Kentucky Looks to Continue Momentum Against Bulldogs
Oct. 28, 2011
After a 38-14 win over non-conference foe Jacksonville State last Saturday on Homecoming weekend, Kentucky looks to continue its momentum when it returns to Southeastern Conference play vs. Mississippi State Saturday at Commonwealth Stadium.
Kentucky's win over Jacksonville State couldn't have come at a better time as it snapped the Wildcats' four-game losing streak and gave UK momentum and confidence as it heads into the homestretch of its SEC schedule. UK is in the midst of a three-game homestand that will conclude next week against Ole Miss.
The Wildcats' offense performed very well against JSU, totaling a season-high 445 yards of total offense, including a season-best 340 rushing yards. Junior tailback CoShik Williams paced UK's running attack with a career-high 148 yards, while quarterback Morgan Newton and wide receiver La'Rod King connected on two touchdown passes in the game.
Kentucky's defense caused three turnovers in the game, including junior Martavius Neloms' 40-yard fumble return for a touchdown. Seniors Danny Trevathan and Luke McDermott each grabbed an interception in the game, both of which set up a touchdown, while the UK defense limited JSU to 270 yards of total offense.
Mississippi State is coming off a bye week after suffering a heartbreaking 14-12 loss at home to the No. 13 South Carolina on Oct. 15. All four of the Bulldogs' losses this season have come against teams that have been nationally ranked at some point of the 2012 season.
Kentucky leads the series, 21-17, but the Bulldogs have won the last two meetings.
Cat Scratches: UK looking to take next step against Mississippi State
Kentucky's performance against Jacksonville State was unquestionably the Wildcats' best of the season on both sides of the ball. Offensively, UK had a season-high 445 total yards, including 340 on the ground. On defense, the Cats forced three turnovers, scored a defensive touchdown and allowed less than 300 yards.
As UK resumes SEC play with a game against Mississippi State at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Joker Phillips will be calling on his team to continue that pattern of improvement against a higher level of competition. The Bulldogs may have struggled a bit in starting their season 3-4 (0-4 SEC), but Mississippi State features much of the same talent that won nine games a season ago... read the full preview
Scouting Mississippi State
Mississippi State enters Saturday's matchup having won two-consecutive games against the Wildcats, along with two straight at Commonwealth Stadium.
Offensively, MSU is led by senior running back Vick Ballard, who has 105 carries for 598 yards and five touchdowns this season. LaDarius Perkins is second on the team in rushing with 52 carries for 240 yards and one touchdown, while quarterback Chris Relf is third on the team with 85 carries for 230 yards.
Relf has spent most of the time at quarterback this season, completing 83-of-141 passes for 860 yards with four touchdowns and five interceptions. However, Relf did not play in MSU's last game against South Carolina, giving way to Tyler Russell. Russell, a sophomore, is 31-for-59 this season for 514 yards with five touchdowns and three interceptions.
Arceto Clark and Chris Smith led the wide receiving corps with 18 catches and a touchdown a piece, while Chad Bumphis has 15 catches and two touchdowns.
Defensively, Cameron Lawrence has a team-high 61 tackles, while defensive lineman Fletcher Cox leads the team in tackles for loss with 5.5. Defensive backs Johnathan Banks and Nickoe Whitley lead the secondary with five interceptions and four interceptions, respectively.
Last Time vs. Mississippi State
The Kentucky Wildcats fought back from a 10-point deficit late in the second quarter to tie the game, but Mississippi State got the final touchdown in the fourth quarter as the Bulldogs came out with the 24-17 win.
Mississippi State scored the game's opening 10 points thanks to a 33-yard field goal from Derek DePasquale and a 54-yard touchdown run from Vick Ballard.
Kentucky got on the board with 2:39 remaining in the first quarter when senior quarterback Mike Hartline connected with Randall Cobb on a 48-yard pass down the middle for a touchdown.
The Bulldogs scored with 2:39 left in the second quarter on a 21-yard pass from Chris Relf to Arceto Clark. The Cats pulled within seven just before the half, though, as Craig McIntosh hit a 43-yard field goal as time expired.
The Cats evened the score late in the third quarter when Hartline hit senior fullback Moncell Allen on a bootleg to the right. It was a two-yard reception for Allen.
MSU drove 63 yards for the game-winning touchdown, with Relf running it in from four yards out with 10:28 remaining. The Wildcats got two more possessions but were unable to get the tying score.
Hartline threw for 258 yards and two touchdowns. Cobb amassed a career-high 292 all-purpose yards, including career bests with 12 catches for 171 yards. Danny Trevathan paced the defense with 16 tackles, his fifth-consecutive game in double figures.