Thoughts On Thursday: Kentucky Wildcats v. Mississippi State Bulldogs
Kentucky and Mississippi State were not expected to accomplish very much in the SEC this season. Kentucky was picked last in the SEC and Mississippi State was picked 11th out of 14 programs. To date, each program has met pre-season expectations.
Kentucky has had a BRUTAL schedule, including its last four games, all of which were against ranked opponents: Louisville, Florida, South Carolina and Alabama.
As a result, the Wildcats are 1-5 with no conference wins.
Kentucky plays two quarterbacks: Sophomore Maxwell Smith and sophomore Jalen Whitlow. The two have combined for 101 completions, 1209 yards and eight touchdowns. Senior running back Raymond Sanders has accounted for 255 yards and 2 touchdowns.
The areas of concerns for the Wildcats are their offensive line, which has trouble run-blocking, and the defense, which has allowed 29 points per game—34 points per game over their four game losing streak.
Mississippi State has had a slightly easier schedule than the Wildcats. The Bulldogs are 3-3 with all their losses coming against ranked teams Oklahoma State, Auburn and LSU. Mississippi State is looking for its first conference win tonight as well.
Another similarity between these two SEC bottom-feeders is that Mississippi State plays two quarterbacks. Sophomore Dak Prescott gets most of the snaps however, Senior Tyler Russell has seen considerable playing time. The Bulldog combo has thrown for 1271 yards and five touchdowns. Prescott has also run for 457 yards and eight touchdowns. Prescott *IS* the Bulldog offense.
Defensively, MSU allows 23 points per game and has done an adequate job—save for giving up 51 in a blowout loss to LSU.
One school of thought would be that Kentucky has played better opponents and is therefore better prepared to defeat a more mediocre Bulldog team. Two reasons why that school has not produced a Rhodes Scholar.
First, the Bulldogs are playing at home in Davis-Wade Stadium which should be renamed “Cowbell Field” because their fans are permitted to ring cowbells throughout the game. Reason two, Mississippi State is looking for its first SEC win. The maroon and grey Bulldogs will be motivated by a fierce crowd and desire for that first conference win of 2013. Bulldogs win.
Final Score: Mississippi State 31, Kentucky 20