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Mark Stoops is 0-4 in Starkville: Why that will change this year

Unlike the previous meetings, UK is favored this time.

Jason Marcum - Sea of Blue

There are several SEC stadiums the Kentucky Wildcats have visited every other year under Mark Stoops and has won in all but two of them. While they’ve won in the Swamp, Neyland, Nashville, Williams-Brice, and Faurot, some of them several times, they are 0-4 in both Starkville and Athens.

Georgia, they haven’t beaten at all since 2009, but Mississippi State is a team they’ve found a lot of success against in recent years—at home. They’ve won the last three games in Lexington...and lost the last seven in the Magnolia State. It was 2008 when they last won there.

Blame it on the cowbells.

This year there are several reasons to believe that will change, but things can go wrong for the ‘Cats there so easily.

1. Kentucky is the favorite

UK is the top-15 team, and Mississippi State isn’t this year. Most years the Wildcats haven’t been very good when visiting Starkville and have had to fight an uphill battle, but Kentucky has clearly demonstrated that their team is superior to Mike Leach’s Air Raiders. If their losing streak continues Saturday, it will be Kentucky’s own fault.

2. It’s at night

Kentucky is nocturnal—in their last two-day games, they’ve lost to Georgia and almost lost to FCS Chattanooga. They have won six straight night games dating all the way back to a 4th & goal defeat against Tennessee way back in 2019. Since then, they’ve beaten Mississippi State, South Carolina, Missouri, South Carolina, Florida, and LSU. Those are all SEC schools, and UK’s beaten them all under the bright lights.

3. UK has a great passing defense

Remember last year when UK almost never let teams score passing touchdowns? It’s stayed largely that way this season, with teams finding out that they have to earn their scores on the ground.

Well that’s not something Mike Leach’s teams are built to do, and if the Kentucky secondary is doing their usual thing they’ll be forcing a lot of Bulldog punts and interceptions, just like last year when they squashed Hail State 24-2 while snagging six picks with one a pick six.

On paper, Kentucky should win this game. History might have something to say about it after the bye week though.

History and a whole lotta clanging cowbells.