The Kentucky Wildcats get crushed in Starkville as they lost to Mississippi State 31-17.
After an arm punt on the first offensive drive of the game, you got the feeling that all of the momentum in this game had already shifted to the Bulldogs. Fortunately, Brad White’s unit got one of the few stops they were able to get all night.
Then the fireworks happened, as Josh Ali got the scoring started with a 74-yard punt return touchdown.
The rest of the first-half was one to forget as the Cats were out-gained on the ground and through the air. Definitely not a winning formula.
Mississippi State controlled both sides of the ball as they dinked and dunked their way down the field on offense, and kept Will Levis guessing with their different schemes and pressures on defense. Overall, the half can be summarized by the two throws that Levis missed on that would have have led to touchdowns, and would have helped close the flood gates in the second half.
The second half started off just like the first ended with the Bulldogs taking everything that the defense would give them, as Will Rogers marched the offense down the field before a couple penalties got them off the tracks.
The Kentucky offense was off-track all night as they left their defense hanging out to dry with three-and-out after three-and-out. But that isn't even the main concern of this new-look unit. It’s turnovers.
Will Levis now has nine interceptions on the season, and Chris Rodriguez continues to keep pushing himself out of the game with fumble after fumble. The ‘Cats were able to win some close games at home as they lost the turnover battle, but when you go on the road against a decent opponent you are basically handing the win to the other team.
This loss will end any chance this Kentucky team had at making this year’s playoff.
It’s a tough one to swallow, but also puts into perspective that this Kentucky program is still a few steps away from entering another tier of the conference.
When you watched the game tonight there is only one player that continued to play as they have all season, and that’s Wan’Dale Robinson. He finished the night with 9 catches for 79 yards, which is good enough for an average of 8.8 per catch.
He has been the security blanket for Levis all season, and he continued to show that he has the skill-set to make some noise on Sundays for the years to come. For Kentucky to finish out this season strong they will need Robinson to continue to be the playmaker that he is, but will really need another receiver to step up, so Liam Coen can fully utilize him.