Mark Story

Blue Preview: Your guide to the Kentucky football game at Mississippi State

Kentucky at Mississippi State

When: 4 p.m. (EDT) Saturday (Sept. 21).

Where: Davis Wade Stadium (capacity 61,337) in Starkville, Miss.

TV: SEC Network (play-by-play, Taylor Zarzour; analysis, Matt Stinchcomb; sideline, Alyssa Lang).

Radio: WLAP-AM 630, WBUL-FM 98.1, XM Channel 192, Sirius Channel 106, Internet Channel 963.

Records: Kentucky (2-1, 0-1 SEC); Mississippi State (2-1, 0-0 SEC).

Series: Is tied 23-23. Kentucky has won two of the past three, both in Lexington.

Last meeting: Kentucky upset No. 14 Mississippi State 28-7 on Sept. 22, 2018, at Kroger Field.

Favorite: Mississippi State is favored by 6 points.

The story line

Both Kentucky and Mississippi State are seeking to rebound from disappointing home defeats last week. UK saw a 21-10 fourth-quarter lead turn into a 29-21 loss to Florida; MSU watched a 21-17 fourth-quarter advantage over Kansas State turn to a 31-24 defeat. Whether the Wildcats or the Bulldogs best bounce back could determine the outcome of a game that carries major implications for each team’s season.

The big threat

Mississippi State running back Kylin Hill will be a major test to what has so far been a rock-solid Kentucky run defense. A 5-foot-11, 215-pound junior, Hill is third in the nation in rushing with 431 yards through three games (an average of 143.7 yards a game). The Columbus, Miss., product likely feels he has something to prove vs. UK after being held to 14 yards on four carries by the Cats last season.

On the spot

Mark Stoops. Two years ago, after Kentucky lost to Florida in an unusually dispiriting manner, the Wildcats came back with a very flat performance in a 24-20 win over Eastern Michigan. Last year, after UK fell to Georgia in the game that decided the SEC East championship, the Cats had nothing in the emotional tank the following week at Tennessee and took a 24-7 loss. Coming off the latest Florida heart breaker, it is up to Stoops is to get his team geared back up for an important SEC road game.

Mark Stoops
Kentucky Coach Mark Stoops will try to lead the Wildcats to a win at Mississippi State on Saturday in UK’s first road game of 2019. Over the four seasons prior to this, Kentucky has won its first road game in three years (2015, 2017 and 2018). Mark Mahan

The mood

Is downcast. For the third straight season against Florida, Kentucky appeared for most of the game to be the superior team. For the second time in three years, UK lost anyway. The best way for the Wildcats to make their fans feel better would be to record their first victory in Starkville since 2008.

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Mark Story has worked in the Lexington Herald-Leader sports department since Aug. 27, 1990, and has been a Herald-Leader sports columnist since 2001. I have covered every Kentucky-Louisville football game since 1994, every UK-U of L basketball game but three since 1996-97 and every Kentucky Derby since 1994.
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