Through my camera lens: the Kentucky-South Carolina football rivalry

Dr. Michael Huang scours his photo archives to bring you some of his favorite moments in his Though My Camera Lens series.

From 2000 to 2009, there wasn’t much of a rivalry, as South Carolina owned the series, winning 10 straight times.  Starting in 2010, the rivalry has heated up with Kentucky winning 5 of the past 8 meetings, including the past 4 games. I’ve been on the sidelines with my camera for many of the games, so here is Dr. Mike’s brief pictorial history of the recent rivalry between the Cats and the Cocks.

The game played on October 16, 2010 in an electric Commonwealth Stadium was a classic.  Kentucky had gone 0 for Spurrier in the past, losing to the Ol’ Ball Coach 17 consecutive times.  But on this night, Kentucky broke that streak along with the 10 game losing streak to South Carolina, and I was there to catch the action.

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South Carolina took a 28-10 halftime lead behind a seemingly unstoppable Marcus Lattimore. But Lattimore sprained his ankle early in the second half, allowing Kentucky to get back into the game.

 

The raucous Kentucky crowd, hungry for a long-overdue win against Spurrier, helped keep Kentucky in the game.

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Randall Cobb caught the go-ahead TD pass, then scored on a 2 point conversion rush to give UK 31-28 win.

The next year was a totally different story. On October 8, 2011, Kentucky traveled to Columbia and was thoroughly manhandled 54-3 in the most lopsided game in series history.2011-12482011-12212011-1647I was tremendously impressed by the atmosphere in my first trip to Williams Brice Stadium. The Gamecocks were ready to play.  Sadly, the Wildcats were not.

2011-14992011-18702011-1758Spurrier, Clowney and the South Carolina crew absolutely clobbered the Cats.

2011-48742011-5111Danny Trevathan was not happy leaving the field, and neither was UK athletics director Mitch Barnhart. If a picture tells a thousand words, the look on Mitch’s face says it all.

Back in Lexington on September 29, 2012 Kentucky was slightly more competitive, but still came up on the short end of the score, 38-17 in Joker Phillips’ last season as UK Head Coach.

 

Not even the great Kentucky crowd could will the team to victory.

 

Kentucky shot out to a 17-7 halftime lead, but surrendered 31 unanswered points in the second to lose in a deflating fashion.

2013 brought new hope to the Wildcats, in the form of first year head coach Mark Stoops.  Kentucky made a furious rally but fell short 35-28 at South Carolina.

The series returned to Commonwealth on October 4, 2014 with UK looking to avenge 3 straight losses to Carolina.

2014-34472014-3848Once again the crowd was fired up for a night blackout game, with Backstreet Boy Kevin Richardson whooping it up on the Kentucky sideline.

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Former Cat and current Green Bay Packer Randall Cobb was in attendance.

2014-36752014-3407Jo Jo Kemp had a career night, rushing for 131 yards and 3 TDs.

2014-3781Kentucky pulled out another win against Spurrier that must’ve got him starting to think about retirement.

 

The goal posts came down, fans rushed the field, and Matt Elam was all smiles.

2014-1046The win gave an excited Mark Stoops his first signature SEC win.

Kentucky traveled to South Carolina on Sept 23, 2015 and won an impressive game on the road 26-22 behind Boom Williams’ 107 yards rushing and 23 yards receiving.  The win broke the Cats’ 22 game SEC road losing streak. Unfortunately, I didn’t make the trip.

On Sept 24, 2016, Kentucky again beat Carolina and new coach Will Muschamp for their third consecutive win in the series on September 24, 2016.

 

It was another fun night game in the series with another good crowd.

2016-95872016-0097Boom Williams broke loose for a 43-yard TD on his way to 123 yards.

 

The defense made big plays.

2016-0063Rich Brooks was inducted into the UK Hall of Fame at halftime.

2016-0327Stephen Johnson was a steadying force in his first SEC start.

2016-5706The Jordan Jones star was born.

2016-0677And Benny Snell, who scored the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter, flashed his pearly whites for me as we left the field after the win.

Last year, I traveled to Columbia and witnessed the Cats shock the Gamecocks 23-13.

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The raucous Williams-Brice stadium crowd was expecting a big South Carolina victory.

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The Cats fell behind early, but recovered and made some critical plays to secure the victory.  The defense came up big, with Jamar Watson and Derrick Baity stopping Gamecock tailback Rico Dowdle cold on fourth and goal from the 1.

I’m excited to see what Saturday in Lexington brings, as I’ll be shooting the game for Kentucky Sports Radio.  Let’s hope Kentucky moves to 5-0 on the season, and 5-0 against South Carolina the past 5 years. GO CATS! Hope to see you there.

 

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