- Associated Press - Sunday, October 5, 2014

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - South Carolina is having a hard time with prosperity this season.

A week after blowing a 20-7 lead and losing 21-20 to Missouri, the Gamecocks collapsed late again in a 45-38 loss at Kentucky Saturday night.

The Gamecocks led 38-24 with 11:45 remaining but quarterback Dylan Thompson threw two late interceptions, the first of which Kentucky defensive end Alvin “Bud” Dupree snagged for a 6-yard return for a touchdown with 2:29 left. Ashely Lowery sealed South Carolina’s second straight loss by picking off Thompson with 1:31 left.

“I’m not going to yell and scream,” South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said. “Everybody saw what happened. They scored more points than we did. They got a deflection and a touchdown, and they beat us.”

The Wildcats (4-1, 2-1 Southeastern Conference) snapped a three-game losing streak to the Gamecocks (3-3, 2-3), whose hopes of winning the SEC Eastern Division took a big hit.

“We have to find a way to do a lot better to try to have a winning season,” Spurrier added. “That’s where we are now. Every game is down to the wire like this except the first one and we’ve won several close ones, and now we’re losing close ones. It is what it is.”

The Gamecocks (3-3, 2-3) appeared to be in control early, racing out to a 14-0 lead but failed to put Kentucky away.

Most of it was due to their failure stop Kentucky running back Jojo Kemp as he took direct snaps out of the Wildcat formation. He had career bests of 131 yards rushing on 17 carries and three TDs.

“My whole (offensive) line was out there, hungry and fighting for every yard I got,” Kemp said.

Kemp also had a hand - literally - in a flea-flicker-style trick play that helped give Kentucky its first lead of the game as Patrick Towles hit Ryan Timmons for a 48-yard touchdown and 24-17 lead in the third quarter.

South Carolina roared back with 21 unanswered points and appeared to have Kentucky on the ropes. But the Gamecocks’ league-worst defense couldn’t stop Kemp before turnovers sent them to their second straight SEC loss.

South Carolina outgained Kentucky 500-447, but all the Gamecocks had to show for it was another loss that had a familiar look.

Losing to Kentucky was even more painful for South Carolina because running back Mike Davis positioned the Gamecocks to win with a career-high 183 yards rushing and three TDs on 23 carries.

The Gamecocks started off with a smash mouth, clock-chewing approach for a 14-0 lead that temporarily quieted some of the crowd on a cool night.

Davis carried much of the load literally, starting South Carolina’s 79-yard, 19-play touchdown march with two runs for 24 yards before capping with a 1-yard run. The Gamecocks rushed 17 times for 70 yards on a possession that used 7:56, following up with a 72-yard TD drive ending with Davis scoring from 2 yards out early in the second quarter.

Elliot Fry added a 31-yard field goal for South Carolina, but by then Kentucky was responding well enough to forge a 17-all tie at halftime.

Kemp’s first TD from 3 yards made it 14-7 and Braylon Heard broke away on the next possession for a 38-yard TD up the middle to bring the Wildcats within 17-14. Just like that, energy returned to Commonwealth Stadium and Austin MacGinnis added to it with a game-tying 47-yard field goal as the first half expired.

MacGinnis’ field goal followed Thompson’s first INT by A.J. Stamps.

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