There were yellow flags everywhere last night. From a fight between the teams during warm ups to (what felt like) hundreds of false-starts, the penalties had a way of stacking up by the end of the night.
By the time the game clock expired, Mississippi State collected 16 penalties for a total of 139 yards, while Kentucky had five calls for 42 lost yards.
The Bulldogs drew six false-start penalties, several of which pushed them behind the line-of-scrimmage before the play had even begun. Coach Stoops credited the BBN and the rowdy atmosphere for Mississippi State’s costly mistakes, but Bulldogs head coach Joe Moorhead took the blame all for himself.
“It was a lack of composure… We were on the right path last week, but it was an emotional game,” Moorhead said. “We talked in the preseason about showing our emotions without being emotional, and we didn’t do that today. Again, that’s all on me and my responsibility. We’ll get it fixed.”
In addition to the false-start calls and the unsportsmanlike conduct flags from post-whistle scuffles, Mississippi State gifted Kentucky with a pass interference infraction out of UK’s own end zone. The Bulldogs beat themselves in the fourth quarter when a first-and-10 at UK’s 25-yard line turned into a fourth-and-39 at their own 46-yard line following a holding penalty, a false start and two tackles for loss from the Cats.
But Kentucky did not leave the game unscathed. Like one young caller pointed out on KSR’s post-game show last night, “there were some penalties that could be cleaned up.” Most notably, the shoving matches that lingered from warmups through close to the very end of the game could have been avoided. After the game, Coach Stoops noted some of his players, including Bunchy Stallings, were “getting extremely frustrated,” but their coaches and teammates just hugged them and worked to calm them down.
“I don’t want to throw attacks at [Mississippi State] about what was going on, but there’s a point sometimes when you have to accept things for your team,” Stoops said. “It takes a stronger man and it takes a big person to swallow that bad pride and have good pride and do that for your team. There were many cases of that tonight.”