South Carolina at Kentucky
Time: 6:30 PM CT
Spread: KEN -1.5
Odds c/o 5dimes
A school mostly renown for basketball has now become one of the hottest teams in the college football ranks: Kentucky knocked off then-No. 14 Mississippi State last week, its second win of the year against an AP-ranked opponent. And now, Kentucky finds itself ranked, No. 17 precisely, as it hosts South Carolina in week 5 as 1.5-point favorites. The over/under is set at 50.5 points according to college football oddsmakers at bookmaker 5dimes.
Kentucky is doing this, mostly, on the strength of one superb and major pro prospect, running back Benny Snell Jr. Talk has already begun to circulate regarding a Heisman campaign for Snell. He is one of only four SEC players since 2000 to rush for 500 yards and seven TDs in the first four games of the season. The others found their ways, respectively, into the NFL—including Leonard Fournette. Snell’s future is sparkling bright, and Kentucky simply goes as far as he carries them (literally) this season. With Snell already having rushed 87 times in four games, the offense is as centered around him as it possibly could be.
That is not to say the Wildcats do not possess a passing game, but starting quarterback Terry Wilson has already thrown four interceptions despite running many short pass plays and maintaining a still-good 67.1 percent completion ratio. Lynn Bowden Jr has done most of his work for him, catching 20 passes for 200 yards and a TD, while David Bouvier ranks No. 2 on the team with 91 yard and a team-high two receiving touchdowns.
To top it off, kicker Miles Butler has only missed one field goal on the season (though he has attempted just three) and has connected on 18 of 18 PATs. All the pieces seem to be falling into place for Kentucky to make a historic run for its program, and although it likely loses Snell to the NFL after this season, the program is on the ascent at most positions and it will hope No. 2 back Terry Wilson, a sophomore, is ready to assume a larger role. Wilson averages over five yards-per-carry in his own right, but Snell sees the majority of the touches, and that is unlikely to change as Kentucky continues to roll.
South Carolina is 2-1 on the season with wins over Coastal Carolina and Vanderbilt in Weeks 1 and 4. Week 2 brought a 17-41 loss to the Georgia Bulldogs, and its week 3 game against Marshall was canceled. The Gamecocks are a pass-heavy team, but it has plenty of balance this season with a few talented backfield performed that average a collective 196.7 yards per game (no. 50).
Its pass offense is ranked No. 35 at 279 yards per game, as Jake Bentley has done a stellar job in utilizing a talented trio of receivers. Bentley has thrown for 780 yards at a 68.3 percent clip with six TDs and three interceptions. Rico Dowdle averages 5.6 yards-per-carry while leading the team with 235 yards and a team-tying best two touchdowns. No. 2 back Ty’Son Williams averages more yards-per-carry (6.5) but has seen roughly half the touches that Dowdle has thus far.