Mark Story

First scouting report: Kentucky vs. Mississippi State

Benny Snell on Mississippi State: ‘I’m going to run on any team’

UK running back Benny Snell says he's looking forward to the Cats' game against Mississippi State at Kroger Field on Saturday night.
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UK running back Benny Snell says he's looking forward to the Cats' game against Mississippi State at Kroger Field on Saturday night.

An early look ahead to Kentucky’s next football game:

The opponent

Kentucky (3-0, 1-0 SEC) will face Mississippi State (2-0, 0-0), its annual opponent from the SEC West, Saturday, Sept. 22, at 7 p.m. at Kroger Field. The Wildcats beat Murray State 48-10 on Saturday afternoon. The Bulldogs were to face Louisiana on Saturday evening at 7:30.

Most recent meeting

Nick Fitzgerald threw for two touchdowns and ran for 115 yards and a score as Mississippi State obliterated Kentucky 45-7 Oct. 21, 2017, at Davis-Wade Stadium in Starkville. The Bulldogs held UK star Benny Snell to 18 yards on seven carries. It was UK’s most lopsided defeat of last season and tied for the third largest margin of defeat in the Mark Stoops coaching era.

Know your foe

1. Under former coach Dan Mullen, Mississippi State went 8-1 against Kentucky. UK’s sole victory in that time came in 2016 in Lexington, 40-38, on Austin MacGinnis’ game-winning 51-yard field goal as time expired. New Bulldogs head man Joe Moorhead came to Starkville from the position of offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach on James Franklin’s coaching staff at Penn State. The Nittany Lions scored at least 30 points in 21 of the 26 games in which Moorhead ran their offense.

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Mississippi State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald threw for two touchdowns and ran for 115 yards the last time the Bulldogs met Kentucky, a 45-7 MSU victory last season in Starkville, Miss. Michael Woods AP

2. Kentucky has had no answer in past years for the running of MSU quarterback Nick Fitzgerald. In two career starts vs. the Cats, the 6-foot-5, 230-pound senior has gone over 100 yards rushing both times and has 232 career yards on the ground against Kentucky.

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3. Mississippi State returned 17 starters (nine offense, eight defense) from last season’s 9-4 team that beat Louisville 31-27 in the TaxSlayer Bowl. However, last year’s starting running back, senior Aeris Williams (ran for 1,107 yards in 2017) has been supplanted by sophomore Kylin Hill. A 5-11, 215-pound product of Columbus, Miss., Hill has run for 261 yards and three touchdowns this season and riddled Kansas State for 211 yards in MSU’s 31-10 win at K-State.

Mark Story: (859) 231-3230; Twitter: @markcstory

Join the University of Kentucky football team as they walk to Kroger Field before their September 15 game against Murray State.

Kentucky beats Murray State 48-10 Saturday at Kroger Field in Lexington. The Wildcats are 3-0 with a game against No. 16 Mississippi State next on the schedule.

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