COLUMBIA, S.C. — Matt Ruffolo made three field goals to help Kentucky beat South Carolina 16-10 on Saturday night.
Despite its three turnovers, Kentucky (4-0, 2-0 Southeastern Conference) beat South Carolina (2-2, 1-1) for the seventh time in eight years, and set up a collision course toward next week's matchup at home against No. 11 Florida.
Chris Rodriguez Jr. ran for 144 yards on 26 carries for the Wildcats. Will Levis was 15-of-22 passing for 102 yards and threw an interception.
Kavosiey Smoke scored on 15-yard touchdown run on the first series of the game, capping a 12-play, 75-yard drive for Kentucky. Ruffolo's 41-yard field goal to end the second quarter gave the Wildcats a 10-0 lead.
Luke Doty threw a threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Jalen Brooks early in the third quarter for South Carolina. Ruffalo made field goals from 21 and 27 yards before Parker White's 54-yard field goal capped the scoring with 2:31 remaining.
Doty was 17-of-25 passing for 158 yards. Kevin Harris was held to just 38 yards rushing on 12 carries.
South Carolina recovered fumbles on back-to-back Kentucky possessions but couldn’t get any points despite going for it twice on fourth down. Each time, a dropped pass ended the drive.
The Gamecocks’ defense has recovered multiple takeaways in every game but the offense hasn’t been able to take advantage. After scoring 46 points over hapless Eastern Illinois in its opener, South Carolina has a mere 43 points since.
South Carolina: The Gamecocks’ offense continues to sputter, unable to get any kind of rushing attack started despite the presence of Harris and a healthy Doty under center after he was banged up the first three games. The Gamecocks had 216 yards of offense with just 58 yards on the ground against the Wildcats on Saturday.
Kentucky: The Wildcats have sneakily become the third-best program in the SEC East behind Georgia and Florida. It could be an interesting three weeks as Kentucky plays the Bulldogs and Gators to see who goes to Atlanta for the SEC Championship Game.
South Carolina: Hosts Troy next Saturday in the Gamecocks’ third nonconference game of the season.
Kentucky: Hosts No. 11 Florida next Saturday in its fourth home game in five weeks. The Wildcats broke a 31-year losing streak against the Gators in 2018 but have lost the last two in the series.