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From UK Athletics 

KENTUCKY POSTGAME NOTES

Mississippi State at Kentucky

Kroger Field, Lexington, Ky.

Sept. 22, 2018

FINAL SCORE: Kentucky 28, No. 14 Mississippi State 7

Team Records and Series Information

  • Kentucky is 4-0, 2-0 in the Southeastern Conference. Mississippi State is 3-1, 0-1 in the SEC.
  • The all-time series between Kentucky and Mississippi State is now tied, 23-23. Kentucky has won one in a row.
  • Next for the Wildcats: on Sept. 29, UK plays host to South Carolina. Game time is at 7:30 p.m. and it will be televised on the SEC Network.

Team Notes

  • Kentucky is 4-0 for the first time since 2008.
  • UK is 2-0 in SEC play for the first time since 1977.
  • After winning at then-No. 25 Florida two weeks ago, this is the first time UK has won back-to-back games against ranked opponents since 1977.
    • First win over a Top-15 team since No. 11 Louisville in the 2016 regular-season finale.
    • First home win over a Top-15 team since No. 1 LSU in 2007.
    • First home win over a ranked team since 2015 vs. Missouri.
    • First win over a ranked Mississippi State team since 1953.
    • Largest margin of victory (21 points) over a ranked opponent since a 21-0 win over Ole Miss in 1993.
      • It is also the fewest points allowed vs. a ranked opponent since that Ole Miss game.
      • It is the fewest yards allowed vs. a ranked opponent since Ole Miss also got 201 yards in that 1993 game.
    • Largest margin of victory against a Top-15 ranked opponent since a 34-7 win over No. 14 Tulane in 1973.
  • UK is 12-4 in its last 16 home games. It is the best stretch since 2006-08.
  • UK is 13-5 in its last 18 regular season games. That’s the best 18-game regular-season stretch since Nov. 20, 1976, to Oct. 21, 1978 (13-4-1).
  • UK is 21-5 in September over the last five seasons.
  • UK has allowed zero points in the third quarter this season, first time to do that in the first four games since at least 1980.
  • Mississippi State entered the game averaging 311.7 rushing yards per game but the Kentucky defense limited the Bulldogs to just 56 rushing yards on 28 carries for a 2.0 yards per carry average.
  • 56 rushing yards is the fewest vs. a ranked opponent since holding Louisville to 55 rushing yards in 2002.
  • The Bulldogs threw for 145 yards, which is the fewest passing yards in a game for MSU this season.
  • MSU entered the game averaging 587.7 yards of total offense per game, but the Wildcats held them to just 201 yards of total offense on Saturday, including only 53 in the decisive second half.
  • UK limited MSU to seven points and 201 total yards, the best defensive showing against an SEC team since holding Vanderbilt to seven points and 139 yards in a 17-7 win in 2014.
  • This was the fewest points allowed vs. Mississippi State since a 13-7 win in 2005.
  • UK allowed 11 first downs, fewest since Vanderbilt had eight in 2014.
    • That was the fewest first downs vs. a ranked opponent since allowing 11 vs. Georgia in 1997.

Box Score 

From UK Athletics 

Mississippi State Coach Joe Moorhead

Opening Statement…
“First and foremost, I’d like to give credit to Coach Stoops and his staff and his program. Very hard fought win and an excellent job this season, 4-0, 2-0 in the SEC. So you have to tip your cap to them. Very disappointed in our performance tonight and the first sum comes to me. Ultimately I’m responsible for the product put on the field. We talked all week about the things necessary for us to win this game and that was toughness, the second word was composure, third was effort and the fourth was precision and I thought we played hard and I thought we played physical. Obviously by the number of penalties, 16 and the number of pre-possession and post-possession, those aren’t the type of things you can do to win games. Thought we did play hard and certainly in all three phases didn’t execute with the precision we needed to be a team of Kentucky’s caliber.”

On the offense line not living up to standard of the first three games, how much was UK and how much was MSU…
“I think it was a combination of both. They do a real good job with their scheme. Obviously 41 (Josh Allen) is an excellent player. The nose and both tackles are big space eaters that allow the linebackers to move around so you know we’ve got to give ourselves a chance by staying on schedule and not getting behind the sticks and I think you saw a lot of that today with false start penalties and things that didn’t put us in very manageable third down conversion distances. So I’d say it was a combination of both.”

On excessive personal penalties …
“It was a lack of composure. Certainly we corrected it from week two. We were on the right path last week but it was an emotional game. We talked in the preseason about showing out emotions without being emotional and we didn’t do that today. Again, that’s all on me and my responsibility. we’ll get it fixed.”

On getting off to a hot start …
Hopefully, it would’ve turned out very different, get a stop on defense, get the ball back, have a positive first down play then we get a post possession personal foul, that puts us at second and extra-long and get a completion on third down becomes a longer distance to get and those things kind of trickle throughout the game.”

On vibe on the sideline when the team had a couple of chances to tie…
“I think the vibe was positive up until it hit 21-7, then 28-7. And certainly for us to operate our best offensively we need to run the ball successfully and we wouldn’t necessarily be able to do that and struggle a little bit with protection. Had some drops, had some misfires, just a combination of things that leads to the outcome we saw today.

 

 

Mississippi State Student Athletes

#32 Brian Cole, S

On your interception being a highlight of the night…

“Like I always say, it’s the 11 guys that are on the field. We run a big box route and that’s what we run a lot. And honestly, what gave it away was the Kentucky sideline, that’s what made me get my head up and turn around and look. God takes care of the rest.”

On the feeling in the locker room postgame…

“We are moving on already. Tomorrow’s a new day and we just have to keep working and pushing and getting better. We are looking forward to next week.”

On if defense was more emotional this week…

“Yeah. We beat ourselves up a lot. Kentucky was making plays as well, but we were letting [the mistakes we were making] get the best of us.”

 

#7 Nick Fitzgerald, QB

On what you are feeling postgame…

“It sucks. No one ever likes losing. I’ll credit it to them, they came out and played. We really just came out here and beat ourselves. You’re not going to win a game with 16 penalties for a 150 yards or whatever it is. I feel like we were constantly behind the sticks on offense. It was kind of an uphill battle and you’re not going to win that way.”

On how being behind the sticks affected what the offense did or the play calling perspective…

“I feel like we really didn’t establish a running game, so we had to focus on passing. To give credit to them, they had one heck of a pass rush and a lot of pressure.”

On the communication on the sideline…

“Honestly when it comes down to it, late movements just got them. I don’t know if there’s anything I could’ve said that would’ve fixed it. We have to fix it in practice and work on staying firm and not moving.”

 

#94 Jeffery Simmons, DT

On the match up with Benny Snell Jr,…

“He’s a great running back. I told my teammates he backed everything he said up. I think he had like four touchdowns himself, it doesn’t get any better than that.”

On how he feels postgame…

“We just got outplayed. We just feel like Kentucky wanted it more. We have to come back next week, make changes and move on from it.”

 

#87 Osirus Mitchell, WR

On Kentucky’s defense…

“They came out there ready. They were fast, aggressive, physical and very well prepared.”

On looking forward to the next game…

We need to stay focused and humble. We don’t need to let all the hype about the coach get to our heads. Overall we just need to stay focused.”

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