Heading into the land of the cowbells in Starkville the Kentucky football team looked to end a three-game losing streak. In addition, Mark Stoops was attempting to break a couple of more streaks. Riding a strong defensive effort the Wildcats got the job done. Let’s break it down as Kentucky Beats Mississippi State 24-3.
A Quick Start
With Bulldog starting quarterback Will Rogers out again due to a shoulder injury Zach Arnett’s club turned to backup Mike Wright under center. If that name sends shivers down the Big Blue Nation’s spine there’s a good reason. That’s because a year ago when at Vanderbilt he led the Commodores to an upset win in Lexington breaking a 26-game SEC losing streak.
Fortunately, there was no repeat on Saturday night. Following a three and out on their first possession the Wildcats drove 62 yards in eight plays. The big gain came on a 37-yard pass from Devin Leary to Tayvion Robinson. A four-yard strike from Leary to Demi Sumo-Karngbaye put the Cats up 7-0.
Following a trading of punts Mississippi State put up a 20-play 88-yard drive which took up over 12 minutes. However, Brad White’s defense held resulting in a Kyle Ferrie 25-yard field goal. On the Bulldogs’ next possession D’Eryk Jackson off White and took it 26 yards to the house and it was 14-3.
UK closed out the half with a four-yard touchdown from Leary to Dane Key and it was 21-3. Leary was an efficient 9-14 for 101 yards and two scores in the half.
Big Night For The Defense
Over Kentucky’s three-game losing streak the group had given up an average of 40 points and 474 yards per game. If you read our game preview, we talked about this had the potential for a bounce-back game for the defense and it was. They held Wright to only 78 yards passing and eventually freshman Chris Parson took over. Overall they held MSU to 218 yards. Put it all together and Kentucky beats Mississippi State 24-3.
It’s the second time in the last four years Kentucky held the Bulldogs without a touchdown. In addition, the three points are the least they’ve allowed in an SEC road game since 1979 when they won 31-3 at Florida.
With the win Kentucky moves to 6-3 on the season and 3-3 in the SEC. In addition, they become bowl-eligible for an eighth straight year, extending Stoops’ school record. We’ll see if their standings improve when Last Word’s newest projections come out on Tuesday. Currently have them in the Birmingham Bowl. Next week the Wildcats have a tough one as they host Alabama who knocked off LSU 42-28.
On the other side of the ball Mississippi State drops to 4-5 on the year and 1-5 in the league. Their bowl hopes took a big hit with the loss to Kentucky. They travel to College Station to face Texas A&M next Saturday.
As we mentioned in the beginning this is a big win for Stoops and the Wildcats. It’s his first win in Starkville after going 0-5 previously. In addition, it’s Kentucky’s first win at Mississippi State since 2008. Furthermore, the UK head man finally broke through to win a road game against an SEC West team. With the divisions going away next year it was their last chance after going 0-11 previously. They made good on it as Kentucky beat Mississippi State 24-3.
After going through some struggles Leary had a second consecutive solid game. He did take a hard hit on a pass to Barion Brown late in the third quarter. He came back for one more series then sat out the rest of the game. Kaiya Sheron helmed the offense as UK did what they usually do when leading late, run the ball.
Another End Of An Era
Last week we talked about how it’s likely Kentucky and Tennessee won’t play every year once the new scheduling takes effect. You can say the same for the Cats and ‘Dawgs. As the permanent opponents from the east and west respectively, the schools have played every year since 1990. They won’t play next year and as the yearly series ends as Kentucky took a 26-25 lead all-time.
Thanks for checking out our recap here at Last Word On College Football as Kentucky Beats Mississippi State 24-3. We’ll be back with an Alabama preview later in the week.