Do you hear that? That “clankity-clank-clank” sound off in the distance? That means you’re getting closer to the cowbells in Starkville where you will see your beloved Kentucky Wildcats take on the Mississippi State Bulldogs at Davis Wade Stadium this afternoon.
Kentucky (2-1) is set to take the field against Mississippi State (2-1) at 4:00 p.m. ET (3 CT) today, with the game being broadcast live on the SEC Network.
But what do we need to know about the matchup?
The line has dropped to 6
After opening as 8.5-point favorites, the line in favor of Mississippi State has dropped down to just a touchdown, with the Bulldogs now favored by six points.
Looking at OddsShark’s game analysis, they actually like the Bulldogs to pull off the victory by two scores, with a predicted score total of 33.2 to 22.
In other quick betting facts on both the Wildcats and the Bulldogs…
- Kentucky is 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games
- The total has gone OVER in 6 of Kentucky’s last 6 games
- Kentucky is 5-1 straight up in their last 6 games.
- Kentucky is 4-8 ATS in their last 12 games against Mississippi State.
- Kentucky are 2-8 straight up in their last 10 games against Mississippi State.
- The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Kentucky’s last 5 games on the road.
- The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Kentucky’s last 5 games when playing on the road against Mississippi State.
- Kentucky is 2-4 ATS in their last 6 games against an opponent in the Southeast conference.
- Kentucky is 7-1 straight up in their last 8 games played in September.
- Kentucky is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games played in week 4.
- The total has gone OVER in 5 of Mississippi State’s last 6 games.
- Mississippi State is 6-3 SU in their last 9 games.
- The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Mississippi State’s last 7 games against Kentucky.
- Mississippi State is 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games at home.
- The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Mississippi State’s last 5 games when playing at home against Kentucky.
- The total has gone UNDER in 9 of Mississippi State’s last 10 games against an opponent in the Southeast conference.
- Mississippi State is 7-2 straight up in their last 9 games played in week 4.
- Mississippi State is 5-2 straight up in their last 7 games played on a Saturday.
In ESPN’s matchup predictor, they list Mississippi State as having a 66.1% chance of pulling off the victory on Saturday afternoon, with Kentucky having just a 33.9% chance.
Despite falling to Florida by a final score of 29-21 last week, Kentucky covered the 10-point spread, making it the third consecutive game they managed to do so to open the season.
While Mississippi State has several NFL-caliber weapons on both sides of the football, the team’s biggest question mark comes at the quarterback position.
Penn State graduate transfer Tommy Stevens took over the starting job right out of the gates and certainly looked the part in his MSU debut, throwing for 236 yards and two scores on an average of 7.9 yards per attempt in a season-opening win over Louisiana.
After injuring his shoulder the following week against Southern Miss, though, Stevens looked incredibly uncomfortable against Kansas State last week, completing just 7 of 15 passes for 100 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions. The 6-foot-5, 235-pound quarterback was then benched in the second half in favor of true freshman Garrett Shrader, who came in as a top-250 prospect in the nation.
Between his Southern Miss and Kansas State performances, the dual-threat quarterback is completing just 47.8 percent of his passes with an SEC-worst 5.3 yards per attempt average.
Should Stevens be healthy enough to play a full 60 minutes this afternoon, the key will be to get to make him uncomfortable in the backfield. While he has shown great potential with a clean pocket in limited action to start the year, the graduate transfer is completing just 36% of throws on 11 pressures on the year. With a shoulder less than 100%, that number could dip even further if Kentucky’s front seven does their job.
With the quarterback situation up in the air, Mississippi State will rely on superstar running back Kylin Hill, who is currently leading the SEC in rushing and third in the FBS. The 5-foot-11 junior has totaled 431 yards on the ground through three games, including an average of 21.7 carries per contest.
Outside of Hill, the Bulldog rushing attack isn’t too impressive, with the other two backs on the depth chart combining for just 17 carries to start the season.
As a team, MSU is putting up 411.7 yards and 33.3 points per contest.
Defensively, the defensive line has produced just 3.5 tackles for loss and one sack, with Bob Shoop’s defense ranking 11th or worse in the SEC in yards per play, yards per pass, scoring, and rushing. In terms of total defense, Mississippi State is ranked No. 54 in the nation through three games, allowing 347.7 total yards per contest.
KSR’s Adam Luckett has everything you need to know about the Bulldogs below:
The hype video will get you… well… hyped
What are the Cats wearing?
On Friday afternoon, the official UK Football Twitter account released the team’s uniform combination for their matchup against Mississippi State.
The verdict? All white everything, with the Wildcats sporting white helmets, white jerseys, white pants, and white cleats.
Road #Caturday ????????
(Presented by The Summit at Fritz Farm) pic.twitter.com/y7A49LMfUN
— Kentucky Football (@UKFootball) September 20, 2019
Where do I tailgate in Starkville?
To help you find your way around campus, check out the parking map below (click to enlarge). The biggest and best Miss. State tailgating areas are on the eastern side of the stadium near the open end zone. Kentucky’s Cat Walk will take place on the opposite side at the northwest corner of the stadium at approximately 12:45 CT.
For more on what to do and where to eat/drink in Starkville after the game, check out Nick Roush’s post from last night below:
Now, let’s get this win.