Mississippi State football quarterback Will Rogers vs. Auburn Tigers. Photo: Austin Perryman/Mississippi State Athletics.Mississippi State Bulldogs

Mississippi State football vs. Kentucky preview: Everything you need for Bulldogs vs. Wildcats

We’re halfway through the 2022 Mississippi State football season and things seem pretty fun so far. There was the bump in the road earlier this year, but the Bulldogs are back on track and rolling right now. Mississippi State took care of the Texas A&M Aggies with relative ease and then dealt with the Razorbacks in impressive fashion in back-to-back contests.

Now the Bulldogs have another chance to improve their stock and show just how good they are and how good they can be this season. MSU has hit the road and the Bulldogs are set to face off against the Kentucky Wildcats in Lexington.

I said it last week and I’ll say it again: Mississippi State hasn’t ever really played a complete game so far this year. The Bulldogs looked really good against Arkansas, but they gave up a ton of yards to the Razorbacks. MSU still hasn’t played a full game just yet.

Maybe that’ll change this week. Maybe it won’t. I really won’t care too much as long as the Bulldogs leave Lexington with bowl eligibility in hand, a decent highlight reel to enjoy watching, and a roster that remains healthy.

If that is what happens, then I’m happy. Even if a relatively error-prone MSU team commits a few errors. Just please get the win and then get those mistakes resolved before facing Alabama, Georgia, and Ole Miss. Is that fair to ask? That seems fair to ask.

But back to this week.

Here’s everything you need to get prepared to watch Mississippi State and Kentucky face off:

Table of contents:

Mississippi State football vs. Kentucky Wildcats preview

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Mississippi State football: 3 Kentucky Wildcats to watch

  • Will Levis – Kentucky’s quarterback is arguably the biggest reason for the Wildcats’ ability to win. He was out a week ago due to some injury issues and he’s been dinged up. Seems like there’s a good chance he could be back this week and MSU will need to keep an eye on him as he’s completed 68.8% of his passes while throwing for 1,405 yards and 12 touchdowns against 4 picks.
  • Trayvion Robinson – While Kentucky lost a lot from its offense from a year ago, they do have a pretty intriguing receiving option in Trayvion Robinson. Robinson has been a solid producer for the Wildcats’ offense and he has a team-leading 25 receptions for 392 yards (also a team best) and 3 touchdowns (tied for a team best).
  • DeAndre Square – Kentucky’s leading tackler. I’m really not excited to see how he impacts Mississippi State’s offense. So far, Square has 41 total tackles. While he doesn’t have many tackles for loss this season, he has 22.5 throughout his career. And he’s got plenty of experience. I’m not excited about that!

Mississippi State football vs. Kentucky Wildcats: 3 storylines to watch

Storyline 1: What will Kentucky’s offense look like this week?

Will Levis may not be 100% and it sure seems like Kentucky’s star quarterback is going to do everything he possibly can to keep the Wildcats moving forward. But the dude has taken some hits so far this year and he’s got to be banged up. He missed last week and the South Carolina Gamecocks were able to win. There’s a chance he should be back, but how will that impact Kentucky’s offense?

Especially if he isn’t fully healthy.

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Kentucky struggles to run the ball (the Wildcats have been incredibly ineffective at running the ball) and the Wildcats lost a TON of talent from their offense a year ago. Losing Wan’Dale Robinson really hurt this team and they haven’t quite replaced his production. That doesn’t mean there’s not talent there, and the Bulldogs will need to do everything possible to take away Levis’ offensive weapons, but he just doesn’t have as much support this season.

Storyline 2: Can Mississippi State cause Will Levis to make some mistakes?

Kentucky has STRUGGLED to consistently protect Will Levis throughout the season up to this point and that could cost them mightily if the Wildcats aren’t careful. Through 6 games this season, Kentucky’s offensive line has allowed 25 sacks.

There are 131 FBS teams in the country. Kentucky ranks at 129th in this stat.

So far this year, Mississippi State’s defense has 14 sacks on the season. Oh. And there’s this whole deal about the Bulldogs rushing for more yards per game than Kentucky does (106.7 vs. 92.5). So Levis will need to be pretty sharp if the Wildcats are going to make this truly interesting.

If that offensive line can’t create running room and the Wildcats aren’t able to protect Levis, it wouldn’t be a surprise if the Bulldogs do everything possible to go after him and try to cause him to make quick decisions that could prove costly.

Storyline 3: How efficient will Mississippi State’s offense look away from Davis Wade Stadium?

It’s been a few weeks since the Bulldogs have hit the road and now they’re about to go to a pretty unique and interesting challenge as they face off against the Kentucky Wildcats. Kentucky’s defense is pretty stout and the Wildcats will have a solid home field advantage at night.

How much of that will impact MSU’s offense?

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Can the Bulldogs go into Kroger Field and maintain the same level of offensive success that they’ve had the past couple of weeks? Will MSU be able to run the ball consistently and successfully? We’ll see.

Mississippi State football vs. Kentucky Wildcats history

If you’re looking at the entirety of Mississippi State’s history against the Kentucky Wildcats, this is a series that MSU has split pretty evenly with its foe. The Bulldogs and Wildcats have been trading games over the past six years and neither team has been able to get a road win since 2014.

Interestingly enough, this Saturday’s game between the two will be the 50th meeting between these two programs. At the moment, the Bulldogs have an advantage over the Wildcats with MSU winning 26 of the contests on the field. Technically the 1976 game is forfeited by State, but the Bulldogs did manage to win it when it actually was played. And that matters a bit.

This is a series that Dan Mullen very clearly dominated with his only loss to Kentucky while he was the head coach of MSU came in 2016. His successor, Joe Moorhead, split his two meetings with the Wildcats. So far, Mike Leach has also won one and then lost one.

It’ll be interesting to see how Leach’s third matchup with the Wildcats turns out.

Mississippi State vs. Kentucky Wildcats: Bulldogs favored on the road

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That said, while the folks gambling on this game have MSU winning, SP+ doesn’t think State leaves Lexington with a victory. According to Bill Connelly’s wonder math, the Bulldogs fall (in a REALLY) close game against the Wildcats. Hopefully that’s not the case.

ESPN FPI, however, gives the Bulldogs a pretty solid shot at winning this contest. It’s close! Definitely closer than I would prefer. But ESPN’s FPI has Mississippi State coming out on top here. According to it, the Bulldogs have a 59.7% chance of victory. Not bad, all things considered.

Mississippi State football vs. Kentucky Wildcats: TV channel, live stream, live stats, online coverage

There’s a good chance that you won’t be heading up to Kentucky for this contest. So it’s important to know just how to keep up with the game. Well, here you go. Just scroll down a bit and you’ll find just about anything you could possibly need to watch (or listen!) to MSU and UK.

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Mississippi State vs. Kentucky Wildcats game info:

  • Who: Mississippi State Bulldogs vs. Kentucky Wildcats
  • What: Game 7 of the 2022 MSU football season
  • When: Saturday, Oct. 15 at 6:30 p.m. CT
  • Where: Kroger Field (formerly Commonwealth Stadium) in Lexington, Kentucky

How to watch Mississippi State vs. Kentucky Wildcats:

Mississippi State vs. Kentucky Wildcats radio information:

Mississippi State vs. Kentucky online coverage and live stats:

Mississippi State football vs. Kentucky Wildcats 2022 prediction

I’m admittedly a little nervous about this road contest. Do I have good reason to be? Well, depends on how much stock you take in Mississippi State’s recent road trip struggles when it comes to Kroger Field. Do things that happened in previous years really matter in this contest?

No, not really. Am I still worried about this? Yeah.

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Mississippi State hasn’t been able to win in Lexington since 2014. It’s been a while! That 2016 trip was infuriating because the Bulldogs lost late. The 2018 trip was awful because it showed the vulnerabilities of that team that should have accomplished far more than it did. And the 2020 trip was a disaster because the offense simply wasn’t working at all.

Can this year be better?

Right now, Bill Connelly’s number math magic fun expects Mississippi State to stumble on the road.

I don’t really see that being the case. I think the Bulldogs can get a win. Just some of us might have a heart attack or three as the game unfolds. I believe in this offensive line’s ability to buy Rogers plenty of time. I believe in State’s ability to put some pretty significant pressure on Levis. I believe MSU can win this one.

I just suspect it’ll be a little closer than what many MSU fans are hoping for. And I’m hoping to be wrong on that note.

Prediction: Mississippi State 21, Kentucky 13

For more independent Mississippi State news and commentary, follow The Underdog Tribune on Facebook and Twitter. Follow Ethan Lee on Facebook and Twitter.

3 replies »

  1. Apparently, UK is a complete physical mismatch for us. We kept up for a half, then we just got beat all into the dirt on both sides of the ball. We still have 5.5 minutes…

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’m absolutely shocked that Kentucky’s offensive line performed as well as it did. They’ve been a mess all year and suddenly got things figured out this week. Because of course.

      Like

  2. We will have a good chance to beat Auburn, and we’ll certainly beat East Tennessee State, and the Egg Bowl is a crazy toss-up, so that’s 7-5, maybe 8-4, which is just what every sane Dog fan thought would happen.

    “As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end, 7-5, Amen.”

    Liked by 1 person

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