Inexplicably, this live-blog has survived five weeks of the season and the train keeps moving this week. Last week kind of proved that I’m just going to sputter out of control if the game is a blowout. (For reference, there have been four blowouts and one close game in the SEC Network 11am game this season.) This week’s game is probably even less on the likelihood of a close battle. Let’s analyze.
Mississippi State (4-0, 1-0 SEC) One of those genuine surprises of the early SEC run has been the success of the Bulldogs, who crumbled under high expectations last season. With admittedly much easier competition to start the season, the Bulldogs have looked sharper and more prepared for the road ahead of them, and really only have a three game run of Alabama, Texas A&M, and LSU to worry about. So is this a trap game? Probably not.
Kentucky (1-4, 0-2 SEC) While Kentucky’s never really used to winning in football, this year’s been an extremely rough go of it for the Wildcats. Among that 1-4 start includes an overtime loss to Western Kentucky and foibles against Florida and South Carolina. Last week showed minor promise for the, uhh, Jalen Whitlow era of quarterback in Kentucky but a halftime lead soon dissipated to dust against Sakarlina. Whitlow is at least a better quarterback than “tire fire in a man” Morgan Newton, but to answer the prior question posed, this looks like an anti-trap game and a crushing in store for the Cats.
Alright, there’s some analysis. I’ll be back at 11:20 AM Central for kickoff and quoting Andre Ware. So yeah. By the way, I’ve also found out the Auburn/Arkansas game is on at the same time, so if the game turns into a blowout in Lexington and isn’t a blowout in Auburn, I’ll switch that out a bit. Anyways, yeah!
Other bad signs for Kentucky here in the pregame: Morgan Newton’s absence leads the way for TWO freshman quarterbacks for Kentucky. While last week saw a redshirt freshman play awesome in A&M’s Johnny Manziel, I imagine he’s the exception that proves the rule. Worrying sign for this beatdown. I suspect Miss State wins by more than the 10.5 spread.
“Other than the obvious victory against Kentucky, what do you want to see from your team today?” Cara Capuano with some sass today talking to Dan Mullen. Everyone loves sass. Bet she has money on the favorite.
Miss. State 0, Kentucky 0 WOO, IT’S STILL TIED. (I always do that dumb joke.) By the way, very sad that I still can’t find the “Let’s Go” song the SEC Network plays. It’s a sad day for all of us, much less fans of Kentucky football.
Of note as Mississippi State develops a substantial opening drive, makes easy catches, and gets fine running. Playing this song over and over is my advice to Kentucky fandom, honestly. I may have drank last night, but this game feels like it’s running in 0.6x speed. There’s also a defensive injury for Kentucky, which isn’t really a good sign, although he looked okay. Mississippi State’s redzone average is pretty damn high.
Miss. State 7, Kentucky 0 So Tyler Russell threw to the fullback five yards behind the line of scrimmage in a desperate play at Kentuck’s 11 yard line. And yet somehow Kentucky can’t stop him. “C’mon man” moment right there. And we see Andre Ware’s first passive-aggressive critique of Kentucky defense today. Sadly, Morgan Newton isn’t here for Ware’s criticism to get some bite.
Kentucky’s first drive goes so fast that I miss all of their three and out looking for the score of the Auburn game. So, umm, yeah. It went quicker than this:
Early yard comparison shows MSU with 87 yards of offense and Kentucky with 3. But it’s still early and the mostly full Lexington field sort of reflects that. “A couple of Kentucky players weren’t sure where to go on that one,” Dave Neal defining this team’s defense after they gave up a first on 3rd down. Kentucky just booed an incomplete pass they thought was a fumble recovery into a touchdown. There’s a good reason they’re booing, and it’s not because they’re right (it was definitely an incomplete pass). ANOTHER 3rd and 10 converted and Dave Neal is finally getting surly about Kentucky’s defense, which is pretty much allowing MSU to still have this drive. At least they set up a 4th down here.
I almost cheered that Kentucky made a first down but MSU’s Deontay(?) Skinner prevents that. Kentucky earns two whole yards. It’s another 3 and out. Kentucky can’t do anything. You are not surprised by any of this information. The guy with the Tebow comparisons is named Dak Prescott.
Miss. State 14, Kentucky 0 Perkins gets a rushing touchdown. It’s a thing. In fact, these are all things. Perkins at least runs like he’s in a football game, not a scrimmage. Oh, one four yard loss by Kentucky may have eroded ALL of their offensive yards on the day in one play. Thankfully, the crowd is ecstatic that they got a first down.
End of the 1st Quarter
Oh wow, another first down by Kentucky to open the quarter. That is a thing.
SEC Network update: Next week’s battle is Auburn (currently losing) vs. Ole Miss (facing Texas A&M tonight). If today continues on that path, this will be a fun fun afternoon.
Miss. State 14, Kentucky 7 …And now I eat crow. Patrick Towles has a splendid first drive and saves the drive and the game with a easy-as-pie touchdown pass. And suddenly MSU’s urgency issues are coming to the table. So, umm, Kentucky is suddenly back in this game even after allowing yards all over the place. So now we get to that weird moment where a backup QB is getting hot and no one knows if the other guy gets back in or they keep the backup in. That was a jumbled sentence.
Amazing what a quarter will do to a team. Suddenly MSU can’t keep getting first downs. Suddenly Kentucky’s got a hot hand. College football kind of rules during times like these. Alas, a 3rd and 1 fails, though. Welp. They kind of screwed the momentum by not having Towles throw the ball at all on this drive, but it could be much worse.
Miss. State returns life to normalcy on this drive, though wow, Kentucky’s coverage is bad. Russell just lobs a fly ball and gets shit done. Boom boom boom. At least until the end of the drive, when they set up for one of them field goals.
Miss. State 17, Kentucky 7 I’m a little worried that this game is like the Sakarlina/UK game from last week, because I do like close football, but can’t talk too much about that yet. After all, we haven’t even seen Patrick Towles on a passing drive again just yet.
I legitimately hate Taio Cruz’s “Dynamite” as a stadium song. I get seriously angry when I overhear that in the stadium mix. Just a thought.
And we’re finally seeing the seams coming off of the Towles-run offense, with a sack and an incompletion setting up another of those three and outs. Punter Landon Foster has a damn leg on him. It’s not a great bragging right for your punter to be the best player on the team, but he’s really good and only a freshman. Pro potential, I’m sure.
I can’t get a read on if Tyler Russell is a solid quarterback or just decent for his system. But a nice ass throw does give me a temporary answer. He’s not overthrowing like Aaron Murray and the like, although that might be a reflection on this defense. They spent like 30 seconds determining if a ball was a 3rd down or a first down with 3 seconds left in the half. Almost needless.
Miss. State 20, Kentucky 7 And there ya go. I’ll be watching a little of this Arky/Auburn game and be back at the third quarter.
End of the 2nd Quarter
From watching the highlights of some of these games in the ESPN Goal Line games, I think I’m more partial to the competence of Dave Neal and Andre Ware. They don’t sound boorish or annoying, really. They’re probably bland as a pile of bread, but whatever.
Oh boy, Jalen Whitlow is starting this half. Umm. This is looking like a mauling at play as we get going with the second half. An official called a pass interference on Kentucky because God hates Kentucky, between massive injuries and true freshman starting quarterbacks.
Miss. State 27, Kentucky 7 Tyler Russell scores one play after the pass interference as we continue the likely march to 1-5 in Lexington. Between these guys and Arkansas, I’m feeling weirdly sorry for much of the SEC. Not Auburn, though. Never Auburn.
Jalen Whitlow tried a screen. Jalen Whitlow’s pass cost four yards. I feel legitimately bad, too, because I’m always a bit partial to 18 year old kids in a fucked situation. Whitlow’s clearly not as strong as Towles was, but Towles has an injury. Umm, err, uhh.
Not that this is a surprise when down 20, but the stadium is truly dead and we’re still early in the 3rd quarter. At least until a big ole sack by Tristian Johnson fires the crowd up a bit. And UK gets the ball back, although, I’m seeing flashbacks to the forever game between MSU and Auburn where Kiehl Frazier got 1,000 chances to get his team back and failed 1,000 times.
Fuck it, let’s dance the dance of the third quarter:
JALEN WHITLOW. SUCCESSFUL PASSES! And Kentucky may still be in this ball game inexplicably if they score here. They do have a 1st and Goal. Insane stuff.
Miss. State 27, Kentucky 14 Jalen Whitlow, helped by a short field, runs a touchdown in. And Kentucky, despite being outplayed on both sides of the ball and starting true freshmen in many places, may actually have a shot to stay competitive in this ballgame. This is the real definition of a moral victory.
Kentucky went for an onside kick! Maybe an early time to do that, but you throw out every trick in the book. And Kentucky seems to get it! (Although it’s under review and probably overturned.) Oh wait, I’m wrong! Tremendous onside kick and the true jolt of momentum this team needs. I’m very impressed with Joker Phillips here, actually, which you don’t say often about a 1-4 team’s coach. They’re clearly outclassed on talent, so they need all of the help they could get. Unfortunately, the drive ends with another 3 and out, the last thing Kentucky needed right now.
Andre Ware stunned that Auburn can only score 7 points at home as if he hasn’t watched Auburn play this season.
Another punt and another punt! I’m honestly caring more about the drama in Auburn, them being down by 10 with 12 minutes left. But even then, Kentucky’s got a chance.
End of the 3rd Quarter
And on the FIRST PLAY of the 4th, a guy fell down and still caught the ball while down. And then they called them for a 1st and 25. Someone’s got the over on this.
Andre Ware notes, “That’s a mysterious call.” I’m kind of yelling at this point and I have no bearing on the game. Refs have fully cut the momentum whether intentional or not on this Kentucky team.
I just don’t like when teams get a chance to put a game away and just can’t. Texas A&M put it away and looked awesome. Florida did it against Kentucky. Mississippi State, though, can’t do that for crap. There’s your Mullen criticism when he gets into the real slate of MSU’s schedule. Or maybe I just liked the Kentucky underdog story. Ah well.
I don’t even know why I’m upset, really. My dear rivals are getting beaten by Arkansas. So I guess I should be ecstatic or something.
MSU does a slow drive since we’re late in the game and everyone probably wants to go home. Bleh. As soon as I say that, Kentucky RECOVERS A FUMBLE AND GETS THE BALL BACK. Resuming excitement. Again, I have no stake in this game.
Jalen Whitlow’s numbers are kind of bleh, but that’s to be expected. Kentucky’s offense is legitimately poor numerically. And they give it up on 4th and 11. Slow methodical ending approaching.
lololol Andre Ware is mocking MSU’s tactics, “It’s like they’re almost afraid to hurt someone’s feelings.” And refers to it as ultra-conservative, which it is. While MSU looks like a 9-3 team, they don’t look like a very strong one. I guess it’s good for dramatics?
Anyways, Kentucky’s got the ball down by 13 with 5 minutes to go. Let’s see if the improbable goes down here. A minute gone, a 3rd and 12, and a probable stop to end the day. And that’s it, pretty much. MSU can just run it out now. Think I’m going to wrap it up here unless something massively improbable occurs.
(I sent this link out to folks on Reddit and the like and I thank those folks for reading. It’s much appreciated.)
End of Game