UK’s defense knows what it has to do to beat Mississippi State


Kentucky linebacker Josh Allen sacks the QB during the game against the University of Florida on Saturday, September 23, 2017 in Lexington, Ky. Kentucky was defeated 28-27. Photo by Chase Phillips | Staff

All week long, the player on Mississippi State’s team that has been at the top of UK’s scouting report is quarterback Nick Fitzgerald.

Fitzgerald has proven to be an excellent passer and rusher, making him even more difficult to contain.

“He’s not your typical quarterback runner, he really is like having another downhill back in the backfield, so tackling becomes important,” defensive coordinator Matt House said. 

To make things tougher for the Cats, the Bulldogs also have a solid offensive line that’s only given up three sacks on the season. However, the SEC’s co-leader for most sacks is looking to raise that number.

“Somebody told me today they only give up three sacks, so hope I can get four, five,” Josh Allen said. “When I’m supposed come, I’m going to come hard, make them feel I’m coming.”

Regardless if the sacks come for Allen, his and the entire defense’s goal is to stop the run as usual. The Cats have been successful in doing that so far, as they have given up the tenth fewest rushing yards nationally all season.

If the Cats succeed in stopping the run again, they feel they have a good chance of winning the football game

“Once we stop that, it’s a free game,” Allen said.

Jordan Jones will be a full-go on Saturday

Jordan Jones hasn’t played a snap in a football game since Sept. 9, but that’s likely to change this weekend when UK football travels to Mississippi State.

“He’s going to play, he’s back, ready to go,” House said.

Jones was listed on UK’s depth chart this week and has returned to practice leading up to Saturday’s game. Many have been wondering what Jones’ workload would be coming off a lengthy absence, but House made it seem like Jones will play like he normally would when he’s healthy.

However, House also admitted that Jones has been knocking some of the rust off in practice this week. If there came a point in the game where Jones isn’t living up to expectations, the Cats have no developed a good backup in Eli Brown.

“Eli’s played a lot of football, a lot of winning football for us,” House said. “Now we got two players we feel really good about putting on the field.”

Brown has done a good job holding down the fort during Jones’ absence. Brown is sixth leading tackler on the season with 22 total tackles.

Brown’s workload is likely to diminish with Jones’ return, but that isn’t affecting Brown’s mindset at all as he’s just happy to see his teammate return to the field.

“You can tell when he first came to practice, he was running around and excited, it felt good seeing that,” Brown said.