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Kentucky vs. Mississippi State Report Card

Game grades for the Kentucky Wildcats after their 28-7 win over the Mississippi State Bulldogs.

Jason Marcum - Sea of Blue

Kentucky entered Saturday night’s matchup with Mississippi State as 9.5-point underdogs. However, the point spread was opposite of the outcome, as the Wildcats blew out the Bulldogs, 28-7, in a breakout performance.

Here’s how each unit fared in the victory.

Quarterback: C

Through four starts, Terry Wilson is 4-0 but hasn’t had that great of a start to his first season with Kentucky. While Benny Snell is having one of the best starts in school history, along with the defense playing lights out, Wilson throwing just two touchdowns to four interceptions with a QBR of just 52.3 won’t be enough to sustain Kentucky’s early success. They’ll need their quarterback to play much more efficiently.

Running Backs: A+

What else is there to say about Heisman trophy candidate Benny Snell Jr.? His 165 yards rushing and four touchdowns (the third setting the school’s total touchdown record) were just the latest of high accomplishments by the junior. His backup, AJ Rose, has also had a breakout first season in limited opportunities. Kentucky running back core will be a perfect compliment to their ferocious defense down the stretch.

Offensive Line: A

Kentucky absolutely dominated Mississippi State in the trenches. While the defensive line grabbed the headlines, Kentucky’s rushing attack was led by their offensive line and shouldn’t be slept on. After losing starting left tackle Landon Young to a knee injury, expectations for the left side of Kentucky’s line lessened. However, Bunchy Stallings and the emergence of EJ Price have led the way for one of the most dominant offensive fronts in the SEC.

Defensive Line: A+

Josh Allen & company had their best defensive performance of their career, holding veteran quarterback Nick Fitzgerald and the Bulldogs rushing attack to just seven points and 201 yards of offense. Kentucky’s defense ranks in the top-15 via points allowed in the NCAA and in the top-3 in the SEC. With talented opponents like South Carolina and Texas A&M coming up for Kentucky, the pass rush of Kentucky will be essential.

Linebackers: A+

Allen also dropped into coverage on Saturday, breaking up a pass. However, the duo of Jordan Jones and Kash Daniel locked down the run game to hold Mississippi State at just 56 yards and two yards per carry. Jones has also been productive in pass coverage, with Daniel leading the group that has kept Kentucky in every game en route to their 4-0 start.

Defensive Backs: B+

Lonnie Johnson gave up a crucial 3rd down conversion in the first half to set up the Bulldogs for the first score of the game. However, after that one mistake, Kentucky only gave up three drives that went for more than four plays. Darius West led the way tackling Bulldogs, logging nine with two pass breakups. Redshirt freshman Tyrell Ajian also had his shine, making the most of his opportunity with a game-sealing interception. With a consistent pass rush, Kentucky’s secondary will be poised for a strong season.

Special Teams: C+

After a quality day kicking the ball last week, Miles Butler whiffed on a very makeable field goal early in the first half. It didn’t affect the outcome, but will certainly keep a bug in the back of head coach Mark Stoops’ mind on potentially “going for it” on more fourth-down opportunities. The unit’s coverage on punts & kickoffs, though, continues to be consistent.

Kentucky’s roster, aside from placekicker & quarterback, is looking better than ever. Improvements from Miles Butler and Terry Wilson will have this Kentucky team primed for an even more sensational season down the stretch.