Preview: Kentucky - Mississippi State

MurraySports

Kentucky welcomes an old friend back to Kroger Field this Saturday with the return of former assistant coach Mike Leach, who will bring his Mississippi State Bulldogs to Lexington. Game time is set for 7:30 ET and it will air on the SEC Network.

The Wildcats (0-2) are coming off an agonizing overtime loss to Ole Miss. The offense proved explosive in piling up over 400 yards rushing for the fourth time in the past six games, while quarterback Terry Wilson looked better than ever in rushing for 129 yards with three scores and passing for 151 yards. Running backs Chris Rodriguez Jr. (133 yards) and A.J. Rose (117) each set career highs in rushing yards in the game. On the defensive side of the ball the Cats have been led by linebackers DeAndre Square and Jamin Davis with 12 tackles each. End Josh Paschal has 11 stops, including two tackles for loss.

A year ago, the Cats rallied to win six of their final eight games after an onslaught of injuries at the quarterback position led to a 2-3 start to season and re-vamping of the offense with Lynn Bowden Jr. as QB1. Three straight games of at least 400 yards rushing culminated in a school-record 517-yard rushing performance against Louisville in the regular season finale before a thrilling Belk Bowl victory over Virginia Tech.

Stoops, Cats Working to Build on Positives, Fix Mistakes

While an 0-2 start is not what Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops and his team were hoping for, it's also not as bad as it might seem to those who have only seen the team's scores without watching the games.

Stoops and his staff are not searching for a lot of answers. They feel like the Cats are close and that once they get some things cleaned up, the results will soon follow.

After falling to Ole Miss 42-41 in overtime on Saturday, Stoops watched the tape and saw a lot of positives, especially on offense...Read More

Series vs. Mississippi State

Mississippi State leads 24-23 overall; UK leads 14-9 in Lexington

Mississippi State is UK's permanent SEC Western Division opponent

The teams first met in 1914, a 19-13 Kentucky victory

After playing from 1914-17 the teams did not meet again until 1944

They have met every year since 1990 with the Bulldogs holding a 19-11 edge during that time

The teams have split the last four meetings dating to 2016 with each team holding serve on its home field

In 2019, the Cats yielded an early pick-six and never fully recovered in their first road game of the season. MSU won 28-13

Kentucky-Mississippi State Connections

Kentucky has three players from state of Mississippi: LS Cade Degraw (Lake Cormorant), DB Brandin Echols (Southaven) and DL Josaih Hayes (Horn Lake)

Mississippi State does not have a player on its roster from Kentucky

UK defensive back Brandin Echols was teammates at Northwest Mississippi CC with current Bulldogs OL Ramble Johnson, WR JaVonta Payton, CB Malik Sanders and OL Matt Stanic

Mississippi State head coach Mike Leach was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach at Kentucky during the 1997 and 1998 seasons under Hal Mumme

Leach helped mold former UK star quarterback Tim Couch into a Heisman Trophy finalist and No. 1 overall NFL draft pick

A UK Win Would...

Improve UK to 15-9 all-time vs. Mississippi State in Lexington

Give the Wildcats their third consecutive win over the Bulldogs in Lexington

Make the Cats 14-4 in their past 18 games overall in Kroger Field

Improve UK's overall record at Kroger Field to 169-136-4 (.554)

Give head coach Mark Stoops a school-record 33 wins in Kroger Field, surpassing Jerry Claiborne's mark of 32 from 1982-89

Give Stoops 45 career victories at UK, putting him just two shy of tying Fran Curci (1973-81) for second on the school's all-time list

Improve Terry Wilson to 13-5 as UK's starting quarterback

Kentucky to Honor Chris Oats by Rotating No. 22

Kentucky football has been honoring junior linebacker Chris Oats this season, who has been battling a serious medical condition since May, when a different player is chosen each week of the season to wear Oats' No. 22. Fellow linebacker DeAndre Square was the first to wear No. 22 in the season opener vs. Auburn, while Oats' roommate Keaton Upshaw took the honor in UK's first home game on Oct. 3 vs. Ole Miss. Junior ILB Jamin Davis will wear No. 22 on Saturday vs. Mississippi State

The team is wearing #22OATSSTRONG wristbands to show their support and they conclude each team practice with "22!" Members of the team have also created a website www.22OATSSTRONG.COM with a GoFundMe page to help the family with medical bills.

The Massey Ratings pick Mississippi State 27-26.

Kentucky vs. Mississippi State
Sat., Oct. 10 - 7:30 p.m. ET
Kroger Field
Lexington, Ky.
Game Notes: 
UK (PDF) | MSU (PDF)
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Coverage

TV: SEC Network
Radio: UK Sports Network
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Live Stats

UKTeam StatsMSU
0-2Record1-1
0-2Conference Record1-1
27.0Scoring/game29.0
471.5Total offense/game516.0
276.5Rushing yards/game48.0
195.0Passing yards/game468.0
21.3Kickoff returns (avg)24.5
11.5Punt returns (avg)7.0
51.7Punting (avg)43.4
36:17Time of possession/game33:24
60.0%Third down conversion42.4%
00.0%Fourth down conversion66.7%
35.5Points allowed/game27.5
391.5Total yards allowed/game350.0
115.0Rush yards allowed/game71.5
276.5Pass yards allowed/game278.5

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