Kentucky beats SC in its SEC opener

Kentucky beats SC in its SEC opener

Bentley and the Gamecocks tried to rally late, as the quarterback hit OrTre Smith on a 9-yard pass for the freshman's first career touchdown, cutting the score to 20-13 with 6:26 remaining.

It did not start that way, though.

Kentucky would take that 14-6 lead into halftime. But Kentucky's defense did not allow the Gamecocks any more points after that.

Kentucky made the critical plays when it needed.

The Gamecocks' final drive ended on an interceptions by cornerback Derrick Baity.

Samuel kicked off the scoring with a 68-yard receiving touchdown on the opening play, but SC was stifled by Kentucky's defense thereafter and did not score again.

Quarterback Jake Bentley connected with Samuel for a 68-yard touchdown, which marked his sixth touchdown of the year.

Snell finished with 102 yards on 32 carries.

Kentucky: The Wildcats could be for real in an SEC East without any true powers. SC is 2-1, 1-1 in the SEC. 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. This play virtually sealed the game as Gamecock fans started filling the concourse as Johnson ran away from South Carolina's defense.

Kentucky played without starting linebacker Jordan Jones, who was out with a banged up shoulder.

SC leads the series 17-11-1 but the Wildcats have won four in a row.

Kentucky will return to action Sat. Sept. 16 with the SEC home opener vs. Florida.