Kentucky senior linebacker Micah Johnson, who missed most of practice last week with a strained knee, entered Saturday night's game on the defense's third series and finished with a team-high 11 tackles.
UK Coach Rich Brooks said he could tell Johnson was a little rusty from nearly a week of inactivity.
"He was effective, but he wasn't as focused and wired in because he only got about a half or three-quarters of a practice on Thursday," Brooks said. "Everybody plays better when they have full practices, but we've had some success with guys who have only practiced a few days or one day."
Junior tailback Derrick Locke, who was limited last week with a strained knee, was back in a full-time role and led UK with 103 rushing yards on 17 carries. But Locke also played the second half despite tearing scar tissue in his surgically repaired knee. He injured his other knee last week. Center Jorge Gonzalez played through back spasms and a neck injury.
Chaney goes off
Mississippi State senior linebacker Jamar Chaney had quite a statistical night, leading all tacklers with 15 stops, while adding 11/2 tackles for loss, half a sack, a fumble recovery and an interception.
Cobb big on kickoff returns
Locke led the Southeastern Conference and ranked seventh nationally in kickoff returns coming into the game, but it was Randall Cobb who had a big night against MSU. Cobb had five kickoff returns for 142 yards, including a 46-yarder. His 46-yard punt return late in the second quarter also set up a 38-yard Lones Seiber field goal at the end of the first half that gave UK a 17-10 lead at intermission.
Burden, Maxwell come through again
Linebacker Sam Maxwell grabbed his team-leading third interception of the year when he picked off MSU quarterback Tyson Lee in the third quarter. And a week after a 50-yard interception return touchdown against Louisiana-Monroe, sophomore cornerback Randall Burden had another pick against the Bulldogs.
Defensive end Taylor Wyndham had a career-high six tackles, including 21/2 tackles for loss.