Kentucky has quite the challenger coming onto their turf Saturday in the #14-ranked Mississippi St. Bulldogs.
Kentucky and Mississippi State began their yearly SEC East versus West matchup back in 1990. Since then, the Bulldogs hold a 16-8 edge.
Since 2009, Dan Mullen has been the head man for the Bulldogs. He went 8-1 while at Mississippi State against the Cats, including a 5-1 record against Mark Stoops.
For the first time in the rivalry’s history, it will be Joe Moorhead leading the Bulldogs out of the tunnel.
Moorhead was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach for Penn State the two seasons before moving down to Starkville.
There, he coached the eventual NFL No. 2 overall draft pick in Saquon Barkley and helped lead a high powered offense to two straight New Year’s Six bowl appearances.
Now at Mississippi State, Moorhead has his team dominating on both sides of the ball at 3-0 and ranked #14 in the AP Poll.
The team has been dominate, as they rank 6th in the FBS in total defense, allowing just an average of 8.7 points per game. They rank 9th in the FBS in total offense, averaging an even 50 points a game while outscoring opponents an incredible 150-26.
Granted, their opponents have been SF Austin of the FCS, Kansas State, and LA-Lafayette but outscoring opponents by well over 100 points is something to be respected.
A big disadvantage for Kentucky is despite being familiar with many of the Mississippi State players like senior quarterback Nick Fitzgerald, they are not familiar with the coaching staff.
When asked about how much he knew about Morehead Kentucky head coach Mark Stoops said this earlier in the week:
“Not much. I just got to know him a bit through the league and the meetings. I’m really, really impressed with him, really good person. I know he’s a sharp football mind, but I really enjoy being around him. Really pleasant guy. Good guy. We both share an affinity for Italian restaurants, so he gave me one when we were at the meetings.”
A big reason why Kentucky was able to beat Florida, despite that their roster is similar to the one that beat them at Kroger Field last year was that Kentucky knew Dan Mullen well and what he liked to do.
Not knowing much about Moorhead can be possibly problematic, so watching the film is going to be imperative this week as Kentucky moves closer toward their Saturday night date with the Bulldogs.