Spencer Rattler tossed a pair of touchdown passes to Xavier Legette to lift host South Carolina to a 17-14 victory over Kentucky on Saturday in Columbia, S.C.
Rattler completed 19 of 27 passes for 207 yards, with Legette reeling in six catches for 94 yards.
The Gamecocks (5-6, 3-5 Southeastern Conference) have won three in a row to move to the fringe of becoming bowl eligible. South Carolina would accomplish that feat should it defeat Palmetto State rival Clemson on Nov. 25.
Devin Leary completed 17 of 34 passes for 171 yards and one touchdown, and Ray Davis rushed for 61 yards and a score for the Wildcats (6-5, 3-5), who have lost five of their last six games.
The combination of Rattler and Legette allowed South Carolina to open the scoring midway into the first quarter and allow the Gamecocks to regain the lead with 7:44 remaining in the fourth. The pair hooked up over the middle to give South Carolina a 17-14 lead, with the touchdown reception serving as Legette’s seventh of the season and fourth in the last three games.
Leary was hit as he threw, resulting in an easy interception for Tonka Hemingway with just over two minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. Kentucky got the ball back, however Hemingway deflected Leary’s pass to turn the ball over on downs.
Rattler connected with Legette on a 13-yard touchdown pass with 7:27 remaining in the first quarter. Legette’s touchdown capped an 11-play, 69-yard drive that spanned 5 minutes, 11 seconds.
Mitch Jeter’s 23-yard field goal upped South Carolina’s advantage to 10-0 late in the first quarter, however Leary found Barion Brown for a 7-yard score with 10:52 left in the second.
Kentucky claimed its first lead as Davis rushed past the first and second levels of the defense before using a spin move to create space to complete his 31-yard touchdown. Davis’ 12th rushing touchdown of the season gave the Wildcats a 14-10 lead with 8:42 remaining in the third quarter.