LEXINGTON, Ky. — The Mississippi State football team turned the ball over six times in a 24-2 loss to the Kentucky Wildcats Saturday night at Kroger Field.
With the loss, the Bulldogs fall to 1-2. The Wildcats pick up their first win of the season and improve to 1-2.
As a team, The Bulldogs totaled 295 yards on 84 plays. The Wildcats totaled just 157 yards on 53 plays.
Quarterback K.J. Costello finished 36 of 55 passing for 232 yards and four interceptions. Costello was replaced in the third quarter by true freshman quarterback Will Rogers before coming back in for Rogers. Rogers completed 8 of 12 passes for 39 yards and two interceptions.
Senior running back Kylin Hill led the Bulldogs with seven rushes for 17 yards and 15 catches for 79 yards. Junior wide receiver Malik Heath added six catches for 52 yards, while junior wide receiver Austin Williams and senior wide receiver JaVonta Payton added five catches apiece for 39 yards and 34 yards, respectively.
The Mississippi State defense, which played well, was led by senior safety Fred Peters and junior safety Marcus Murphy, who both finished with six tackles. Sophomore linebacker Aaron Brule, junior safety Londyn Craft and senior linebacker Erroll Thompson each added five tackles.
Kentucky took a 7-0 lead with 12:13 left in the first half when senior quarterback Terry Wilson connected with redshirt sophomore tight end Keaton Upshaw for a 12-yard score.
Then late in the second quarter, Kentucky redshirt junior defensive end Josh Paschal diagnosed the Bulldogs attempt of a wide receiver screen and intercepted the ball. He returned the pick 76 yards down to the MSU 2-yard line. Redshirt sophomore running back Chris Rodriguez Jr. punched it in to give the Wildcats a 14-0 lead with 3:48 left in the half.
Costello connected with Heath for a 23-yard reception that set the Bulldogs up at the 9-yard line right before halftime, but Costello was picked off by junior linebacker Jamin Davis in the end zone. The Wildcats led 14-0 at the halftime break.
A bad snap on a Kentucky punt with 5:49 left in the third quarter ended in a safety to make it 14-2.
The Bulldogs then had a chance to score early in the fourth quarter, but Rogers threw an interception in the end zone with 14:10 left in the game.
Kentucky increased its lead to 21-2 with 6:25 left in the game when Costello was picked off by junior linebacker Jordan Wright and he brought in back eight yards for a score.
Senior kicker Matt Ruffolo’s 35-yard field goal with 49 seconds left in the game made it 24-2.
The Bulldogs will now return home to welcome No. 21 Texas A&M to Davis Wade Stadium for a 3 p.m. CT game on Saturday. The contest will be televised by SEC Network.