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September 22nd, 2018

LIVE: Mark Stoops after the Mississippi State win

A happy Mark Stoops is about to address reporters about Kentucky’s 28-7 win over Mississippi State. Tune in via the livestream below, courtesy of our friends at KyWildcatsTV:


Benny Snell and Kentucky’s Defense Dominate No. 14 Mississippi State

Kentucky is for real.

The Wildcats entered the game as ten-point underdogs and left with a 28-7 win over the fourteenth-ranked team in the country.

Benny Snell was absolutely incredible, rushing for 165 yards and four touchdowns on 25 carries, but the Real MVP was the defense.  UK suffocated the nation’s No. 5 rushing offense, holding them to just 56 rushing yards and 201 total yards.

With ten minutes to play, the Kentucky defense made the play we were waiting for.  After a Josh Allen sack backed up State, Fitzgerald faced pressure on third and long.  Allen hit Fitzgerald as he threw a pass that sailed high into redshirt freshman Tyrell Ajian’s hands.  On the next snap Benny Snell went 36 yards untouched into the end zone.

Snell’s third touchdown of the day gave the Cats a 21-7 lead.  The run also moved him up in the record books.  He surpassed Mark Higgs to become fourth on the all-time rushing list and scored his 38th touchdown, bypassing Randall Cobb’s school record for total touchdowns. His fourth touchdown, a 23-yard fourth quarter dagger, tied a school record for most rushing touchdowns in a game.

Kentucky has now defeated two straight ranked opponents and the Cats are 2-0 in SEC play for the first time since 1977.

In front of an electric atmosphere at Kroger Field, the Kentucky football team gave fans a gift they never thought they’d receive — the chance to dream about an SEC Championship Game appearance.  Behind Benny Snell and this defense, anything is possible.


UK vs. Mississippi State Halftime Stats, presented by Liquor Barn

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It’s seven all at the end of rainy first half at Kroger Field, and although Kentucky missed some opportunities early on, they made up for it with an impressive run to end the second quarter.

Dorian Baker’s incredible catch set up Benny Snell for a two-yard touchdown with 50 seconds left in the half. The catch was so great Stevie “Got Loose” Johnson posted cell phone footage on Twitter:

Halftime Stats:


UK vs. Mississippi State LIVE BLOG, presented by Liquor Barn

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Live Blog UK vs. Mississippi State, presented by Liquor Barn
 


Two Advantages Kentucky has on Mississippi State

Kentucky and Mississippi State aren’t so different.  As you saw earlier, statistically the teams mirror one another quite a bit.  However, the nine-point underdogs have a few important advantages over the nation’s No. 14 team.

Kroger Field

Kentucky’s football stadium does not have a reputation like some other SEC homes, but it will still get rowdy from time-to-time.  Tonight is one of those times.

This isn’t Mississippi State’s first road game.  The Bulldogs won on the road at Kansas State, but 11:00 a.m. in Manhattan, Kansas is incomparable to what they will experience tonight in Lexington.  There will be a buzz in the air, one State has not yet experienced under Joe Moorhead.

Close Game Experience

Miss. State won their first three games by an average of 41.3 points.  That is an incredible number.  It illustrates how they’ve physically dominated opponents and reveals they have yet to play in a close game.

Nick Fitzgerald is a senior quarterback with three years of experience as a starter, but he’s never been in a pressure-packed scenario with Joe Moorhead calling the plays.  Will Moorhead be comfortable enough to let Fitzgerald take aggressive throws?  It only takes one late mistake to give Kentucky enough momentum to win the game.

On the other hand, Kentucky’s been tested down the stretch in a hostile atmosphere.  The defense was not perfect, but when they needed a stop at Florida, Josh Allen batted away a two-point conversion.  When the offense needed a first down to milk the clock, Bunchy Stallings provided a hole for Benny Snell to run through.  Kentucky has been battled-tested and will not flinch when the game is on the line.


Kentucky-Mississippi State: Numbers you Need to Know

Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Kentucky is almost a mirror image of Mississippi State on paper.  In almost every statistical category where the Bulldogs shine, you’ll find Kentucky not far behind.

Miss. State’s rushing offense leads the SEC and is ranked No. 5 in the SEC.  Kentucky is just a few spots behind, ranked 11th overall and third in the SEC.  Miss. State is the SEC’s best third down offense and second in the nation, while UK is third in the conference and No. 7 overall.  The Bulldogs’ defense allows only 259 yards per game, second in the SEC.  UK’s defense is fifth in total yards allowed with 305 per game.  Each team has nine rushes for 20 or more yards and thrown four passes for more than 40 yards.

In a game marked by similarities, the differences could decide the game’s outcome.

State has done a decent job taking care of the ball, but you cannot say the same thing about UK.  The Cats have a -3 turnover margin compared to MSU’s +1.  Kentucky must flip the script and utilize an under-appreciated advantage on special teams.  Max Duffy averages 45.7 yards per punt, good for third in the SEC.  Kentucky doesn’t have Austin MacGinnis kicking field goals, but Miles Butler has been more reliable than State’s Jace Christmann, who’s made just one of three attempts in 2018.

In a match-up between teams with similar styles of play, it all comes down to the playmakers.  Who wants it more?  Tonight we’ll discover if the Cats have big time players that can make big time plays in big games.


Louisville held without touchdown in loss to Virginia

We knew things weren’t going great for Louisville this season, but…yikes. The Cards just lost to Virginia 27-3, the Cavaliers’ biggest ACC win since 2012.

Louisville only managed a field goal, the first time they were held without a touchdown since 2010 in a 20-3 loss to Pitt, according to Brett McMurphy. Bobby Petrino’s potent offense was held to 214 total yards and two interceptions. For Card fans, the game was best summed up by this decision to down the kickoff at the 1-yard line:

Woof.


Five things you need to know about Kylin Hill

Photo by Roy K. Miller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Here are five things you need to know about Mississippi State’s sophomore running back…

He is the highest running back signee for Mississippi State since 2002.

Hills is the highest running back signee for the Bulldogs since Jerious Norwood in 2002.

Hill was ranked as the No. 6 running back in the nation by 247Sports.com and No. 11 by Scout.com. He was ranked as the No. 106 overall player by Scout.com and No. 124 overall by 247Sports.com. He was considered the No. 2 overall ranked player in Mississippi and was a consensus four-star recruit.

His head coach compared him to Saquon Barkley

Mississippi State head coach and former Penn State offensive coordinator, Joe Moorhead, says Hill shares some traits with his former running back Saquon Barkley.

“They combine the skills, this sounds weird, they have small back skills in a big back body — if that makes sense,” Moorhead said during an appearance on SiriusXM radio show SEC This Morning. “Both Saquon and Kylin are bigger guys, they can run between the tackles and as you saw, people bouncing off of Kylin and getting yards after contact. They possess enough shake in the open field to make people miss and as you saw catching the wheel route, they are threats out of the backfield, as well.”

His career-long TD is only 30 yards 

Hill finished his true freshman season with his best performance of the season against Ole Miss. He rushed for 82 yards on 13 carries, including a career-long touchdown of 30 yards. Ole Miss defeated Hill and the Bulldogs 31-28.

Oh, Benny Sell recorded a 71-yard touchdown against Missouri last season.

He had to slim down during the offseason

During his true freshman season, Hill weighed over 220 pounds. The Mississippi State running backs coach told Hill needed to lose weight to get more carries and become more explosive. Now Hill is down to around 210.

“The weight I lost was very much needed to get me where I am right now,” Hill said.

10 pounds. Wow. What a transformation.

He likes to tweet emojis

In case you missed it, Hill responded to Ben Roberts tweet about Benny saying “I’m going to run on any team. This offense don’t fear nobody.”

Hill responded with a lot of laughing emojis. He deleted the tweet. He scared.

Go cats.