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Meet the Stats: A Full Breakdown of Kentucky-Mississippi State Game

Where are the advantages (and disadvantages) for Kentucky against the Bulldogs

NCAA Football: Mississippi State at Kentucky Mark Zerof-USA TODAY Sports

Kentucky enters Saturday’s contest against Mississippi State as heavy underdogs. At least that’s what the people in Vegas think, but what do the stats say? Let’s take a look:

Passing

Mississippi State:

· 181 Passing Yards-Per-Game (1,086 passing yards in six games)

· 11:7 Touchdown-to-Interception Ratio in on the year

· 53.3% Completion Percentage on 180 pass attempts (30 per game)

Kentucky:

· 211.2 Passing Yards-Per-Game (1,267 passing yards in six games)

· 9:2 Touchdown-to-Interception Ratio

· 62.7% Completion Percentage on 161 pass attempts (26.8 per game)

Nick Fitzgerald entered the 2017-18 college football season as one of the top dual threat QBs in the country. He has proven it so far with 1,024 yards through the air and 446 yards on the ground. He also has seven rushing touchdowns. The big 6’5, 230 lb. quarterback is a tall task for this Kentucky defense, as they have not faced a QB of his caliber so far this year.

Kentucky features one of the SEC’s best in Stephen Johnson. Johnson has been super-efficient, amassing 11 total touchdowns to only two interceptions. Johnson will need to bring his A-game in order for the ‘Cats to overcome Mississippi State.

Rushing

Mississippi State:

· 5.7 Rushing Yards-Per-Attempt on 275 attempts

· 261.7 Rushing-Yards-Per Game (1,570 rushing yards in six games)

· 11 Rushing Touchdowns in six games

Kentucky:

· 3.62 Rushing Yards-Per-Attempt on 229 attempts

· 138.3 Rushing Yards-Per-Game (830 rushing yards in six games)

· 8 Rushing Touchdowns in six games

The dual rushing attack of Mississippi State has been lethal for defenses opposing them, amassing a whopping 1,570 rushing yards in only six games. While Kentucky uses their rushing attack to control the game, Mississippi State uses it to takeover games. Junior Aeris Williams and Freshman Kylin Hill help compliment Nick Fitzgerald in this assault.

Receiving:

Mississippi State:

· Keith Mixon: 16 receptions, 238 yards, 1 TD, Sophomore

· Donald Gray: 17 receptions, 155 yards, 2 TD, Senior

· Deddrick Thomas: 10 receptions, 137 yards, 2 TD, Sophomore

Kentucky:

· Garrett Johnson: 27 receptions, 333 yards, 2 TDs, Senior

· C.J. Conrad: 9 receptions, 195 yards, 3 TDs, Junior

· Kayaune Ross: 10 receptions, 160, 0 TDs, Senior

A pretty even receiving core overall, Kentucky boasts two dynamic threats that could change the game for their offense. Garrett Johnson is one of the better receivers in the SEC, while C.J. Conrad may be the most dynamic tight end in the conference. Mississippi State will have a chance to exploit Kentucky’s penchant to giving up the big play, though they may not have the players to take advantage of it.

Defense:

Mississippi State:

· 19 Points-Per-Game (118 points in six games)

· 155 Passing Yards-Per-Game (930 passing yards in six games)

· 129.8 Rushing Yards-Per-Game (779 rushing yards in six games)

· 6 Passing Touchdowns, 8 Rushing Touchdowns in six games

· 2 Interceptions, 12 Forced Fumbles, 6 Fumble Recoveries

· 30.77% Third Down Conversion Rate

Mississippi State has an impressive defense. They force turnovers, hold teams on third downs, and shutdown teams that aren’t Georgia or Auburn. Kentucky will have a hard time against this defense.

Kentucky:

· 21.3 Points-Per-Game (128 points in six games)

· 288.7 Passing Yards-Per-Game (1,732 passing yards in six games)

· 97 Rushing Yards-Per-Game (583 rushing yards in six games)

· 12 Passing Touchdowns, 5 Rushing Touchdowns

· 6 Interceptions, 9 Forced Fumbles, 7 Fumble Recoveries

· 33.71% Third Down Conversion Rate

Kentucky’s stout run defense will go up against one of the SEC’s best rushing attacks in what should be the most entertaining duel of the matchup. Kentucky plays well in the turnover game, and can play up their competition effectively (see South Carolina). It’s safe to say that the rushing defense will need to be the best they’ve been this year.

X-Factor Stats:

Mississippi State:

· In their two losses Mississippi State has been outscored 80-13; in their four wins they outscore opponents 178-38

· Mississippi State averages over six penalties a game for an average of 47 penalty yards per game (7.8 yards per penalty)

· Opponents have only been in the Mississippi State redzone 11 times in six games

· Mississippi State wins the Time of Possession battle against opponents 32:00 to 28:00

Kentucky:

· Kentucky has hit 13 of 18 field goals, and has converted every point after attempt (18-18)

· Kentucky has a 90% success rate in the redzone (18-20)

· In six games this season, Kentucky has 104 punt return yards (20.8 yard return average)

The game Saturday will be the most competitive and challenging of the year. Mississippi State stacks up almost evenly to the Wildcats, except for State’s success in the run game. Kentucky will have their hands full.

Time: 4pm EST

Where: Wade Davis Stadium, Starkville, Mississippi

Television: SEC Network

Weather: 81 degrees with partially clouded skies

All statistics retrieved from cfbstats.com.