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Kentucky-South Carolina Five Factors Review

This was a close game, no doubt about it.

Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

I ran short on time to do as many of these reviews as I wanted, so this one will be abbreviated. The data is all here, but there will be fewer words between the tables.

This review is based on the Five Factors of winning, and I didn't include Kentucky's final drive when it was just trying to run out the clock in any of the below. Also, sacks count as pass plays.


Team Runs 10+ Pct. Passes 20+ Pct. Explosive Pct.
Kentucky 5 16.7% 2 7.4% 12.1%
South Carolina 6 18.8% 4 13.8% 16.4%

Both teams gave up a decent percentage, but South Carolina wins this one thanks to big passing plays.


The main measure here is success rate. Watch this short video if you need to brush up on it.

Team Run SR Pass SR Overall SR Red Zone SR
Kentucky 46.7% 32.1% 39.7% 53.3%
South Carolina 56.3% 41.4% 49.2% 33.3%

If it felt during the game that South Carolina was more effective with the run, then your feeling was correct. UK's second half follies pushed its overall efficiency down.

Team 1Q SR 2Q SR 3Q SR 4Q SR
Kentucky 52.4% 47.6% 0.0% 28.6%
South Carolina 42.9% 53.8% 50.0% 53.3%

UK sabotaged itself on the first play of drives in the third quarter. Two began with holding penalties to set up 1st-and-20, and then Patrick Towles held onto a mesh point far too long and created a fumble after those. Even after the Wildcats quit shooting themselves in the foot on first down, they still weren't terribly effective after intermission.

Efficiency by Player

Player Comp. Pct. Pass Eff. Yards/Att Sacks Pass SR
Patrick Towles 70.4% 121.1 6.9 1 32.1%
Connor Mitch 57.1% 108.7 6.1 1 25.0%
Perry Orth 65.0% 146.7 9.0 1 47.6%

Combine this with Mitch's rough performance against UNC and it was probably only a matter of time before Orth got a shot at the job. I keep waiting to see Towles make the jump from a "good by Kentucky standards" quarterback to a just plain good quarterback, but even after this one, I'm still waiting.

Player Targets Catches Yards Yards/Target SR
Dorian Baker 7 5 55 7.9 42.9%
Jeff Badet 4 3 65 16.3 50.0%
Garrett Johnson 4 4 37 9.3 75.0%
Stanley Williams 4 4 23 5.8 25.0%
Jojo Kemp 2 1 0 0.0 0.0%
Mikel Horton 1 1 5 5.0 0.0%
Ryan Timmons 1 1 2 2.0 0.0%
C.J. Conrad 1 0 0 0.0 0.0%

The numbers confirm what the eye test said: Jeff Badet had a fantastic game.

Player Targets Catches Yards Yards/Target SR
Pharoh Cooper 12 9 100 8.3 41.7%
Jerell Adams 5 3 52 10.4 60.0%
Brandon Wilds 4 2 22 5.5 25.0%
Deebo Samuel 2 1 10 5.0 50.0%
Carlton Heard 1 1 31 31.0 100.0%
Jacob August 1 1 7 7.0 100.0%
Shamier Jeffery 1 0 0 0.0 0.0%

Going to Cooper so much isn't a shock, and Adams is a nice tight end option. We're still waiting for a second receiver to step up alongside Cooper.

Player Carries YPC Rushing SR
Jojo Kemp 13 6.0 53.8%
Stanley Williams 11 6.5 27.3%
Mikel Horton 2 10.0 100.0%
Patrick Towles 2 1.0 100.0%
Sihiem King 1 1.0 0.0%

Williams may have been the more effective receiver, but Kemp was the more effective runner in this one. Williams had three big runs of 24, 17, and 13 yards, respectively, but they were his only success plays on the night.

Player Carries YPC Rushing SR
Brandon Wilds 16 6.6 62.5%
David Williams 5 3.6 0.0%
Shon Carson 5 7.2 60.0%
Connor Mitch 3 5.0 100.0%
Lorenzo Nunez 2 20.0 100.0%

If you were second guessing having Cooper rather than Wilds carry it on the two-point conversion attempt, feel free to continue—especially given that the Wilds-cat had already been proven effective. Also, Carson looked great in limited duty against UNC. He looked good again here. Why didn't he get more touches?

Field Position

Team Avg. Starting Position Plays in Opp. Territory Pct. Of Total
Kentucky Own 23 25 43.1%
South Carolina Own 35 27 44.3%

The Gamecocks enjoyed an noticeable edge here. A 12-yard advantage averaged out over ten drives is more than an entire field's worth of yards.

Finishing Drives

Team Drives Trips Inside 40 Points Red Zone Trips Points
Kentucky 10 4 24 4 24
South Carolina 11 7 22 5 16

South Carolina won explosiveness, efficiency, and field position. The teams (spoilers) tied on turnovers. So how did Kentucky win? When UK had chances to score, it got touchdowns. When South Carolina had chances to score, it kicked field goal attempts.


Both Towles and Orth tossed an interception. Both were pretty bad. Towles's miscue got returned to the one and turned into a touchdown for Carolina. Orth's killed what turned out to be his team's final drive.


This feels like a less extreme example of Arkansas's loss to Toledo. Carolina won most of the factors and still lost because it couldn't finish drives. Kentucky is better than Toledo, of course, so I'm not saying these things were the same. I am saying that this wasn't a convincing win for UK, and the scoreboard agrees.