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Mississippi State football vs. Kentucky: Time, TV schedule, game preview, score

Wildcats battle Bulldogs

Aeris Williams #26 of the Mississippi State Bulldogs scores a touchdown as Ryan Woods #50 of the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks defends during the first half at Davis Wade Stadium on September 1, 2018 in Starkville, Mississippi. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Aeris Williams #26 of the Mississippi State Bulldogs scores a touchdown as Ryan Woods #50 of the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks defends during the first half at Davis Wade Stadium on September 1, 2018 in Starkville, Mississippi. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)

LEXINGTON, Ky. – Mississippi State put up some big numbers during non-conference play and looks like a team that can contend with the likes of Alabama, Auburn and LSU, though it has yet to truly be tested. The 24th-ranked Bulldogs will get their first test against SEC competition when they visit Kentucky on Saturday in the conference opener.

TV: 7 p.m. ET, ESPN2. LINE: Mississippi State -10

 

Mississippi State is trouncing opponents by an average of 41.3 points over the first three games, led by an offense that is rushing for 311.7 yards per contest. "Offensively, we operate at our highest level when we are able to run the ball successfully and complete passes at a higher percentage, but never at the expense of explosive plays and protecting the football," Bulldogs coach Joe Moorhead told reporters after a 56-10 victory over Louisiana last week. I’m not sure what it was specifically, but I would venture to guess that we hit our number of explosive plays that we were looking for, and we did that within the construct of not turning the ball over and operating efficiently." The Wildcats are undefeated as well and already have one SEC victory on their resume after winning at Florida in Week 2. Kentucky can run the ball as well and boasts three rushers already over 100 yards on the season with a total of eight touchdowns between them.

ABOUT MISSISSIPPI STATE (3-0, 0-0 SEC)

The Bulldogs are up to 12 rushing TDs and got one last week from Aeris Williams, who enjoyed a breakout performance with 101 yards on 11 carries. "We set a rotation and from there it can really go the way the flow of the game dictates," Moorhead told reporters of his running back situation with Williams and Kylin Hill. "I think something that's very valuable for Aeris this week, in addition to his carries on first and second down, is his experience as a protector on third down, particularly in medium-plus situations." Mississippi State's running game also heavily features quarterback Nick Fitzgerald, who has 266 rushing yards in two games and four scores on the ground.

ABOUT KENTUCKY (3-0, 1-0)

Benny Snell Jr. is leading the rushing attack with 375 yards and three TDs and will try to take some of the pressure off quarterback Terry Wilson, who is sitting on two TD passes and three interceptions through three games. "He takes the coaching," coach Mark Stoops told reporters of Wilson. "He works at it. He comes early. He stays late. He does what he has to do to do the studying on his own. Also, take the coaching. It does not surprise me much because I anticipated that. I mentioned that after Week 1in here that he is a sophomore and in game one there was no doubt in our mind that he would improve and he has." Wilson is part of the rushing attack, as well, and owns 223 yards and two TDs on the ground.

EXTRA POINTS

1. Fitzgerald needs 196 rushing yards to pass Tim Tebow for the SEC rushing record by a quarterback.

2. The Wildcats are trying to improve to 2-0 in SEC play for the first time since 1977.

3. The Bulldogs have taken eight of the last nine in the series.

PREDICTION: Mississippi State 34, Kentucky 21

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