TONIGHT - Kentucky at Mississippi State
Posted Oct 24, 2013

Week 9 Fearless Prediction - Kentucky at Mississippi State

- Kentucky at Mississippi State | Vanderbilt at Texas A&M
- Tennessee at Alabama | South Carolina at Missouri
- Furman at LSU, FAU at Auburn, Idaho at Ole Miss

Kentucky (1-5) at Mississippi State (3-3) Oct. 24, 7:30, ESPN

Why You Should Give A Hoot: It's the anti-SEC championship with the worst from the West playing the least from the East in what should eventually determine the worst team in the conference. Kentucky and Mississippi State haven't been that bad, and they'd almost certainly be shooting for the six-win mark in almost any other league, but they're each trying to navigate their way through the toughest conference in the country.

MSU is coming off a solid, but scary, win over a Bowling Green team that might be the best in the MAC, but a blowout loss to LSU and a tough 24-20 defeat to Auburn makes this a must-win, especially with South Carolina and Texas A&M coming up next on the road and Alabama to follow. It's been a long, long time since the Bulldogs have come up with a strong win over a great team. Beating Kentucky wouldn't qualify.

The Wildcats pushed South Carolina hard, but outside of the opening day loss to WKU, there haven't been any cheap defeats losing to Louisville, Florida and Alabama along the way, but it's time for something more than a moral victory. It'll get a win next week against Alabama State, but screwing up Mississippi State on the road would be a nice kickstart for the Mark Stoops era.

Why Kentucky Might Win: The Wildcats might be awful on third downs, but Mississippi State is almost as bad. This isn't an MSU offense that cranks out yards and big plays in bunches, and while it's been solid in several ways, and while it has the defense to keep the UK offense from finding a groove, this isn't going to be a high-scoring shootout. The only times the Bulldog offense worked well and smoothly was against Alcorn State and Troy. If the Cats can hold up against the run, they'll hang around.

Why Mississippi State Might Win: The Bulldogs aren't making the mega-mistakes. They've only lost one fumble on the year and they're only committing an okay six penalties a game. Kentucky just isn't good enough offensively to keep up or provide a push if it gets down early on the road, and it's not going to be able to come up with the turnovers needed against a team that doesn't give it away. The Wildcats have only come up with seven takeaways on the year and they'll need at least three on the road. That won't happen.

Who To Watch Out For: Kentucky linebacker Avery Williamson is trying to do his part. The veteran tackler has been in on just about everything, trying to hold up for a Wildcat defense that's not getting enough from the line. Williams made 13 tackles against Alabama and was always around the ball. He'll be in charge of trying to keep Dak Prescott under wraps after his 139-yard, two score rushing day against Bowling Green. Used in combination with Tyler Russell, the two quarterback system is starting to become dangerous.

What Will Happen: Mississippi State will run for over 250 yards, but Kentucky will come up with a good first half to make it worth watching well into the third.

Prediction: Mississippi State 30 … Kentucky 17
Line: Mississippi State -10 o/u: 55
Must See Rating: (5 The Counselor – 1 Last Vegas) … 2
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