Welcome to gameday, ladies and gentlemen of the Big Blue Nation. The game today represents a test of the Wildcats' commitment to play a "second season" better than the first, and even though the victory over Jacksonville St. represents a decent start, a victory over an SEC team would go a long way to restoring the team's confidence, as well as the fan's.
A few days back, I did a radio interview with For Whom The Cowbell Tolls, the Mississippi St. Bulldogs blog, and talked about the game. It is about 30 minutes long. During that discussion I talked about what it will take for the Wildcats to win this weekend, and what pratfalls we are likely to encounter.
Also from FWTCT, here is their round-table discussion about tonight's game, as well as SEC realignment and our "permanent" rivalry with them.
Kyle Tucker of the Courier-Journal writes about the offensive line, and how it may be finally showing the signs of life that Kentucky needs to compete in the SEC. I hope so, and even though I do understand that the line has struggled with injuries and getting reps together, if that's what was needed, now they should have enough time to prove it. These are experienced guys, and they should not need five games to show that they are good. Today will answer that question.
Tim Couch is going to be the color analyst for the Kentucky-MSU game today:
Couch is the color analyst for Southeastern Conference football games on Fox Sports South. This week, the FSS crew of Bob Rathbun (play-by-play), Kristina Akra (sideline reporter) and Couch are working Mississippi State at Kentucky.
I'm always glad to see Tim Couch, he is a hero at UK and it will be exciting to hear his take on things.
Kentucky 2012 quarterback recruit Patrick Towles continues to impress, completing 14 of 25 passes for 330 yards to lead Highlands to a 63-14 victory over Ryles. Morgan Newton is going to have a real battle on his hands when this kid puts on a Kentucky uniform.
Mark Story writes that the bowl streak is a real motivator for the football team. It needs to be, because for UK to continue, they have to play much, much better football than they have so far this year. Not just a bit better, a lot better, and while that does sometimes happen, usually at this point of the season, teams have established their identity. If that's the case for Kentucky, the black uniforms won't make the game any prettier.
To be fair, though, a victory against MSU would be a huge step in the right direction. It would give UK a real chance to continue the bowl streak when most had given up on them.
Run the ball
Getting a massive lift from backup running back CoShik Williams (22 carries, 148 yards) and with its veteran offensive line finally healthy, Kentucky rolled up 340 yards on the ground against Jacksonville State. For UK to have a chance to win with its limited passing attack, it has to run the ball effectively.
If Kentucky can run the ball effectively against the Mississippi St. defense, they have a chance to win this football game. I have few hopes for the passing game, as at it's best, it has been totally anemic. But if UK can run, the passing game ought to get easier, even if that won't fix bad throws, drops, and locking on to receivers.
So as we move ever closer to game time, let's hope that the black uniforms inspire the Wildcats to better play, and the fans to support this team as they try to turn the Kentucky football ship around and get it moving in the direction of another post-season game.