COLUMBIA – The calendar reads October, but the weather at Williams-Brice Stadium sure feels like summer.

As South Carolina and Kentucky players began pregame warmups, temperatures were near 90 degrees. A short walk to the stadium is enough to make you sweat.

Good thing it’s a night game.

Under the lights, the soaring temperatures are supposed to eventually drop into the 60s tonight. By then, the No. 13 Gamecocks hope to be well on their way to a blowout win, which would be their third straight victory. USC is a 22-point favorite against Kentucky, one point more than it opened the week.

Theoretically, USC could win tonight by four or five touchdowns. To do that, the Gamecocks will have to finish the game, something they’ve struggled doing this season.

In its past two games, USC has given up the final 15 points. It was good enough to beat Vanderbilt and Central Florida, and it will likely be good enough to beat Kentucky. Still, the Gamecocks need to address their issues before starting a monstrous, three-game road trip next week.

USC’s official dress list offered little surprise. Quarterback Connor Shaw will start tonight after spraining his right, throwing shoulder at UCF. As expected, sophomore receiver Shaq Roland will miss this game and next week’s trip to Arkansas with an unspecified suspension.

The only eyebrow-raising absence from the official roster was center Cody Waldrop, who has a sprained ankle. Steve Spurrier said earlier in the week Waldrop could play with the ankle injury, but Clayton Stadnik has been good in relief. Stadnik will start tonight, allowing Waldrop to rest for the road trip.

Make sure to follow me on Twitter (@rwood_SC) for all your in-game updates for USC’s game against Kentucky. As always, check back at PostandCourier.com for full coverage, including a halftime live chat.