The Mississippi State Bulldogs took on the Kentucky Wildcats on an uncommon Thursday night game. The ESPN nationally televised game almost gave the Bulldogs more then they could handle with Mississippi State surviving to pull out a 28 – 22 victory.
Dak Prescott started the game for the Bulldogs and continued his recent success early in the game by leading the Bulldogs on two touchdown drives to open the game, giving Mississippi State a 14-7 lead. Russell, who entered the game in the third series as planned, got a few snaps late in the first quarter but injured his ankle and did not return for the remainder of the game.
Prescott played well as the only quarterback operating the offense, finishing the game throwing for 268 yards and picking up three total touchdowns.
While many think of a running offense with Prescott, the Bulldogs went to the air early and often, and had more success in the air then they did on the ground. LaDarius Perkins was the Bulldogs leading rusher with 65 rushing yards, and the Wildcats limited Prescott to just 33 yards on the ground.
Jameon Lewis, once again, did it all for the Bulldog’s offense, leading the team with 7 receptions, 53 yards, and a touchdown. He also rushed for a touchdown and had tossed touchdown to Prescott in the middle of the third quarter. The Bulldogs needed a big play to get their, and the fans, spirits back up after a disastrous series of events resulted in a safety against the Bulldogs followed by a Kentucky touchdown. Dan Mullen dialed a play that had success earlier this season and on Thursday night, it worked again. Lewis motioned towards the quarterback for a sweep around the end before turning back to throw a pass to Prescott who scampered to the end zone.
The defense played well early but began to falter as the game wore on. Kentucky, limited at the quarterback position, ran a very conservative offense, running the ball up the middle and dumping the ball on screens all night. In the Wildcats' game plan, the Mississippi State secondary was clearly the point of attack all night. The young Bulldogs' defensive backs held their own for most of the game not giving up too many big plays. The Wildcats had a chance to take the lead in the waning seconds of the game, but were turned away on a great stand by the defense.
The struggle to finish continued for Mississippi State. The Bulldogs failed to score a point in the fourth quarter once again, and through seven games, Mississippi State has only scored 17 points in the fourth quarter.
Penalties were again a problem for the Bulldogs as the team collected 8 penalties for 82 yards. The offense struggled to gain momentum in the second half because of the penalties. The defense also gave Kentucky a few extra opportunities because of bonehead personal foul penalties against Nickoe Whitley, who was ejected early in the game for punching an opposing player.
On a brighter side though, on fall break, the students had a fairly strong showing and were there and loud at the end of the game.