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Mark Stoops hopes better week of practice will “pay some dividends”

Mark Stoops says his team had a good week of practice preparing for South Carolina. (Vicky Graff Photo)

By LARRY VAUGHT

The last two times Kentucky has gone to South Carolina to play football, the Cats have won. Kentucky will be back in Columbia Saturday night hoping to end a two-game losing streak and get its first Southeastern Conference win of the season.

“I have great respect for the atmosphere. I think it’s fantastic,” Kentucky coach Mark Stoops said Thursday about this weekend’s game. “You have to give their fan base credit. It’s an electric atmosphere.

“Every year it’s a different year. I was proud of the way our team handled it the last time we were there, because we did face some adversity early and gave them an opportunity to get that place rocking — exactly what you try not to do. But our team overcame that and fought our way back through the end of the first quarter and in the second quarter as well.

“But this is a new year. But it’s a great atmosphere, just like many of the places we go on the road in the SEC.”

Kentucky didn’t fare well at Mississippi State last week because of a slow start and missed scoring opportunities. Stoops said practice this week hopefully has his team ready to play South Carolina, a team it has defeated five straight times.

“I just felt like our guys, we had their attention. They were very attentive and trying the best we can to be locked in and have a solid week,” Stoops said. “As I’ve said many times, everybody wants to win on Saturday. It’s about what we’re doing on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday.

“I felt like we had a better week. Hopefully it’ll pay some dividends.”

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