UK Football

Thumbs up, thumbs down: How Mississippi State beat Kentucky.

A recap, talking points and key stats from the Cats' loss at Commonwealth Stadium:

FIRST HALF

Summary: Top-ranked Mississippi State carved up the UK defense for 82 yards and a quick touchdown on its first possession. The Cats answered when Demarco Robinson took a Patrick Towles pass for a 67-yard score.

After Braylon Heard fumbled at his own 19, the UK defense came up big by limiting State to a field goal. A UK field goal at 6:18 cut it to 17-10, then State missed a 42-yard field goal. UK had a chance to even matters up but the offense did not respond. A Josh Forrest interception ended another State drive. Halftime score: Mississippi State 17, Kentucky 10.

Thumbs up: Really nice footwork staying inbounds by Demarco Robinson on his 67-yard touchdown catch.

Thumbs down: Against a State team with a powerful offense, UK needed more than 10 points.

SECOND HALF

Summary: UK continued a pattern of moving the ball when two scores down, but unable to when one score behind. A costly third-down offsides penalty kept a State drive alive, and it was 24-10. Back came UK, behind some determined running by Towles. His 28-yard run got the drive going, then he capped it off with a 10-yard touchdown run on third down. After a bad Kentucky offensive series, some poor UK tackling let State go 81 yards in three plays for a 31-17 lead. Towles did it this time with his arm, throwing a perfect strike to Javess Blue for a 59-yard score and UK was back within a touchdown. Josh Robinson (198 rushing yards) rambled 73 yards and State led 38-24 early in the fourth quarter. Towles kept it interesting, running for a 4-yard score to make it 38-31 with 2:31 left. Hope ended when State returned the onside kick 61 yards for a score. Final: Mississippi State 45, Kentucky 31.

Thumbs up: Heisman contender Dak Prescott came into the game known for his ability to run and pass. Towles matched him in both areas.

Thumbs down: Look for Mark Stoops to throw in some extra tackling drills this week. Kentucky missed tackle after tackle.

TALKING POINTS

■ UK missed some opportunities on both sides of the ball but still made it competitive. A little cleaner game could get a win next week at Missouri.

■ Between the tackles, Kentucky was overwhelmed.

■ With another year under his belt, could Towles (477 total yards) be the 2015 version of Dak Prescott?

NUMBERS DON'T LIE

5: Number of plays on State's opening drive that gained more than 10 yards.

1: Number of catches by a UK tight end since the Aug. 30 opener.

Ronnie Shields had a catch in the second quarter.

23/76: Number of carries and yards gained for Towles. UK running backs had nine carries for 27 yards.

0: Number of penalties in the first half.

0: Fourth-down conversions in the game (three attempts).

65: Seconds it took State to go three plays and make it 31-17.

64: Seconds it took State to go three plays and make it 38-24.

9: Number of UK plays that did not result in a Towles run, pass or catch. UK ran 76 plays.

10: Number of UK players who caught passes.

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