UK Football looks to become bowl eligible against Bulldogs


Kentucky quarterback Stephen Johnson hurdles over 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 

Roman West

The Kentucky Wildcats and the Mississippi State Bulldogs will face off in their 45th all-time meeting Saturday when the Wildcats head to Starkville. The game will serve as a rubber match with the series knotted up at 22-22. The Wildcats won last season’s matchup 40-38.

Last season’s game against the Bulldogs was a thriller, coming down to a last second field goal by UK’s current all-time leading scorer, Austin MacGinnis. The game featured a fourth quarter that saw two defensive touchdowns and Kentucky losing command of a ten-point lead.

Stephen Johnson was able to lead the Wildcats 46 yards down the field in just over a minute to put MacGinnis in position to kick the game-winning, season-long 51-yard field goal as time expired.

Quarterback Nick Fitzgerald was able to control Mississippi State’s offense last season with 107 yards rushing with two touchdowns to go along with 81 yards in the air. Fitzgerald also threw the 7-yard go-ahead touchdown pass for MSU with 1:09 left to play.

The Bulldogs are 1-2 in SEC play heading into the game, while the Wildcats are 2-1. Mississippi State won their lone home game against LSU, while losing their two road games against Georgia and Auburn. Kentucky went on the road to beat South Carolina, while splitting their home games with a loss to Florida and a win against Missouri.

A win over the Bulldogs would make the Wildcats bowl eligible for the second year in a row. Kentucky has not gone to back-to-back bowl games since they went to five in a row from 2006-2010.