Mississippi State’s Fitzgerald and Sweat bring challenges for Cats


Wildcat and Bully engage in a staring contest during the 1st half of the Wildcat’s victory over the Bulldogs on Saturday, October 22, 2016 in Lexington, Ky. photo by Addison Coffey | Staff

Pranavdeep Singh

The No. 14 ranked Mississippi State Bulldogs (3-0,0-0 SEC) will come to Lexington Saturday to face off against the Kentucky Wildcats (3-0,1-0 SEC) for their fourth game of the season.

Both teams come into this game undefeated. The last time these two teams were undefeated before their matchup was in 1997. The Bulldogs lead the all-time series 23-22.

The Bulldogs coached by newly-installed coach Joe Moorhead start the season undefeated led by their dual-threat quarterback Nick Fitzgerald. Fitzgerald has thrown four touchdowns, while also adding four more on the ground.

Sophomore quarterback Keytaon Thompson started in place for the suspended Fitzgerald in the season opener throwing five touchdowns, adding three more on the ground.

As for the backfield, the Bulldogs are led by their two-headed running back duo of Kylin Hill and Aeris Williams. Hill, a sophomore from Columbus, Mississippi is averaging 9.2 yards a carry with three touchdowns on the season. Williams, a senior, has added another 113 yards and a touchdown.

The Bulldogs run defense has not allowed an opposing running back over 100 yards this season. They have also allowed zero rushing touchdowns to begin the season. Mississippi State leads the SEC in sacks with ten, along with three takeaways on the season.

The Bulldogs defense, led by senior defensive end Montez Sweat, a former JUCO product, comes into the game leading the SEC in sacks with three this season. Sweat had 10.5 sacks in his first season with the Bulldogs. Sweat made First Team All-SEC in 2017 along with junior defensive tackle Jeffrey Simmons, who had 5.0 sacks in 2017.

The Bulldogs are 8-1 against the Wildcats since 2009. The Bulldogs defeated the Wildcats 45-7 in 2017, with Fitzgerald rushing and passing for over 100 yards each, with two touchdowns on the ground, and another in the air.

The Wildcats won in 2016 40-38 with Benny Snell rushing for 128 yards and a touchdown, along with Stephen Johnson leading the game winning drive with Austin MacGinnis kicking the game winning field goal.

This is the first time since 2007-08 that the Wildcats have started 3-0 in two consecutive seasons. Led by running back Benny Snell, who has 375 yards and three touchdowns on the season, the Cats will look to take down this SEC West opponent.

ESPN’s Football Power Index gives the Bulldogs a 77.9 percent chance to win as of Tuesday. The line on the game is Mississippi State by 10.5 and the over/under is set at 54. The game will be broadcast at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN2.