Mullen Plays for the Thumb Against Kentucky

Andy Lyons

Dan Mullen's success rate against UK is 100%

In four years as the head coach of Mississippi State Dan Mullen has traveled to Lexington, Kentucky three times and won each time. He also won at Davis Wade in 2010. So that's 4 for 4 against the Wildcats. Now he plays for the thumb. MSU hasn't beaten a SEC team five times in a row since 1980-1984 vs. LSU (I know, right?).

UK is rebuilding and doing it fast. Under the leadership of new head coach Mark Stoops they've assembled as top 10 recruiting class for 2014 as we currently sit in late July. But those guys won't be on the field this fall - instead Stoops will have to try to compete with a cupboard that is pretty bare. Kentucky is widely considered the worst team in the SEC, and they've got the worst odds from Vegas to win the conference (100/1).

Review

At quarterback the Wildcats aren't too bad off. They've got three guys returning including Maxwell Smith who actually completed 68.7% of his passes in 150 attempts last season. They also return their top four rushers - the problem is none of them were really that good. In fact there isn't much good that can be said about this offense as RG Larry Warford is gone and their O-line will once again be near the bottom of the SEC.

The defense should be UK's strength with seven starters back and renewed emphasis under Stoops. All units should be improved especially linebacker where Miles Simpson and Avery Williamson return. It won't take much though - UK's defense got worse every year under Joker Philips and gave up 391 YPG in 2012.

Matchup with MSU

This is a Thursday night game and like State, Kentucky has a week off to prepare. They will likely already have four losses on their record coming in, and will be looking for their first SEC win (Florida, South Carolina and Alabama prior).

MSU's D-line should have a pretty good advantage here. We ranked UK's O-line to be 13th in the SEC this year. And really at almost every point of attack MSU should have the edge...there is no reason we shouldn't win this game.

The last time these two played on a Thursday night it was in Starkville, 1999, and Matt Wyatt led a thrilling Bulldog comeback to procure an 8-0 record and hold onto the #8 ranking in America.

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