Where: Davis Wade Stadium, Starkville, MS
When: Saturday, September 21, 4:00 PM. ET.
The Mississippi State Bulldogs will kick off SEC conference play with a matchup against the Kentucky Wildcats, who will be trying to bounce back from an emotional loss to Florida.
Wildcats Looking For First Road Win
The Wildcats had their two-game winning streak snapped by the Florida Gators in their last game and will try to bounce back from the loss and pick up their first road win of the year when they play the Bulldogs.
— Kentucky Football (@UKFootball) September 17, 2019
The Wildcats played well defensively in the first three-quarters of their loss to Florida, but couldn’t hang on in the fourth quarter, allowing the Gators to score 19 unanswered points, which ended up costing them the game. They will be trying to avoid the same fate as they try to pick up a rare win in Starkville on Saturday.
The issue with the defense right now is the play of the secondary. The pass defense ranks 101st in the nation in yards allowed per game in the air.
Kentucky’s offense has played well so far, averaging 32.3 points per game, which is 63rd in the country. Sawyer Smith, who made his first start of the season against the Gators while filling in for an injured Terry Wilson, completed 25 of 35 passes for 267 yards, two touchdowns, and three interceptions. With the team hitting the road for the first time, they will need him to take better control of the ball than he did in his previous game.
“We don’t have much time to dwell on it,” head coach 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.”
Bulldogs Trying To Bounce Back From First Loss
Like the Wildcats, the Bulldogs suffered their first loss of the season in their last game, losing to Kansas State 31-24. They will try to regroup from the loss and pick up their second home win in their last three games when they play on Saturday.
“We have to put this game to bed, understand the things we did well and continue to do them,” MSU head coach Joe Moorhead said Monday. “Understand the things we did poorly and work to correct them. And, now get on to our first SEC game against a great opponent.”
— Mississippi State Football (@HailStateFB) September 16, 2019
Mississippi State has played well offensively, averaging 33.3 points per game. They have been great on the ground, averaging 224 rushing yards per game. Kylin Hill, who leads the team with 441 yards, was held to 111in the loss. With Kentucky giving up 5.1 rushing yards per carry and three rushing touchdowns in their last game, expect a heavy dose of Hill on Saturday.
The quarterback situation for the Bulldogs is something to keep an eye on. Starting quarterback Tommy Stevens suffered a shoulder injury that forced him out of each of their last two games. He is currently listed as day-to-day and freshman Garrett Shrader is expected to start if Stevens is unable to go.
Stevens completed 7 of 15 passes for 100 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions before leaving the last game. Shrader finished the game completing four of 12 passes for 51 yards.
- 8-20 ATS in their last 28 games following a straight-up loss.
Mississippi State is:
- 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games following an ATS loss.
- 5-1 ATS in their last 6 home games.
- 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a straight-up loss.