The Wildcats are in for a rough stretch if Andre’ Woodson plays like he did tonight. The numbers for Woodson don’t look terrible, 23 for 40 for 227 yards, 2 touchdowns and 1 interception, but three crucial mistakes swung the game in South Carolina’s favor.
On Kentucky’s second offensive play, Woodson was sacked and fumbled the ball that was recovered by Linebacker Eric Norwood and returned 19 yards to put the Gamecocks up 7-0. In the 2nd quarter, after marching 44 yards to the 9-yardline, Woodson put up an errant throw under pressure that was picked off by Captain Munnerlyn, just Woodson’s second interception of the season. Then, on the first possession of the second half, while Woodson was being taken down by Casper Brinkley he tried to pass it out in the flat to his fullback, but the pass went backwards and was scooped up by Eric Norwood who returned it 47 yards for his second touchdown.
South Carolina’s defense deserves a lot of credit. South Carolina boasts the number one pass defense in the nation. Coming into the game their defense was giving up just 106.4 pass yards per game. They constantly pressured Woodson who usually handled the pressure well, but the mistakes he did make were huge. Norwood’s two defensive touchdowns were the difference in this game.
The final score is no indication of how well Kentucky’s defense played. South Carolina had just 188 yards of total offense through 3 quarters and in the 3rd quarter they tallied negative 15 yards. Kentucky controlled the line of scrimmage on defense and linebacker Charles Woodyard made numerous big plays. But, in the fourth quarter the Wildcats couldn’t stop South Carolina. Kentucky allowed almost as many yards in the fourth quarter (163) as they did in the first three quarters (163).
Woodson played decent against a very tough defense, but it doesn’t get any easier for Kentucky. Kentucky now has nine days to prepare for the number one team and defense in the country; LSU. Woodson will have another chance to show that he’s deserving of the Heisman hype and that his Wildcats are contenders and not pretenders in the SEC.