Kentucky at Mississippi State
When: 4 p.m. (EDT) Saturday (Sept. 21).
Where: Davis Wade Stadium (capacity 61,337) in Starkville, Miss.
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.
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.