While Mississippi State has made considerable progress over the past two weeks, with a 38-31 victory over Florida followed by the win over Kentucky, the Wildcats continue to slide, hampered by the same old problems.
"This was a very frustrating game," Kentucky coach Rich Brooks said. "The first three quarters we continued to make mistakes and hurt ourselves with penalties. We struggled to play with consistency all game long."
The offense continued to struggle, producing only 251 total yards and 84 rushing yards and handing Mississippi State seven quick, easy points when quarterback Shane Boyd threw a screen pass intended for Gerad Parker directly into the hands of Bulldog linebacker Quinton Culbertson on the third play of the game. Culbertson ran 35 yards for the touchdowns and a 7-0 lead 62 seconds into the game.
"(Culbertson) just jumped on the route and it was 'pick six,' " Boyd said. "It was a bad play on my part."
There were plenty of bad plays on both sides of the ball, with the defense allowing 340 tackles and punter Anthony Thornton averaging just 32.9 yards on seven punts. Add it all up and it combined for another dismal performance for a team making many of the same mistakes time and time again.
"I have no idea why it's like that," said cornerback Earven Flowers. "It's starting to become a trend, and we've got to break it."
GAME BALL GOES TO: SS Mike Williams -- When the front seven is missing tackles somebody has to make a stop, and Williams made 13 tackles, including 11 solo stops.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "I thought we had a good week of practice, and we came in here confident that we could get the job done. We just couldn't get it done. They had the big win (over Florida) last week, and they carried it over to this game." -- Kentucky guard Matt Huff.
STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
LOOKING GOOD: The Wildcats remain committed to their plan to play several true and redshirt freshmen as a program ravaged by probation and penalties tries to rebuild from the ground up.
STILL NEEDS SOME WORK: Mississippi State entered the game ranked 11th in the SEC in scoring defense and eighth in total defense but Kentucky still struggled to move the ball and gave away nine points on an interception return for a touchdown and a safety.
ROSTER REPORT: When starting QB Shane Boyd continued to struggle, redshirt freshman Andre Woodson took over in the third quarter and played parts of three possessions, completing five of eight passes for 39 yards, taking one sack and fumbling once (on a ball recovered by center Matt McCutchan). ... When McCutchan left the game for a brief period due to a temporary injury problem, senior guard Jason Rollins moved to center for a series and contributed an errant a shotgun snap that led to an 18-yard loss. ... Freshman Dicky Lyons Jr. has become a regular on returns this season but finally made the first two catches of his career before leaving with a shoulder injury and hip pointer.