Four Keys To A Kentucky Victory Over Mississippi State

Four Keys To A Kentucky Victory Over Mississippi State
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Two undefeated teams meet on Saturday night when Kentucky hosts Mississippi State at 7:00 on ESPN2. The Cats are looking to start a season 4-0 for the first time since 2008. However, they face their toughest battle of the young season against Joe Moorhead’s squad. Not only will we give you Four Keys To A Kentucky Victory Over Mississippi State we will make a prediction on the game.

Four Keys To A Kentucky Victory Over Mississippi State

Contain Nick Fitzgerald

Throughout Mark Stoops’ tenure at Kentucky, dual-threat quarterbacks have given the Wildcats fits. From Dak Prescott to Lamar Jackson and Joshua Dobbs Kentucky has yet to come up with a way to stop them.

Fitzgerald fits in nicely on the list of quarterbacks who have done well against the Cats. Through two previous games against Kentucky the senior has run for over 100 yards both times. In last season’s 45-7 rout in Starkville Fitzgerald ran for 115 yards and two touchdowns. He also threw for 155 yards and another score.

Two seasons ago when the Cats beat Dan Mullen for the first time 40-38 ,Kentucky held Fitzgerald to only 81 yards passing with an interception. However, he did run for 107 yards and two touchdowns. Matt House’s defense has to keep the junior in check for any chance of victory.

Control The Ball On The Ground

In last season’s blowout loss the Bulldog defense held Benny Snell to only 18 yards. That is the lowest total ever for Snell in a regular season game. However two years ago the junior went for 128 yards and a score in the Kentucky win.

Between Snell, Terry Wilson and A.J. Rose Kentucky needs to rush for over 200 yards against the Bulldogs. Keeping Fitzgerald and company off the field is paramount for a Wildcat victory.

Win The Battle At The Line Of Scrimmage

Kentucky comes into Saturday’s game averaging 282 yards rushing per game. However the Mississippi State defense allows only 82 yards rushing. In addition their 33 tackles for loss ranks first in the SEC and third in the nation.

On the other side of the ball the Wildcat defense has been strong in 2018. Led by Josh Allen Kentucky gives up only 300 yards and 15 points per contest.

They will be tested by Fitzgerald, Aeris Williams and Kylin Hill. In three games MSU averages 587 yards an 50 points per contest. Whomever wins the battle up front should get the win.

Limit Turnovers

As we look at Four Keys For A Kentucky Victory Over Mississippi State the final one is turnovers. In the season’s first six quarters the Cats gave the ball up six times. However in the last six they have no giveaways.

In the past Wilson has had a tendency to be turnover prone. Against one of the nation’s best defenses they can ill afford to cough up the ball. Giving the Bulldogs good field position off miscues would make for a long evening for Kentucky.

Who Wins On Saturday?

After sitting out the season’s first game due to suspension, Fitzgerald has played like a Heisman contender. In last week’s 56-10 win over Louisiana-Lafayette he had 350 yards of total offense and six touchdowns.

On the other side of the ball Kentucky will use the run set up the passing game. Never one to shy away from a little trash talk Snell told reporters “he can run on any team.”

After Hill responded on Twitter with the laughing emoji then deleted his post Snell again had to chime in.

Wilson has gotten better in every game as evidenced by his 163 yards passing last week and more importantly no turnovers. Starting cornerback Jamal Peters is out for the Bulldogs. The combination of Lynn Bowden or Tavin Richardson needs to have a big game in order for the Cats to win.

Kentucky took a huge step forward in the program with the win over Florida. The next step is a win over the 14th ranked Bulldogs. Mississippi State has won eight of the last nine games against the Wildcats in this battle of permanent SEC rivals. Kentucky just missed the Top 25 last week and a win here not only gets them ranked but goes a long way to the first eight win regular season since 1984.

This is shaping up to be quite a game between two teams who are very similar. It is going to be interesting to see how Snell does against Mississippi State because this is no ordinary front seven. Both teams feel they are not getting the respect they deserve. Even if Kentucky does all four of these things on Saturday it still may not be enough. It should be a fun game to watch but ultimately the Bulldogs simply have too many weapons.

Mississippi State 31  Kentucky 21

Thanks for checking out Four Keys To A Kentucky Victory Over Mississippi State here at Last Word On College Football. Next week the Cats look to make history with a fifth consecutive win over South Carolina.