Ranking the Mississippi State football performances: No. 12--Kentucky

Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

The countdown has started to determine the best Mississippi State performance on the football field in 2013. To get to the best, we have to start at the worst: Mississippi State vs. Kentucky, a game that most likely would have been a loss against any other Mississippi State opponent in 2013.

In the end, fans would rather walk away with a win than a loss, but that does not mean that every win looks like a Picasso. In terms of beauty, the Mississippi State victory over Kentucky this season proved to be lacking, but the win proved to be important for the Bulldogs.

For those just tuning into the series, the ranking of the games were based on five categories: overall offensive performance, overall defensive performance, special teams performance, individual performances, and quality of opponent.  Each category receives a ranking 1-5.

Overall Offensive Performance: 2 out of 5

On the season, Kentucky gave up 197 yards per game on the ground, or 4.9 yards per carry.  Against the Wildcats, the Bulldogs only managed to pick up 152 yards on 42 carries, which comes out to 3.6 yards per carry.  Through the air, Kentucky gave up 229 yards per game and 12.5 per completion.  On the Thursday night in Starkville, the Bulldogs picked up 295 yards on 25 completions.

Against a defense that should have been overmatched, the Bulldogs managed to do no better than the average against Kentucky.  In fact, the 28 points scored by Mississippi State fell below the 31 the Wildcats gave up per contest.

Overall Defensive Performance: 2 out of 5

Kentucky proved to be quite a weak offense in 2013, but that did not stop Mississippi State from needing to make a late defensive stand to win the football game.  The Wildcats' 20 points in Starkville came ahead of their season average of 22 points per game. Of course, some of this was aided by a blunder by the Mississippi State special teams.

As far as yardage, the Bulldogs kept Kentucky to about 20 yards less than their season average.

Special Teams Play: 1 out of 5

One of the plays that helped keep Kentucky in the game was a safety when Devon Bell dropped a snap in the end zone.  The Bulldogs also missed their only field goal attempt in the game, and they did nothing spectacular in the return game.

Individual Performances: 3 out of 5

Jameon Lewis managed to throw, catch, and rush for a touchdown in the contest, the second time he did that in 2013. Dak Prescott turned in a solid passing performance with 268 yards and two touchdowns on 23 of 34 passing. Benardrick McKinney also picked eleven tackles in the contest.

Quality of Opponent: 2 out of 5

There is not a nice way to put it, Kentucky was not a good football team in 2013, and they may have been the weakest BCS foe the Bulldogs faced in 2013.

Overall Average: 2 Star

The Bulldogs did not have good performance in this game, and against most of their competition, the Bulldogs would have walked away with a loss with such a performance.  Given that this was Kentucky, it was enough for Mississippi State to pick up the victory at home.

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