clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Kentucky Football: 4 Takeaways from brutal loss to Mississippi State Bulldogs

New, comments

“Brutal” is actually an understatement.

NCAA Football: Kentucky at Mississippi State Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Two Saturdays ago, as the Kentucky Wildcats were struggling to pull away against a 1-3 Missouri team, I asked myself, “Why does every Kentucky game have to be so tense to watch? Why can’t one of them just be a blowout?”

I wish I had been more specific.

The ‘Cats suffered a brutal 45-7 loss to the Mississippi State Bulldogs coming off of a bye week. This was a possible win for Big Blue Nation had everything gone right. But the Bulldogs’ solid offense, home-field advantage and desire for revenge — combined with Kentucky’s lackluster performance — were too much for the ‘Cats to overcome.

The series between these Southeastern Conference teams was tied 22-22 coming into the game. Last season, Kentucky kicker Austin MacGinnis sealed a nail-biting 40-38 win with a 51-yard kick.

Mississippi State surely responded this year. Here are the takeaways:

Today, Kentucky’s football team looked familiar

While outsiders might’ve been impressed by the Wildcats’ 5-1 record in an always-tough SEC, Big Blue Nation knows this story all too well. Once the ‘Cats dive deeper into conference play, the team record tends to dwindle.

It started with a Bulldog touchdown halfway into the first quarter, and the Wildcats never could grab a lead.

Some of Kentucky’s players looked like they were still on a bye week. Benny Snell Jr. notched only 18 yards. Stephen Johnson threw two picks. Kentucky’s rushing defense, normally touted, allowed 282 yards.

How many Kentucky defenders does it take to tackle a quarterback?

Bulldogs quarterback Nick Fitzgerald made it look easy as he ran wide-open paths and broke tackles. He was the team’s leading rusher with 115 yards. That’s right, by himself, he logged the same amount of rushing yards as the entire Kentucky offense combined. He even ran for two touchdowns.

The weirdest touchdown ever

Well, Kentucky’s first (and only) score was ... different.

Just when it looked like Johnson would sail out of bounds, he fumbled the ball. It then fell into the hands of Blake Bone who conveniently was camped in the end zone.

This very sloppy trip to the end zone really embodies just how sloppy this game was for the Wildcats.

Next week can’t be like this

No, Tennessee isn’t the greatest team in the conference. In fact, the Volunteers lost to Alabama with the same 45-7 score. But if Kentucky plays like it did today, Rocky Top has a chance to prevail next week.

... And that just can’t happen.

It’s important for Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops to learn from this terrible, terrible (Did I mention it was terrible?) loss and pump up his team for next week’s rivalry match-up. With home-field advantage and a chip on its shoulder, Kentucky should at least have some momentum.

Let’s hope today’s game was just a post-bye-week fluke.

Kentucky (5-2) faces the Tennessee Volunteers (3-3) at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 28, at Kroger Field.