It’s GAMEDAY!!! Kentucky suffered a heartbreaking loss last week at Kroger Field, but the great thing about college football is that we have a new week in front of us now. The ‘Cats are in Starkville wearing their all whites and ready to bounce back with a big SEC East road win!
1) Who is Playing Quarterback?
- Terry Wilson may be gone, but at least Kentucky fans know who will be under center this afternoon. Bulldog fans, however, are still waiting to see who will be available to lead their offense. Penn State grad transfer Tommy Stevens has had to leave the last two games due to a shoulder injury and is certainly banged up. True freshman Garrett Shrader stepped in and has only completed 47.8% of his passes during his time at quarterback. Shrader is able to make some plays with his legs, but if Mississippi State is forced to turn to him they may be limited in terms of passing the ball.
2) Great Rushing Attack
- Especially with the uncertainly at QB, the Bulldogs will turn to star Running Back Kylin Hill to lead the offense. Hill is the SEC’s leading rusher and is currently ranked third in the FBS with 431 rushing yards. The workhorse rusher did his part during last week’s loss to Kansas State running for 116 yards on 24 carries. Regardless of which Quarterback gets the nod this afternoon they will look to run a bit as well, Stevens and Shrader combined for 17 runs for over 100 yards last week. Still, it will be Hill who will be looked upon to do the majority of the ground work and Kentucky’s defense will need to be up to the task to keep the talented Junior from running wild.
3) Defensive Question Marks
- Mississippi State lost 3 first-round picks to the NFL last year on the defensive side of the ball and the talent gap has shown through the first 3 weeks of the season. Sawyer Smith should be given plenty of time in the pocket as the Bulldog pass rush has only gotten 1 sack in 3 games this year. Linebacker Erroll Thompson, Safeties Brian Cole II and Jaquarius Landrews, and Corner Cameron Dantzler are the names to know on the Bulldog defense. Kentucky should have opportunities to move the ball and will simply need to limit turnovers in order to put points on the board.
4) Shaky Special Teams-Lynn Bowden Touchdown?
- I’m going to go ahead and call it, today is the day we get a Lynn Bowden Kick Return/Punt Return for a touchdown. The Bulldogs surrendered a kick return touchdown last week and Kicker Scott Goodman has not been good at getting touchbacks so Bowden should have the opportunities to make plays on special teams.
5) Unimpressive Start to the Season
- The Bulldogs struggled Week 1 against Louisiana, not LSU, not just Louisiana, coming away with a 38-28 victory. Mississippi State took care of Southern Miss in Week 2 despite giving up a few big plays through the air. Last week Kansas State came into Starkville and beat the Bulldogs 31-24. K-State got outgained 352 to 269 but took advantage of 3 turnovers to secure the win.