clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Kentucky defense previews Mississippi State

The ninth-ranked offense in the country will visit Kroger Field Saturday night.

Jason Marcum - Sea of Blue

Kentucky’s biggest game of the 2018 season so far is just a few days away.

The Mississippi St. Bulldogs are in their way into town. A Kentucky win almost guarantees that for the first time in the Mark Stoops era the team would be ranked in the AP Top 25 and Coaches Poll.

To jump into the polls, Kentucky needs to take down a team that so far ranks ninth in the country in total offense and has averaged 50 points per game.

Defensive coordinator Matt House knows this matchup will be tough.

“They’re a great offense. They’re well balanced. I think they’re averaging 300 yards rushing and 300 yards passing through three games. It will be a good challenge.”

The top player for the Bulldogs is quarterback Nick Fitzgerald. The senior signal caller will be making his third start against the Wildcats in his career. He is 1-1 with 236 passing yards.

Last season, Fitzgerald killed the Cats on the ground, running for 107 yards and two touchdowns.

His versatility took safety Mike Edwards by surprise.

“I remember when we played them down here two years ago that he was a great player. He kind of surprised me on the speed. I thought he was a pocket passing quarterback.”

Linebacker Josh Allen talked about how the team plans to take Fitzgerald down this time.

“I tackled the guy from Central Michigan; he was pretty big. Just gotta hit him.”

In their previous matchups, Kentucky has never sacked Fitzgerald, which caught Allen by surprise.

“I didn't even know that. It is what it is. I’m going to do my best to get back there, and we all will do our best to get back there and try to change that.”

Despite the offense centering around Fitzgerald. Edwards pointed out he’s not the only playmaker to watch out for.

“They have playmakers all around. Their running back is pretty good. one of the top rushers in the SEC. They have some pretty good players on the outside.”

The two players Edwards were referring to were running back Kylin Hill and wide receiver Stephen Guidry.

Hill has 293 rushing yards and three touchdown runs so far.

As for the 6’4 Guidry, Edwards offered this:

“He is a pretty good size, good hands and a tough player in the slot to have to guard.”

Kentucky knows this game won’t be easy but also understands the importance.

“We’re here to win and we’re going to come in with a mindset to win,” said Allen. “We’re not thinking of it as the biggest game of our career or biggest game of our life. We’re thinking of it as Game 4 and as a game that we got to win, and that’s really important to what we have to do in the long run.”

Kentucky’s defense has allowed 15.3 points per game, 35 points less than what Mississippi State has averaged this year. Will see Saturday night which team can get closer to their average.