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Mississippi State vs. Kentucky: Five Takeaways

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Mississippi State survived the challenge of playing on the road as the #1 team for the first time ever. Kentucky made it a four quarter game, but the Dogs never trailed. Here are five things we took away from Saturday's game.

Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

That was the worst coached game of the season

It's safe to say the coaches were just as flat as the team coming off the bye week. There was no clear defensive game plan, and no in game adjustments were made at all. Patrick Towles changed the game with his legs and was able to keep the chains moving. Geoff Collins continued to let it happen all game long and never put a spy on the quarterback (or so it seemed). It was also the worst called game of the season on offense. Although Mississippi State finished with 326 yards on the ground, there were not near enough running plays called. Dak Prescott wasn't on his game from the beginning, and the receivers had their worst performance yet. Why keep throwing the football? The better question is when your offensive line is getting manhandled, why keep trying to throw it DEEP down the field? The first drive of the game, which is always scripted, was called to perfection. A lot of dump offs and screen passes that got the ball out of Dak's hands quick. The decision to go away from that and try to throw down the field when the line wasn't holding up is mind-boggling.

Josh Robinson deserves to be in the Heisman conversation just as much as Dak

Wow. That's all you can really say after watching Josh Robinson's performance yesterday. Nevermind his 198 yards and two touchdowns, but he had one of the best runs by an MSU running back since Anthony Dixon's run against Houston. He broke at least seven tackles on an unbelievable play that landed #1 on Sportscenter's top 10. Oh but he wasn't done. He turned heads again on a 73 yard touchdown run early in the fourth quarter. Robinson broke a tackle three yards past the line of scrimmage before taking off and embarrassing the Kentucky defenders on a cutback to find paydirt. Josh Robinson is just as critical to Mississippi State's success as Dak Prescott. I've said all year long that he's the most underrated player in the SEC, but he may be the most underrated player in the country.

Special Teams still leaves a lot to be desired

Evan Sobiesk comes out and drills his first field goal of the game, and all is well. They send Logan Cooke out to kick the next one, which is from 42 yards out. You all know what happened next, but we can't really blame Cooke here. This is a freshman attempting his first career field goal from 42 yards in a hostile environment. He should have never been put into that situation. My guess is Mullen went with Cooke because he has the stronger leg, but Sobiesk should have been given a chance. If MSU doesn't have a kicker that can make a field goal from 40+ yards, they may be in trouble in a close game in Tuscaloosa or Oxford. Another mistake they can't afford to make in those games is another dropped punt return. Jamoral Graham looked comfortable at punt returner to start off the season, but it has quickly gone downhill. He has dropped balls in three straight games now, but luckily he was able to fall back on this one. Don't be surprised to see Jameon Lewis or Will Redmond back there fielding punts next week. They are playing with fire right now with Graham.

1A and 1B has to go

Ok, the mass substitution was all fine and good for most of the season up until now. But let's be honest, the best players should get the majority of the snaps. That's why they are starters to begin with. The 1B concept is fine for the defensive line and maybe even the linebackers at times, but not the secondary. Way too many deep passing plays are being given up, and it's going to cost the Dogs a game if it isn't fixed. The second string safeties and linebackers were exposed by Kentucky yesterday in the passing game. Jay Hughes, Justin Cox, and Kendrick Market should rarely come out of the game from here on out. I also think it's clear that Will Redmond is the best corner on the team, and he deserves more reps. You can't fault the defensive line at all in this game. They sacked Towles seven times and shut down Kentucky's running backs. The mass rotation is still a good idea there, and it keeps everyone fresh. But the 1B secondary players look more like true second stringers, and their reps need to be limited.

This is what championship teams do

Sure, it wasn't a perfect game. Mississippi State came out flat, and Kentucky came ready to play. Every team has these types of games. The fact that it was a road game didn't make the task any easier. Each time Kentucky threatened, the Bulldogs had an answer. The leadership and experience are evident on this team, and that could make a difference in a game like November 15th against Alabama. Every time they get punched in the face, they respond. Look back to the game in Death Valley. Dak Prescott fumbles on the first drive of the second half, and LSU takes it back for a touchdown. State responds with a long touchdown run from Prescott. Against Texas A&M, the Aggies come out and make it look easy on a touchdown drive to start off the game. State responds with a touchdown drive of their own. Two weeks ago, Auburn scores 13 unanswered, after several MSU turnovers, to pull within eight points and has all the momentum. State responds with a touchdown drive to end the half and go up 28-13. This team has a lot of resiliency, and they are very deserving of their #1 ranking.