Kentucky Looks to Regroup Against Top-Ranked Bulldogs

Oct. 23, 2014

After a disappointing outcome last weekend against the LSU Tigers in Baton Rouge, La., the University of Kentucky football team looks to regroup and refocus as it plays host to No. 1 Mississippi State on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET inside Commonwealth Stadium.

Kentucky Mississippi State
Kentucky vs. Mississippi State
Sat., Oct. 25 - 3:30 p.m. ET
Lexington, Ky.
Gameday Information
Game Notes: UK Get Acrobat Reader | MSU Get Acrobat Reader
Coverage
TV: CBS
Radio: UK Sports Network
Live Video via CBS
Gameday Live : Live audio, blog, stats, and social media
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SEC Nation
Kentucky
UK 2014 Team Stats MSU
31.7 Scoring/game 41.8
20.4 First downs/game 25.3
415.4 Total offense/game 529.7
168.0 Rushing yards/game 264.3
247.4 Passing yards/game 265.3
26.0 Kickoff returns (avg) 20.6
8.1 Punt returns (avg) 6.5
41.3 Punting (avg) 43.0
29:11 Time of possession/game 30:12
38% Third down conversion (pct) 43%
40% Fourth down conversion (pct) 38%
+9 Turnover margin/game +3
21.9 Points allowed/game 20.0
354.9 Total yards allowed/game 428.8
173.6 Rush yards allowed/game 120.5
181.3 Pass yards allowed/game 308.3

The Wildcats snapped a three-game winning streak against the Tigers, falling 41-3. It was Kentucky’s second loss of the season, with both contests coming on the road in two of the toughest environments of college football.

Saturday will mark the 15th time in program history that Kentucky has faced the No. 1 team in the nation, holding a 3-11 record all-time in those games. UK has never faced Mississippi State with the Bulldogs ranked No. 1.

Cat Scratches: Cats eager to compete with balanced, top-ranked Mississippi State

Kentucky's loss at LSU stung, no doubt.

The Wildcats, for the first time all season, simply weren't competitive in a blowout in Baton Rouge, which turned out to be even more painful than being one play away as they were in a defeat at Florida.

That said, Patrick Towles wasn't about to let the loss linger. He knew the Cats had to get over it.

"It took me about a day," UK's sophomore quarterback said. "It hurt for about a day. Then if it keeps hurting, you gotta play a different sport."

Towles and his teammates are sticking with football, and it's a good thing because the nation's top-ranked team is coming to Lexington this weekend. UK (5-2, 2-2 Southeastern Conference) will host No. 1 Mississippi State (6-0, 3-0 SEC) at 3:30 p.m. ET on Saturday in front of a CBS audience watching at home. ... read the full preview

Scouting Mississippi State

Mississippi State will enter Commonwealth Stadium ranked No. 1 in the nation in both national listings. The Bulldogs have had an impressive start to the season, sitting 6-0 with three consecutive wins over top-10 ranked teams in LSU, Texas A&M and Auburn. The Bulldogs started the season with non-conference wins over Southern Miss, UAB and South Alabama. MSU started its run up the rankings with a win at No. 8 LSU, before taking down No. 6 Texas A&M and No. 2 Auburn at Davis-Wade Stadium. The Bulldogs enter Commonwealth Stadium off its second bye week of the season.

Offensively, Mississippi State is averaging 41.8 points per game and has 55 total points off turnovers this season. The Bulldogs are balanced offensively with 264.3 rushing yards per game and 265.3 passing yards per game. Overall, MSU is averaging 529.7 yards of total offense per game. The MSU offense is led by junior quarterback Dak Prescott, who has completed 61.5 percent of his passes for 1,478 yards and 14 touchdowns. Prescott is second on the team in rushing with a team-high 106 carries for 576 yards and eight touchdowns. Prescott’s favorite target this season has sophomore wide receiver De’Runnya Wilson, who has 18 catches for 319 yards and six touchdowns. Senior WR Jameon Lewis has 15 catches for 223 yards and one touchdown.

Defensively, the Bulldogs have been impressive, facing some of the best offenses in the nation yet allowing just 20 points per game. MSU is allowing 120.5 rushing yards per game and 308.3 passing yards per game, while teams have traveled into the MSU redzone 19 times and only scored a touchdown six times. The defense is led by junior linebacker Benardrick McKinney, who has a team-high 41 tackles, six tackles for loss, three sacks, two pass breakups, two fumble recoveries and one quarterback hurry. Sophomore linebacker Beniquez Brown has 30 tackles, five tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks and three quarterback hurries. Four MSU players have two or more interceptions, led by Richie Brown, who has three, adding a pass breakup and a fumble recovery.

Sophomore kick Evan Sobiesk is 3-for-4 in field goals this season with his only miss coming from 42 yards. Devon Bell has done most the punting with a 43.5 average.