Three quick things from Kentucky’s 38-17 loss to South Carolina:
1. Jalen Whitlow showed promise. The true freshman quarterback was pressed into duty early when starter Maxwell Smith suffered an injured ankle on UK’s second offensive play. It didn’t seem to phase Whitlow. The Alabama native showed athletic ability, a good arm and some decent poise in the first half. After some halftime adjustments, South Carolina did a much better job of making Whitlow show his youth in the second half. He was intercepted twice and got very little going. But he showed in the first half why the coaches moved him up to No. 2 on the depth chart behind Smith.
2. UK’s defense wore down. Joker Phillips complemented South Carolina’s “patience” to stick with the running game in the second half. Being down 17-7 at the half, Steve Spurier could have had his team come out winging it in the second half. Winging it is not USC’s strength. Instead, the Head Ball Coach had Connor Shaw turn and give the ball to Marcus Lattimore, who finished with 120 yards on 23 carries and two touchdowns. The strategy worked as Carolina outscored Kentucky 31-0 in the second half.
3. The announced attendance was 49,180, the lowest for an SEC game since Commonwealth Stadium was expanded in 1999. Much of the fan base has made up its mind about Joker Phillips and his staff. It’s doubtful that the promise of the first half will get many of the disgruntled back in the seats. Victories are what grab attention.