No. 18 South Carolina 54, Kentucky 3
COLUMBIA -- Alshon Jeffery saw it coming, noticing the vintage pep in South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier's step and approach to practice.
"When the week started, he told us we were going to throw a lot," said Jeffery, the Gamecocks' All-Southeastern Conference receiver. "He said we were going to air it out. That's what I expected."
In a rout reminiscent of Spurrier's glory days at Florida, new USC starting quarterback Connor Shaw threw four touchdown passes and the No. 18 Gamecocks amassed 639 yards Saturday in a 54-3 SEC victory over Kentucky before an announced crowd of 75,838 at Williams-Brice Stadium.
Shaw matched demoted quarterback Stephen Garcia's season total for TD passes and didn't throw an interception. He had plenty of help from his friends and coaches -- and from Kentucky.
The Gamecocks (5-1, 3-1 SEC) held Kentucky (2-4, 0-3) to 96 yards. South Carolina intercepted four passes.
Ideal medicine for the week following a 16-13 upset loss to Auburn that knocked the Gamecocks off a No. 10 perch.
"If we were really sharp today," Spurrier said of South Carolina's widest margin of victory in an SEC game, "we could have scored 70 or 80 points. But 50 was enough."
In the game within the game -- Shaw vs. doubters -- the sophomore from Flowery Branch, Ga., made the most of his second chance to start. Shaw completed 26 of 39 passes for 311 yards, way better than the season-opening start against East Carolina in September in which Shaw was benched for Garcia in the second quarter.
"I was a little anxious," Shaw said. "I thought I had a really good week of preparation and it made me feel good coming into this game. It was a good win. It was a division win. But we have to move on."
No doubt Shaw will start next week when South Carolina plays at Mississippi State.
Shaw was asked if he thought the Gamecocks are now his team.
"I think so," he said. "I think the team rallied behind me a little bit."
Shaw officially got the starting job (again) Monday. Garcia, a fifth-year player and third-year starter, led major college quarterbacks with nine interceptions over the first five games.
Jeffery had his best game since South Carolina's 45-42 win at Georgia on Sept. 10, with six catches for 95 yards and two touchdowns.
Running back Marcus Lattimore rushed for 102 yards on 22 carries. Former Berkeley High School standout Bruce Ellington scored on a 61-yard run from the Wildcat formation.
Kentucky has scored only two touchdowns in its three SEC games, including a 48-10 loss to Florida and a 35-7 loss at LSU.
"Ugly is how you can describe it," Kentucky coach Joker Phillips said of Saturday's game.