Columbia, SC (SportsNetwork.com) - Connor Shaw's touchdown run in the fourth quarter proved to be the difference as No. 13 South Carolina hung on for a 35-28 victory over Kentucky on Saturday.
Shaw went 17-for-20 for 262 yards and a score and added nine carries for 50 yards for the Gamecocks (4-1, 2-1 SEC), who have won three straight since a loss to Georgia on Sept. 7. Mike Davis had 21 carries for 106 yards and two touchdowns in the win.
"I couldn't be more proud of our guys on the offense," Shaw said. "I thought we battled all through the night."
Jalen Whitlow was 17-for-24 for 178 yards and two touchdowns for the Wildcats (1-4, 0-2), who have lost three straight. Whitlow also had 17 carries for 69 yards and a touchdown in the loss.
"We understand he's not perfect," Kentucky coach Mark Stoops said of Whitlow. "He missed a few throws here and there, but you saw a couple of good runs."
South Carolina took a 27-7 lead into the final quarter, but Kentucky came into the frame at the South Carolina 4 and Whitlow hit Demarco Robinson for a score with 13:43 to play.
It didn't take long for the Wildcats to get the ball back, as the kickoff was fumbled and Kentucky recovered at the South Carolina 35. Five plays later, Whitlow found Ryan Timmons for a score and a 27-21 game with 11:50 left.
The Gamecocks came right back down the field with Shaw gaining 31 yards to move it across midfield. Facing a 2nd-and-goal at the 2, Shaw took it in himself then converted the 2-point play with a pass to Nick Jones for a 35-21 lead with 8:05 showing.
Kentucky kept at it as the team moved 81 yards in eight plays over four minutes with Whitlow taking it in from a yard out for a 35-28 game with 4:02 to play.
That was the last time the Wildcats touched the ball, though, as South Carolina was able to gain a couple of first downs to kill off the rest of the clock.
The Gamecocks needed just four plays to get in the end zone as Shaw and Damiere Byrd got together on a 62-yard score for a 7-0 lead just over a minute and a half in.
After getting the ball back from the Wildcats, South Carolina marched back down the field and a Davis 22-yard score made it a 14-0 game with 6:36 left in the first.
The second play of the second quarter saw South Carolina go up by three scores on Davis' 1-yard TD run, but Kentucky finally put some points on the board on its ensuing touch as Raymond Sanders' 2-yard score made it a 21-7 game with 7:38 to play in the first half.
Elliott Fry's 40-yard field goal right before halftime gave the Gamecocks a 24-7 lead.
The only points of the third quarter came on a 41-yard field goal from Fry on South Carolina's first possession of the second half.
South Carolina totaled 453 yards in the game while Kentucky had 301 ... South Carolina plays at Arkansas next Saturday ... Kentucky hosts Alabama next week ... Byrd finished the game with five catches for 98 yards ... South Carolina has won three straight against Kentucky and leads the series 17-7-1.