LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) -- Fourth-string quarterback Michael Rathe
threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to Troy Williamson with 1:28 left,
lifting South Carolina to a 12-7 win over Kentucky on Saturday
South Carolina, in the Top 25 a week ago, narrowly avoided its
second straight loss. The Gamecocks (5-2, 3-2 Southeastern
Conference) fell to Mississippi last Saturday.
South Carolina committed five turnovers, one more than Kentucky
(1-5, 0-3 SEC). The Wildcats have lost four straight.
Rathe, a senior who had appeared in only two games this season
and completed only one pass, entered with 6:29 left and the
Gamecocks trailing 7-6. He was 5-of-7 for 57 yards on the 88-yard
drive, and received two breaks on the incompletions, as Kentucky's
Vincent Burns and Mike Williams each dropped potential
On the touchdown pass -- his first in two seasons at South
Carolina -- Rathe rolled to his right and lobbed the football to
Williamson to the back corner of the end zone. Williamson leaped to
make the catch and barely got both feet down inbounds.
Kentucky quarterback Shane Boyd threw four incompletions on the
Wildcats' final possession.
Kentucky's 23-play touchdown drive consumed 11 minutes, 54
seconds and came after South Carolina punter Josh Brown pinned the
Wildcats at their own 6. On the drive, Kentucky converted six times
on third down and had only three plays of 10 yards or more.
The Wildcats avoided disaster when Gerad Parker recovered a
fumble by tailback Tony Dixon at the South Carolina 37 on the first
play of the fourth quarter.
Alexis Bwenge scored on a 2-yard run with 9:52 left, and Taylor
Begley's extra point put Kentucky ahead 7-6.
Kentucky took over at the South Carolina 40 after an
interception by freshman Marcus McClinton, but couldn't manage a
first down and punted. South Carolina then drove for its only
South Carolina emerged from an error-filled first half -- the
teams combined for six turnovers -- with a 6-0 lead thanks to two
second-quarter field goals by Brown.
Kentucky reached the South Carolina 31 late in the first
quarter, but Boyd threw incomplete on third-and-1 and Begley was
well short on a 49-yard field-goal attempt.
Brown's first field goal, a career-high 43-yarder, came one play
after the Gamecocks -- already without starting quarterback Dondrial
Pinkins, who has missed two games with a shoulder injury -- lost his
replacement, Syvelle Newton, when Newton sprained his left ankle
while being sacked.
Blake Mitchell relieved Newton and played until Rathe entered
the game for the Gamecocks' touchdown drive.
Boyd lost two fumbles in the half; the second, at the Kentucky
35, led to a 20-yard field goal by Brown.