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Kentucky stifles Mississippi State in historic fashion

The Cats and Dawgs bucked the offense-heavy trend in Lexington.

Mississippi State vs Kentucky Photo by Mark Cornelison/Collegiate Images/Getty Images

The only numbers you need from Lexington to explain how this game played out are 70 and 2. The Mississippi State Bulldogs attempted 70 passes against the Kentucky Wildcats, but only scored two points via a UK self-inflicted safety on a bad punt snap in their 24-2 loss. This was a perplexing box score all around, but the Wildcat defense was far and away the standout unit on the night.

It was a horror show for Mike Leach’s vaunted offense. This was the lowest amount of points a Mike Leach coach team has ever scored. K.J. Costello and Will Rogers combined to throw six interceptions, one of which was a pick six. Again, nothing good to say about this offensive performance.

Everyone would be talking about how bad Kentucky’s offense was in this game if not for Mississippi State’s showing. The Cats put up 157 offensive yards, and the offensive line was under duress all evening. Terry Wilson did not have a strong performance and was only 8/20 passing. The rushing attack that gained over 400 against Ole Miss last week put up just 84 on Saturday. Wilson’s stat line was a combination of drops from the receivers and errant passes under pressure. UK’s defense caught more passes than their wide receivers. Essentially, this game was the antithesis of what we saw everywhere else in the SEC on Saturday in terms of offense.

Both defenses played well enough to win in most scenarios, but the Wildcats just decided to have a once in a generation night in terms of a Kentucky defensive performance. This was the first time Kentucky did not allow a touchdown in an SEC game since a 31-5 win against LSU in 1999.

Next week, both the Cats and the Dawgs have huge challenges as Kentucky takes on Tennessee in Knoxville and Mike Leach and co. welcome the Texas A&M Aggies to Starkville fresh off of their upset of Florida. If these defenses play like they did on Saturday and the offenses screw their heads back on, upsets aren’t out of the question in this already overly funky season.