Cats set to be tested against Mississippi State roster


Kentucky wide receiver Garrett Johnson gets tackled by Mississippi State during the game against Mississippi State at Commonwealth on Saturday, October 22, 2016 in Lexington, Ky. Kentucky defeated Mississippi State 40-38. Photo by Lydia Emeric | Staff 

Brianna Dooley

This Saturday, UK will travel to Starkville, Mississippi, to battle the Mississippi State Bulldogs in MSU’s homecoming game. 

UK will be stepping into this game sitting on a 5-1 record (2-1 SEC) and coming off of a bye week, while the Bulldogs are 4-2 (1-2 SEC). The Wildcats currently stand at second in the SEC East, while Mississippi State is tied for fifth.

Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen holds a 7-1 record against UK and is looking to advance that record to 8-1 this Saturday during the Homecoming match. Last season the Bulldogs fell to the Wildcats 38-40.

MSU has had quite the schedule so far this year, facing three straight top 15 opponents (LSU, Georgia, Auburn) with no bye week in between. 

Junior RB Aeris Williams holds the most rushing yards in a game (146 yards), all-purpose yards per game (147 yards), longest rush in a game (59 yards) and rushing carries in a game (23) for the Bulldogs so far this season. Williams also had an 83 yard rushing touchdown against Charleston Southern that moved his career rushing yards past 1,000 yards.

The 146-rushing-yard game that Williams had is from week three against LSU, when the Bulldogs won 37-7. This was Williams’ second straight 100-yard game he had after rushing for 107 yards vs. Louisiana Tech. 

Games four and five weren’t as explosive for Williams, but he game back in game six against BYU and rushed for 114 yards. Williams will be one the Cats will have to look out for this Saturday on the gridiron.

Junior QB Nick Fitzgerald is the secret behind the success on the Bulldogs’ offense. This season, Fitzgerald is responsible for 17 touchdowns, 10 of them passing and seven of them rushing. Against LSU and BYU, Fitzgerald had four touchdowns apiece and found the end zone five times versus LA Tech. During the BYU game, he became the first Mississippi State player since current Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott to rush for 25 career touchdowns and pass for 25 more.

Fitzgerald is no stranger to rushing the ball himself. The 6-foot-5-inches, 230-pound junior is very athletic and tallied up 103 rushing yards against BYU, also breaking another Prescott record by tallying his tenth career game of 100+ rushing yards.

On the defensive end, 6-foot, 215-pound Junior S Brandon Bryant locks it down. He set a career high of 11 tackles versusAuburn, also setting a season-high of six solo tackles. Against BYU, Bryant picked up five tackles and also caught his first interception of the season, returning the ball for 30 yards.

The Bulldogs and the Wildcats will kick off Saturday Oct. 21 at 3 p.m. on SEC Network.