Gamecocks roll past Kentucky after sloppy 1st half

LEXINGTON, KY (WIS) - Thirty minutes is how long it took for South Carolina to pick it up and play smart scoring 31 unanswered points for a 38-17 victory against Kentucky on Saturday night.

In 2010, the No. 10 Gamecocks, coming off a win over No. 1 Alabama in Columbia, headed up to Lexington in what was expected to be an easy victory. Kentucky stunned South Carolina 31-28.

In 2012, after a convincing win at home against the Missouri Tigers, the No. 6 Gamecocks made sure history did not repeat itself, but it didn't look good early on.

The Wildcats, after losing to Western Kentucky in overtime two weeks ago and getting blanked by the Florida Gators last week, hoped to gain the upper hand on the Gamecocks early in the game and they did.

Kentucky's quarterback, Maxwell Smith, who missed the Florida game last week thanks to a separated shoulder, left the game early when he injured his ankle in the first half. Freshman Jalen Winslow would replace him.

It became evident early on when the Wildcats stuffed Connor Shaw on a 4th and 1 at the one-inch line and D.L. Moore dropped a pass in the end zone that things weren't going USC's way.

After a Wildcat field goal in the first quarter, Shaw connected with Ace Sanders for an easy 3-yard touchdown putting the Gamecocks up 7-3 in the second.

Kentucky stormed right back with two unanswered touchdowns to give them a 17-7 halftime lead.

The Gamecocks gave up just their second red zone touchdown and first rushing touchdown all season.

Before going into the locker room at the half, a visibly upset Spurrier said, "If they don't start playing smart, they're going to have problems."

The Gamecocks came out in 3rd quarter and began to handle business like a top ranked team, scoring on 5 of 6 possessions.

Marcus Lattimore ran for two touchdowns and Connor Shaw passed for another, hitting Damiere Byrd for 30 yards in the second half.

Shaw finished 15 of 18 for 148 yards as the Gamecocks (5-0, 3-0 Southeastern Conference) moved into a tie with Florida and Georgia atop the East division.

Lattimore rushed for 120 yards on 23 carries and Kenny Miles added a 17-yard score for South Carolina.

"We just weren't executing the first half. If we had executed, we would have scored," Lattimore said. "We came out with a different focus. The ball bounced their way a lot tonight. We just had to run the ball a little bit more."

"Two different halves," said Spurrier after the win. "Our guys really played the second half. They almost ran off and left us in the first half."

The Gamecocks return home on Saturday to host an SEC East showdown with the undefeated Georgia Bulldogs. The game is at 7 p.m.

Copyright 2012 WIS All rights reserved. The Associated Press and The Big Spur contributed to this report.