COLOUMBIA, SC (WLTX) - A little bit of time has passed and the South Carolina (2-1, 1-1 SEC) picture, being shot by Will Muschamp, is starting to come into focus.
After their 20-15 win over East Carolina in their home opener last Saturday Muschamp named freshman quarterback Brandon McIlwain the starter. With him at the helm the passing and running game will get a boost. The dual-threat quarterback has made a variety of plays on the move and the offense gets a jumpstart when they play with tempo which suits McIlwain as well.
The offense's 20 points is the highest output all season. There could be more points for the Gamecocks on Saturday. They face the Kentucky Wildcats (1-2, 0-1 SEC) who are allowing an SEC high 43 points per contest.
McIlwain's teammates are confident in him and everyone could see success in an offense that is gaining continuity while going against a team that is still figuring things out defensively.
The tight ends, Hayden Hurst and KC Crosby, could also get more looks on Saturday. Crosby is all for it. He commented on how the offense looks after today's practice.
"It's electric. People haven't seen the best of it yet. When we first getting going full speed people are going to be like where did the offense come from?"
We have a good sense of how the USC defense will operate. They keep things in front of them and get fierce when opponents enter the redzone.
USC had a season high four turnovers with three coming in the redzone ending promising drives from East Carolina.
East Carolina averages 42 points per game but only managed 15 against South Carolina. That game could prep the defense for another high powered offense.
Kentucky, who won their first game of the year, a 62-42 win over New Mexico State,has a standout running back in Stanley "Boom" Williams and a big play receiver in Jeff Badet.
Badet leads the nation in yards per reception (34). Williams gets about 113 yards on the ground per game which is fourth best in the SEC.
The Wildcats are sixth in the country in yards per play (18.4). But USC is fourth in the SEC in scoring defense (17.3 pg) and sixth in passing defense allowing 222 yards a game and they held the Pirates to 5.7 yards per play.
Look for the defense to carry their performance at home into Commonwealth Stadium. Muschamp is expecting that given that Gamecocks lost 14-27 to Mississippi State in their last road game.
"Well we need to play better than we did last time and that's the bottom line. That was kind of my message to our guys. We talk in terms of every time we have a team meeting we talk about winning the (SEC) East and this is an Eastern division opponent and somebody we're going to be playing every single year," Muschamp said. "We need to play better. The last time we played on the road we didn't represent South Carolina very well in my opinion as far as our effort was concerned."
Other notable things in this matchup is that South Carolina leads the all time series 17-9-1 over Kentucky but the Wildcats have won the last two games. However, Muschamp is 4-0 against Kentucky as a head coach.
This will be the Gamecocks third road game in four weeks before coming back to the Brice for a five game homestand and a bye week.
Kick-off is Saturday night at 7:30 ET in Lexington, Kentucky.