Once again, we are fortunate enough to have an SBN Blogger who represents our opponent this weekend. His name is Jeremy Flint, and he is the editor of For Whom The Cowbell Tolls, the Mississippi State blogger for SB Nation.
Of course, tomorrow's game is huge for both the Wildcats and the Bulldogs. The Dawgs, at 3-4, still have a shot at a bowl game this year if they can get past Kentucky, although their road is one heck of a lot tougher than UK's. They have Alabama at home, Arkansas away, and the Egg Bowl (Ole Miss) at home after Kentucky. With a win over UK, they would still have to pull some upsets, but their road is not impossible. Also, MSU gets a bye next week to get healthy, and that may help them further.
For Kentucky, the road to bowl eligibility is much easier, even with a loss to MSU, although it is by no means easy. If UK loses to MSU, Vanderbilt becomes a must-win and Tennessee could be also. For the 'Cats, the easiest way to reach a bowl is to win the next three games.
You can find my answers to Jeremy's questions here. My questions and Jeremy's answers follow after the jump.
- First of all, kind of an obvious question: What do the Bulldog fans think of Dan Mullen, and now that he has half an SEC season under his belt, how would you gage the measure of support he is receiving?
Dan is getting great support from the Bulldog faithful. He has brought an energy back to the program that was severely lacking under previous coaches and is giving us glimpses of how great our team can really be by how he is able to do so much with a relatively shallow talent pool.
There are some that complain about some things he has done during the games (fake punt against Florida), but overall, the support is definitely positive and he has the program on the right track.
Anthony Dixon is the third leading rusher in the league, and the Mississippi ground game overall is near the top of the league. Kentucky has done a good job against most teams in the ground game with the exception of Florida. How do you see this ground game matchup from an MSU offensive standpoint?
Kentucky is allowing about 174 yards per game on the ground this year (the most in the league. Combine that with the possibility of Micah Johnson either not playing or not being 100% and I like our chances of running the ball Saturday.
- Derrick Lock and Randall Cobb are #3 and #5 respectively in the league in all-purpose yards. Where do you see these guys posing the biggest threat to MSU's defense -- through the air, on the ground, or in the return game, and why?
We started the season with a pretty weak secondary. Our corners were slow and our saftey was about a foot shorter than most guys he was covering. They have really stepped up their game play recently and the addition of Jonathan Banks to the safety spot has really sparked the defense. Banks was SEC Freshman of the week after picking off Tebow twice in what was his second SEC game to play in.
- What defensive player would UK fans likely not be aware of, but should be? Same question for the offense? Why?
Pernell McPhee will be pressuring the Wildcat offense all night long from the defensive line. McPhee is a 6-4, 275 pound monster that has emerged as one of the best D-linemen in the SEC this year. He had 4 tackles, 1.5 for loss and 1.5 sacks against Florida last week. Your QB will get plenty of him all night long.
Everyone knows about Dixon. He is our workhorse and a big feature on our offense. Two guys that are making an impact this year away from Dixon are Leon Berry and Chad Bumphis. Berry is a JUCO transfer that is playing well at wide receiver and doing an exceptional job as a return man. He has already returned 1 kick-off for a touchdown this year and has over 800 combined return yards.
Bumphis is a true freshman at receiver. He was a highly ranked high school player that was going to Florida until Mullen came to State and he followed. He has tremendous speed and great hands.
- What is the biggest single positive difference in Mississippi State under Dan Mullen compared to Sylvester Croom? Same question for the negative.
I think the biggest positive is the fact that our offensive play. We are currently 63rd in total offense, and that is a big change from being 113th or worse under Croom. Also the fact that we have been able to achieve it with pretty much the same players.
I am trying to think of a negative, but can't really find one.
- Who wins Saturday and why?
I think it will be a close game. Both teams seems to be pretty evenly matched. I will, of course, give the Bulldogs the edge, but maybe by a field goal.
I want to thank Jeremy for doing the blogswap. It was enjoyable as always.