One team will break an all-time tie this Saturday, as the Kentucky Wildcats and Mississippi State Bulldogs are locked at 22 wins a piece. Following a bye week, Kentucky will travel to Starkville for an SEC East vs. West matchup, while Mississippi State is coming off another home win over BYU. The Bulldogs are undefeated at home, and the Wildcats haven’t lost on the road this season.
Both sides will look to extend win streaks following this game, especially Kentucky, which will look to win its third straight game.
Mississippi State Playing At Home
Bulldogs head coach Dan Mullen knows that home field advantage is critical when playing in the SEC. He said their fans need to come out and give them that advantage this weekend. Mississippi State is 3-0 on home turf and is coming off a 35-10 victory over BYU last Saturday.
The Bulldogs put up 546 yards of total offense against the Cougars and dominated on the ground, rushing for 306 yards compared to 29 for BYU. Mississippi State’s leading rusher Aeris Williams had 114 yards on the ground and one touchdown, and he’s averaging 5.4 yards per carry on the season. Junior quarterback Nick Fitzgerald threw for 241 yards and completed 19 of his 30 passes with two touchdowns. He has 1,024 yards on the season and is averaging 6.32 yards per attempt.
On the defensive side of things, Mullen talked about defensive coordinator Todd Grantham’s impact on the defense and how he has them playing with an “aggressive edge.”
Kentucky Expecting Tough Matchup After Bye Week
The Wildcats have only lost once this season and that came at home against Florida back in September. They’re perfect on the road after traveling to Southern Mississippi and South Carolina early in the season. Kentucky will look to remain undefeated on the road against the Bulldogs on Saturday.
Head coach Mark Stoops said the “bye week came at a good time,” and they’re going to have to play well against a talented squad.
In their previous game against Missouri, the Wildcats allowed 568 yards and put up 486 of their own in the win. They gave up 355 yards through the air and 213 on the ground, allowing one rushing touchdown and three to quarterback Drew Lock. Kentucky is ranked 68th nationally in total defense (385.8 YPG), but 10th in rushing defense (97.2 YPG).
ESPN's FPI gives Kentucky a 21 percent chance to beat Mississippi State.
— Joe Mussatto (@joe_mussatto) October 16, 2017
Quarterback Experience Counts In SEC
This Saturday’s matchup features two experienced quarterbacks. Fitzgerald is at the helm for Mississippi State, and Stephen Johnson leads the offense for Kentucky. Both QBs have previous experience in the SEC and have played in key conference meetings in the past.
Stoops spoke on the value of experience at the quarterback position in the conference and how Johnson has become more comfortable with some experience.
He also praised Fitzgerald for his toughness and ability to put his team in good positions to win games.
Mississippi State will look to make it eight of its last nine against Kentucky on its homecoming game. Kickoff in Starkville is set for 4 p.m. ET on the SEC Network.