it comes together. As for the defense there is not much size or abominable strength that just leave you in awe but what they do have that could pose a threat is their insatiable speed and athletic ability.
The Cats are undoubtedly playing some of the best ball collectively seen in this decade Saturday evenings match- up is a sell out if that doesn’t tell you anything. From their hellacious pounding defense and of course you can’t forget B-B-B-Bennie and the Cats roaring running game. Like I said this may not be the most loaded roster of star players but that doesn’t matter when the team you do have is making plays happen not just on offense but on defense. That is something that gives the Cats the edge the fact that they have a visible and viable playbook that is not lopsided. It doesn’t have to be perfect but it is persistent. If the Cats continue to drive that home and come at South Carolina with that sort of play they will be lucky to make it unscathed to the half just on pure push.
Kick-Off Keys To The Game
Keys For The Gamecocks
On any given game day no matter what sort of team you may be on paper or in film that can change if you will it. Their is nothing that just screams wow about a team like South Carolina but never underestimate a teams ability to 1. Spoil a streak 2. To have a few tricks up their sleeves. Muschamp is looking to make turnaround and third time could be a charm. Carolina is going to have to step up and show out with what they got plain and simple. It’s not about looking suave its about producing plays and points with a decent offense and wearing down the Cats with a defense that has speed and athletic prowess for four quarters. Putting points and making stops until the Cats are blue in the face.
Ware them out and make stops till someone gives in and for the sake of the Gamecocks perhaps it will be the Cats. If you don’t want the Cats to play in your sandbox or steal your victory then you better come to play and beat them at their own game. If there was ever a time for Muschamp and company to find themselves and click it would be this game. Even though South Carolina may not appear to have their act together just yet doesn’t mean that the Cats will walk away unscathed or unchallenged. In fact what could work in the favor for this ball club is the shear mentality of playing with nothing to lose and playing spoiler to the Cats streak.
Keys For The Cats
This team may not fit the mold of what most perceive to be a championship caliber team but looks can be deceiving. The Cats have demonstrated that when a team truly works as one and has belief they can then they can move mountains. The Cats have found a way to keep pressing and pushing on till there is no more to give and that has proven to make all the difference in getting to the point they are at. It’s not about looking the best it’s about playing with all you have got and every single player on that field doing their job and having each other back down after down.
Fast Lane & Big Plays
The Kentucky offense is filled with opportunities for the Cats to capitalize in the air and on the ground. If the Cats can step up their passing game and speed up the tempo then they open up even more room for more play makers to contribute to Benny Snell already riveting play making skills. A great deal of Kentucky’s success has stemmed from taking chances and putting points on the board from big plays. If the Cats can find that continued balance and consistency of speed and going the distance not just offense but on defense then it’s going to be a long evening for the Gamecocks.
“Do not underestimate the determination of a quiet man ( or a team in this case).” – Iain Duncan Smith
The Cats and the Gamecocks are both teams that are underestimated in more ways than one but at the end of the day each one of these ball clubs is not letting the outside critics determine their destiny. Who will be able to drown out the naysayers in Lexington and prevail in Week 5?
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Lee Ann Herring-Olvedo is a Senior Editor and writer for Main Event Sports. She is a veteran SEC sports journalist, NFL Network content writer, and Brown University graduate. She loves good cigars, good games and a smooth glass of bourbon — not necessarily in that order. She can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @ Misskyus2011