First Road Trip Takes Kentucky to Cowbell Country
Kentucky hits the road for the first time this season, traveling to Mississippi State on Saturday looking to get back on track. The game is set for a 4 p.m. ET kickoff and will air on the SEC Network.
The Wildcats are coming off a tough loss to No. 9 Florida, leading for much of the game before the Gators mounted a fourth quarter rally and survived after UK missed a potential game-winning field goal in the final minute. The defeat ending a five-game winning streak for UK.
The trip to Starkville will be headlined by quarterback Sawyer Smith, who was mostly excellent in his first start for the Cats last weekend, throwing for 267 yards and two touchdowns while routinely making strong throws to his stable of receivers. The Cats also continue to run the ball effectively behind a veteran, talented offensive line.
A defense looking for new stars to emerge after the departure of Josh Allen and the entire secondary has been solid as it incorporates a youth movement. The front seven has been very good against the run and kept Florida’s speed in check despite a long scoring run in the closing seconds.
Cat Scratches: Motivation Aplenty for Cats, Dogs after Losses
Kentucky emptied its tank against Florida last weekend.
The Wildcats spent the ensuing week making sure they are refueled and ready to go for another important Southeastern Conference tilt on Saturday.
“With this, moving on to Mississippi State, we don’t have much time to dwell on it,” Mark Stoops said. “It’s next man up, next battle, next punch, next time to get another opportunity against a quality team on the road.”
Indeed, Kentucky will hit the road for the first time this season after playing its first three games at Kroger Field. The Wildcats are headed to take on the Bulldogs – the SEC West foe they face annually – at 4 p.m. on Saturday at Davis Wade Stadium.
Of course, the venue for Saturday’s game presents unique challenges, as Mississippi State fans will be ringing those infamous cowbells at every opportunity. In practice this week, UK has piped in noise to simulate the environment…Read More
|Kentucky at Mississippi State
|Sat., Sept. 21 – 4 p.m. ET
Davis Wade Stadium
Game Notes: UK | MSU
Digital Gameday Program
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Heat Advisory in Starkville on Saturday
With warm temperatures expected Saturday, Mississippi State Athletics has a number of measures in place to help ensure the safety and well-being of fans attending the MSU-Kentucky football game in Davis Wade Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 3 p.m. To avoid delays with security screening prior to entering the stadium, fans are strongly encouraged to arrive at gates in advance of 45 minutes prior to kickoff…Read More
On the Road Again
• One of the hallmarks of the last two seasons under Coach Mark Stoops has been the team’s ability to win on the road.
• In each of the past two seasons, Kentucky has posted a 3-2 record in away games at the opponent stadium (does not include neutral site games). Not including neutral site games, it is the first time UK had a winning away record in consecutive years since 1952 and 1953, when the Wildcats went 3-2-1 and 2-1-1, respectively, in those two seasons.
• Kentucky also has a chance to make a bit of history this week at Mississippi State. If the Wildcats can win, it would be the third straight season that UK has won its away opener, also 2017 at Southern Mississippi and 2018 at Florida. Not including neutral site games, the last time UK won its away openers in three straight years was 1940-42 with triumphs at Xavier in 1940, at Washington and Lee in 1941, and at Xavier in’42.
Scouting Mississippi State
• Mississippi State coach Joe Moorhead is in his second season at Mississippi State.
• The Bulldogs are 2-1 on the season and 10-6 during Moorhead’s time as head coach.
• Moorhead won 38 games in four seasons as a head coach at Fordham, leading the Rams to their first winning season in five years and FCS playoff berths each of his final three seasons.
• More than half of the Mississippi State roster is homegrown.
• The Bulldogs suffered their first loss of the season last week, dropping a 31-24 decision to Kansas State in Starkville in a tightly contested affair.
• The Bulldogs held K-State to just 269 total offensive yards and significantly outgained them but a 100-yard kickoff return for a score tied the game in the fourth quarter and helped allow the Wildcats to escape with a win.
• Starting QB Tommy Stevens had to leave the game and freshman Garrett Shrader entered, rushing for 82 yards and a score on 10 carries. He completed 4-of-12 passes for 51 yards.
• Running back Kylin Hill has churned out 431 rushing yards and six touchdowns through three games. He leads the SEC by a wide margin with 143.7 yards per game on the ground, 30 more than the next best average in the conference.
• Receiver Osirus Mitchell leads the Bulldogs with 13 receptions for 208 yards and three scores.
• State is averaging 224.0 yards rushing on the season.
• Safety Brian Cole II has been excellent in pressuring the football, leading State with 5.5 tackles for loss and two sacks.
• The Bulldogs have forced 10 turnovers (three INT, seven fumbles) in three games.
Series vs. Mississippi State
• The all-time series is tied at 23 victories apiece.
• The Cats have won two of the past three meetings after a seven-game losing streak in the series.
• Mississippi State leads 14-7 in games played in Starkville, including the last four dating to 2010.
• Kentucky won 28-7 in Lexington last season.
• It was UK’s first win over a ranked Mississippi State team since 1953.
• UK coach Mark Stoops is 2-4 vs. the Bulldogs during his tenure.
• The teams met for the first time in 1914 and have squared off each of the past 29 seasons
• Mississippi State is UK’s permanent crossover foe from the SEC West.
• The Wildcats won eight straight matchups from 1958 to 1990.
• Only two of the previous eight meetings have been decided by a touchdown or less with the average margin of victory being 16.5 points.
• In last season’s win, UK rushed for 229 yards and four scores while holding Mississippi State to 56 yards on the ground. Benny Snell Jr. rang up 165 yards and all four rushing touchdowns on 25 carries, while A.J. Rose added 47 yards and nine attempts.
• Linebacker Boogie Watson and defensive end Calvin Taylor Jr. each had a sack in the game.
Kentucky-Mississippi State Connections
• Kentucky has one player from the state of Mississippi: CB Brandin Echols of Southhaven.
• Mississippi State does not have a player on its roster from Kentucky.
• Mississippi State cornerbacks coach Terrell Buckley was on the Florida State staff at the same time as Mark Stoops, serving a role with the weight room staff in 2010 and 2011.
• MSU athletics director John Cohen was the head baseball coach at Kentucky from 2004-08.
A UK Win Would…
• Give the Wildcats their second-straight win over the Bulldogs and three wins in the past four years over their permanent SEC West rival.
• Be the Cats’ first win in Starkville since 2008, a 14-13 victory.
• Make UK 6-4 in its past ten SEC games.
• Push the Cats’ record over the last 17 games to 13-4.
• Improve UK’s record in August and September over the past six seasons to 20-6.
• Give UK its third-straight win in its first away game of the season. The last time UK won three straight away game openers (not including neutral sites) was 1940-42.