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Kentucky linebacker Kash Daniel doesn’t start at Mississippi State, ending 10-game streak

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Game day: Kentucky at Mississippi State

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University of Kentucky linebacker Kash Daniel start in the Wildcats’ game at Mississippi State on Saturday, snapping a streak of 10 consecutive starts dating back to last season. He also was not designated as a team captain for the game’s pregame coin flip.

Daniel, a senior who’s second on the team with 19 total tackles this season, was the subject of controversy in the week leading up to Saturday’s game. Footage from UK’s 29-21 loss to Florida circulated online that showed Daniel apparently twisting the ankle of Gators quarterback Kyle Trask after a failed two-point conversion attempt late in the fourth quarter. Before more conclusive footage emerged, Daniel denied that he intentionally tried to hurt Trask.

Chris Oats, a redshirt freshman, started in Daniel’s place. Daniel did not play until the second quarter on Saturday.

UK head coach Mark Stoops told reporters Thursday that he addressed the issue internally and that Daniel would play against the Bulldogs, but did not specify that he would start the game. Daniel has appeared in every game since his freshman season, matching long snapper Blake Best for the most consecutive games played (42) among current Wildcats.

The decision to hold him out was Stoops’ call, not the Southeastern Conference’s. Stoops said after the game that he continued to mull over the situation following his final meeting with reporters during the week.

“Myself and Kash, we have great respect for this game,” Stoops said. “We’re going to honor the game and do things as good as we possibly can. That was 100 percent my call, to not have him be a captain and not have him play to start the game.”

Daniel’s last non-start was the consequence of a targeting ejection in the third quarter against South Carolina last year. He missed the first half of UK’s game at Texas A&M the next week.

Josh Moore is in his first year covering the University of Kentucky football team and in his fifth year reporting for the Lexington Herald-Leader, where he’s been employed since 2009. Moore, a Martin County native, graduated from UK with a B.A. in Integrated Strategic Communication and English in 2013. He’s a huge fan of the NBA, Power Rangers and country music.
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