Lattimore guides Gamecocks past Kentucky

Marcus Lattimore rushed for 120 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries as No. 6 South Carolina used a dominant second half to take a 38-17 victory over Kentucky on Saturday.

Connor Shaw completed 15-of-18 passes for 148 yards and two scores, while adding 19 rushes for 76 yards for the Gamecocks (5-0, 3-0 SEC), who earned their ninth straight win dating back to last season.

The nine-game streak ties a school record set during the first nine games of the 1984 season.

"Our guys really had a good look in their eyes that they wanted to play the second half. There wasn't any moping, nobody was pouting, nobody was pointing fingers," South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said. "We were all bad so there weren't any fingers to point except all at ourselves. We had a better plan the second half, it worked out."

Jalen Whitlow threw for 114 yards with two interceptions on 12-of-23 efficiency for Kentucky (1-4, 0-2). He added six yards and a touchdown on 16 carries.

Maxwell Smith started the game under center for the Wildcats, but was forced to leave after injuring his ankle on Kentucky's second offensive play.

South Carolina entered the third quarter trailing 17-7, but scored the game's next 31 points to run away with the win as Kentucky managed just three first downs in the second half.

After Kentucky was forced to punt on the opening possession of the third quarter, Shaw reeled off a 14-yard run on a 3rd-and-5 to keep a drive alive before finding Damiere Byrd deep over the middle for a 30-yard touchdown.

South Carolina got the ball back at its own 43 following another Kentucky punt and Kenny Miles capped an 8-play drive with a 17-yard rush into the end zone off the left side to put the Gamecocks on top for good, 21-17, with just under five minutes left in the third quarter.

Lattimore then carried the load on a 14-play, 81-yard march on South Carolina's next touch. Lattimore had 10 carries for 61 yards on the drive, including a 3-yard score with 9:17 left in the game.

Whitlow was intercepted by DeVonte Holloman on the second play of Kentucky's ensuing possession and Holloman returned the pick 25 yards to the Kentucky 32- yard line, but the Gamecocks failed to convert a 4th-and-10 and the Wildcats regained possession at their own 24.

A tipped Whitlow pass was intercepted by Gerald Dixon Jr. on the next play and Lattimore turned it into a 4-yard rushing touchdown.

The Gamecocks regained the ball at the Kentucky 22 after a 12-yard punt by Landon Foster following another three-and-out by the Wildcats, and Adam Yates' 31-yard field goal capped the scoring with 2:27 remaining.

"We just couldn't get anything going on offense in the second half to try to match the scores that they made," Kentucky coach Joker Phillips said. "I think their first three possessions they scored touchdowns, and we couldn't match it."

South Carolina drove all the way down to the Wildcats' 1-yard line after the teams traded punts on the first two possessions of the game, but the Gamecocks opted to go for it on a 4th-and-goal and Shaw was stuffed for no gain on a quarterback sneak to turn the ball over on downs.

Kentucky then put together a 15-play, 94-yard march that moved to South Carolina's 5-yard line, but they could not push the ball into the end zone and had to settle for Craig McIntosh's 22-yard field goal with 1:02 left in the first quarter.

The Gamecocks later took over on offense at their own 36 early in the second quarter and Rory Anderson's 37-yard reception down the left sideline moved the ball inside the Kentucky 10-yard line before Ace Sanders capped the 6-play drive with a 3-yard touchdown grab, giving South Carolina a 7-3 lead.

The Wildcats, however, answered with an 8-play, 67-yard march Whitlow finished with an 8-yard run across the goal line on the lone third down of the drive.

Whitlow's 20-yard strike over the middle to A.J. Legree and Raymond Sanders' 17-yard rush highlighted the drive.

South Carolina was held to a three-and-out on its ensuing possession and Tyler Hull's punt was blocked by Daron Blaylock, giving the Wildcats the ball at the Gamecocks' 34-yard line.

Kentucky took advantage of the favorable field position with a 10-yard touchdown run off the left side by Sanders.

Faced with a 4th-and-1 at South Carolina's own 34-yard line, the Gamecocks went for it again on its next touch, but the center snapped the ball well over Shaw's head and Kentucky took over at the South Carolina 10.

Kentucky would not come away with any points, though, as Whitlow fumbled the ball while being sacked on a 3rd-and-goal with time running down. The Wildcats would eventually recover the ball, but they were out of timeouts and the clock ran out, keeping it a 17-7 game at the break.

Game Notes

South Carolina is 5-0 for the first time under Spurrier. The last time the Gamecocks opened 5-0 was in 2001 with Lou Holtz at the helm ... South Carolina leads the all-time series between the teams, 16-7-1, including a 9-4 mark in Lexington ... Kentucky fell to 1-5 against South Carolina when the Gamecocks are ranked.