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College Football Week 8: Kentucky Wildcats at Mississippi State Bulldogs Preview

Kentucky tries to prove that they can run with the best

NCAA Football: Missouri at Kentucky Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

The Kentucky Wildcats (5-1) will roll into Davis Wade Stadium on Saturday to take on the Mississippi St. Bulldogs (4-2).

Kentucky defeated Missouri 40-34 in their last game out. A total barrage of offense in this matchup, as the teams combined for 1,054 yards of total offense.

Mississippi State bounced back with a 31-10 win over BYU last week. Prior to that, the Bulldogs were bulldozed by fellow SEC foes, Auburn and Georgia.

Kentucky’s offense has look very solid this year. Senior quarterback Stephen Johnson, has only two interceptions and a 63.9 completion percentage in 2017. In their last matchup against Missouri, Johnson threw for 298 yards and two touchdowns. His partner in the backfield, Benny Snell Jr., ran asserted his dominance over Missouri as well. Snell added to his solid 2017 campaign by rushing for 117 yards and two scores.

Offense has not been the problem for the Wildcats. Scoring an average of 27.5 points per game should win you most football games. However, when you are allowing 385.8 yards per game, keeping points off the board can be difficult.

Kentucky has allowed at least 20 points per game in their last three contests. The Wildcats are allowing under 100 rush yards per game, which bodes well against the run heavy offense of Mississippi State.

On the topic of defense, the Bulldogs have the 10th best defense in the country. They are allowing just 285 yards of offense per game. Mississippi State’s pass defense has been stellar, allowing 150 yards per game through the air and corralling two interceptions. Not to mention, the Bulldogs have recovered six fumbles this year.

Mississippi State’s run game has been excellent all year long. Quarterback Nick Fitzgerald has been the leader of the run game for the Bulldogs. Fitzgerald has 446 rush yards and seven rushing touchdowns. Fitzgerald has struggled with turnovers, however he has played against some top defenses in the country.

Wide receiver Keith Mixon has been Fitzgerald’s favourite target in 2017. Mixon has 16 catches for 238 yards and a touchdown. The 5’8” sophomore’s best game came against LSU where he caught six catches for 97 yards. Fitzgerald and Mixon will have to find consistency early so that their offense are able to stretch the field. Success in the pass game will open up the way for their dominant run game.

As big underdogs, Kentucky still has the ability to compete with Mississippi State. Kentucky has lost their sole game by one point to the Florida Gators. The Wildcats depth has helped them succeed in big games and it should help them again in Mississippi this weekend.

Here’s a look back at last year’s win over the Bulldogs: