Kentucky, South Carolina try and break through

Updated: October 8, 2003, 4:49 PM ET

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Kentucky and South Carolina both had a week off to improve technique, heal their injuries and reflect on what might have been.

The Wildcats (2-3, 0-2 Southeastern Conference) take on the Gamecocks (3-2, 0-2) on Thursday night at Williams-Brice Stadium. Both could've come in on major highs from their last games. Instead, both will try and jump start their seasons after disappointing losses.

Kentucky linebacker Chad Anderson didn't think he could be more disappointed in his team's fourth-quarter fade against Florida on Sept. 27. Then he found out Mississippi pulled off a 20-17 at The Swamp last week.

"Stuff like that just makes me think, 'What are we not doing to take care of the win?" Anderson said.

South Carolina players might ask themselves the same thing. Despite outplaying Tennessee throughout, the Gamecocks fell 23-20 in overtime at Neyland Stadium two weeks ago.

Gamecocks quarterback Dondrial Pinkins said there was some small satisfaction watching Tennessee lose to Auburn last Saturday.

"I wish it would've been a week earlier, though," he said.

Even during the long break between games, Anderson says he and his teammates couldn't escape the questions. They led Florida 21-3 through three quarters and appeared on the way to a stunning victory. But the Gators got three touchdowns to post yet another win over Kentucky.

"You just look at the game film and you try and figure out what are doing that is making us not win the fourth quarter," Anderson said. "Everybody at the game was like, 'I'd rather have gotten blown out 55-3 than lose 24-21."

South Carolina coach Lou Holtz gave his team until the Monday morning after the Tennessee loss to get past it. He's rarely spoken about the defeat since, focusing the off week on fundamentals.

Gamecocks cornerback Dunta Robinson says the attention to details should help in all games -- and especially those against big-time opponents.

"If we make the correct blocks and do the things that we know we're capable of doing, then we'll be fine," Robinson said.

Kentucky's first-year coach, Rich Brooks, says the Wildcats can't afford to let down against anyone else if they hope to make a bowl.

"We're running out of games where we can make up for it in the future," Brooks said. "We need to step to the plate here."

This story is from ESPN.com's automated news wire. Wire index