clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Kentucky @ Mississippi State -- Open Game Thread

Btn_football_medium Btn_chat_medium

This is the official A Sea of Blue Open Game Thread for the Kentucky Wildcats @ Mississippi State Bulldogs game. Be sure to take a look at Ken's excellent analysis of this game for all the skinny on how it should shape up.

To say that UK needs this game is to understate the obvious. The 'Cats need it for all kinds of reasons -- Bowl eligibility, to earn at least a modicum of respect in the SEC, and to undo some of the considerable damage done by the mugging the Wildcats suffered in Gainsville last weekend. From the wreckage of that game, Kentucky must rise like the Phonenix and resurrect hope for this season, and winning this game would accomplish much of that.

Mississippi State, on the other hand, is really in a tough place when it comes to getting to a bowl for the second straight year. This is truly a must-win game for them, and then they must go 2-1 against Arkansas, Alabama in Tuscaloosa and Ole Miss in Oxford. Not exactly impossible, but significantly more difficult than they would like, and that would only get them eligible.

Both these teams are very similar -- defensive-minded and offensively-challenged -- so we can expect a relatively low-scoring game. With a true freshman Randall Cobb starting at quarterback for the first time, we have no idea what to expect on offense, but if the defense continues to perform well (discounting the Florida game) we should have a chance against the Bulldogs.

Five things that UK must do to win:

  1. Improve significantly on special teams -- MSU will certainly believe, after the Florida game, that they can get to our kicks. If that happens, it will demoralize UK and make a victory very difficult.
  2. Move the football -- UK must move the football on the MSU defense, which is very stout.
  3. Field position -- Move the ball into position to force MSU to go 80 yards or more on offense.
    Get 3 and outs -- UK's defense is the strongest part of the team, and it needs to dominate the MSU offense today. But it also needs to stay off the field, it is still banged up.
    Score in the red zone -- this season has been very difficult for UK against SEC competition when it comes to putting points on the board. Cobb must move the team into the red zone and come away with points.

Five things that could cost UK this game:

  1. Lack of confidence -- The massacre in Gainesville has definitely put a dent in the confidence of this team. They need to put that debacle in the past.
  2. Turnovers to a short field -- Recall the blocked kicks and fumbled punt returns. 'Nuff said.
  3. Impotent offense -- If Cobb or Hartline can't move this team, Kentucky will not win.
  4. Allowing MSU to run -- If MSU gets a rhythm on offense and runs the football effectively, UK is in trouble.
  5. 3 and outs -- the UK defense is too banged up to handle a lot of these today. We need to hold the football on offense for at least 8 or 9 plays every possession.

That's it. Enjoy the game, I'll be listening in on the radio. Go 'Cats!