Breakdown: Kentucky at Mississippi State

Kentucky Sports Report breaks down tonight's match-up between Kentucky and Mississippi State.

Kentucky Sports Report breaks down tonight's match-up between Kentucky and Mississippi State.

Kentucky at Mississippi State

When: Saturday, October 30th – 7 PM Eastern
Where: Davis Wade Stadium, Stadium, Starkville, MS.

Mississippi State's Schedule

9/4 – vs. Memphis W 49-7
9/9 – vs. Auburn L 17-14
9/18 – at LSU L 29-7
9/25 – vs. Georgia W 24-12
10/2 – vs. Alcorn St. W 49-16
10/9 – at Houston W 47-24
10/16 – at Florida W 10-7
10/23 – vs. UAB W 29-24
10/30 – vs. Kentucky
11/13 – at Alabama
11/20 – vs. Arkansas
11/27 – at Ole Miss

Statistical Leaders

Kentucky Rushing: Derrick Locke, 108 rushes, 574 yards, 7 touchdowns
Mississippi State Rushing: Vick Ballard 79 rushes, 529 yards, 12 touchdowns
Kentucky Passing: Mike Hartline, 184-273, 2144 yards, 17 touchdowns, 4 ints
Mississippi State Passing: Chris Relf, 62-112, 802 yards, 5 touchdowns, 3 ints
Kentucky Receiving: Chris Matthews, 37 receptions, 565 yards, 7 touchdowns
Mississippi State Receiving: Chad Bumphis, 33 receptions, 461 yards, 4 touchdowns
Kentucky Tackles: Danny Trevathan, 81 tackles, 9 for loss
Mississippi State Tackles: Chris White 71 tackles, 12 for loss
Kentucky Sacks: Taylor Wyndham, 2.5 sacks
Mississippi State Sacks: Chris White, 5 sacks
Kentucky Interceptions: Winston Guy, 2 interceptions
Mississippi State Sacks: Corey Broomfield, Maurice Langston, 2 interceptions

Team Statistics

Rushing Offense: Kentucky 147.6 – Miss St. 220.9
Passing Offense: Kentucky 280.9 – Miss St. 169.6
Total Offense: Kentucky 428.5 – Miss St. 390.5
Scoring Offense: Kentucky 34.8 – Miss St. 28.6
Rushing Defense: Kentucky 176 – Miss St. 118.5
Passing Defense: Kentucky 176.8 – Miss St. 217
Total Defense: Kentucky 352.9 – Miss St. 335.5
Scoring Defense: Kentucky 31.6 – Miss St. 17
Turnover Margin: Kentucky +.13 – Miss St. +.5

Kentucky comes into Mississippi State looking for a big win. The Wildcats have shown the ability to put points on the board in bunches, but their inconsistency on defense and their slow starts have doomed them against Ole Miss, Auburn and Georgia during the SEC slate. The Wildcats hope that they can pull off the upset tonight against the Bulldogs, but it won't be an easy task.

Dan Mullen's Bulldogs run a similar system to Florida and do a great job of getting the ball into the hands of their playmakers in open space. They also have a balanced and strong running game behind Vick Ballard, quarterback Chris Relf and LaDarius Perkins. They also use two quarterbacks, Relf, who's a dual threat player. Tyler Russell is more of a pocket passer. Kentucky will have to keep containment on Relf and keep him from hurting them significantly with his legs. They will also have to prepare for a steady dose of Ballard and Perkins in the traditional running game.

State plays good defense in the running game, but if there is a weakness, it's defending the pass. Kentucky will have to take advantage of their strengths, which is the passing game with Randall Cobb, Chris Matthews and LaRod King. Mike Hartline will have to continue to take care of the ball as he has for most of the season and make big plays as the pocket collapses under the Bulldog pressure. Kentucky will also have to manufacture a running game with star back Derrick Locke missing his third game this weekend. Raymond Sanders and Donald Russell will both be counted on to make plays with their legs.

Final Analysis
For Kentucky, this game depends on getting off to a quick start. Kentucky can't afford to get behind by two or more touchdowns against Mississippi State on the road. Taking care of the ball and avoiding mistakes on special teams is paramount. Winning this game for Kentucky could mean the difference between being on the bowl bubble and making a fifth consecutive bowl appearance. Kentucky will have to channel that pressure into a positive in order to succeed. Final Score: Mississippi State 33, Kentucky 30

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