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CATS Get Big SEC Win Over Mississippi State

DeAndre Square - photo by Danny Pendleton - Bluegrass Sports Nation

CATS outscore Bulldogs 24-14 in second half


Chris Rodriguez led the way with two fourth quarter rushing touchdowns, surpassing 3,000 career rushing yards becoming the fourth Wildcat in program history to reach three thousand rushing yards.

The Kentucky football team continued SEC play in a pivotal game hosting the Mississippi State Bulldogs. In today’s game Kentucky prevailed with a hard-fought victory over Mississippi State, defeating the Bulldogs 27-17.

In the first half, Kentucky was flagged with penalty’s nine times and really affected the tempo of the game. One penalty negated a Barion Brown punt return touchdown of seventy-eight yards, while others allowed Mississippi to keep the drives alive. Mississippi who has been one of the highest scoring offenses in the SEC could only score three first half points and were tied with Kentucky at three.

In the second half the scoring picked up with each team getting multiple touchdowns. QB Levis returned from his injury causing him to miss the South Carolina game last week and threw for 230 yard and one touchdown. Levis did receive another scare after being tackled hard and landed awkwardly on his non-throwing shoulder, had to return to the locker room to be evaluated by team doctors. RB Chris Rodriguez was phenomenal in today’s game rushing for 196 yards and two fourth quarter touchdowns. Rodriguez performance earned him accolades as Rodriguez surpassed three thousand career rushing yards and become the only fourth Running back in team history to do so. The Kentucky defense was superb tonight holding Mississippi to only 225 total yards of offense with only allowing twenty- two rushing yards making the Bulldogs rushing attack a non- factor in today’s game. Kentucky prevailed with a pivotal win defeating Mississippi State 27-17 and is now 5-2 overall and 2-2 in SEC play.

Game Summary:
1st Quarter –
Mississippi State received the ball on the opening possession. The first two plays of the game Kentucky were called for encroachment on the defense and gave the Bulldogs a first down with no time being run off the clock. Penalties continued to plague the Kentucky Football team in the first quarter which negated several big plays. The Kentucky defense was solid and limited Mississippi State to several three and outs. Kentucky did have some big moments in the quarter but was unable to score. Rodriguez had some big gains and required multiple defenders
to take him down. One possession Rodriguez busted through the line and had a thirty- yard gain placing the ball in Mississippi territory, a few plays later Kentucky fumbled with the ball being recovered by Mississippi. Barion Brown electrified the crowd with a seventy-eight-yard punt return TD, but the play was called back after a costly penalty.

2nd Quarter – Each team was able to get on the scoreboard with a Field goal in the second quarter. Mississippi put together a good drive together capped off by a thirteen play fifty-seven-yard drive. Kicker M. Biscardi connected on a forty-eight-yard field goal, giving the Bulldogs a brief 3-0 lead. Kentucky kicker Matt Ruffolo missed a 51 yard FG the next possession but redeemed himself just before the half ended with a 28 yard FG and tied the game at three at intermission.

3rd Quarter – Kentucky received the ball to open the second half and scored on the opening possession. Levis completed a 33 yard pass downfield to Brown and put the ball near the redzone. During the play Levis was tackled and landed awkwardly on his shoulder, requiring the QB to return to the locker room to be evaluated by team doctors. The team relied on backup QB Kayia Sheron to manage the offense while Levis was evaluated. Kentucky finished the drive with another FG from the leg of Ruffolo and led Mississippi 3-0. State countered with a scoring possession with a one-yard pass from QB Will Rogers to WR Austin Williams. Mississippi State led 10-6. Levis returned to the game and helped Kentucky regain the lead with a three-yard touchdown pass to Rahsaan Lewis and completed a seven play 80 yard drive. At the end of third quarter, Kentucky led Mississippi State 13-10.

4th Quarter – With the game on the line and still undecided Kentucky relied on RB Rodriguez for offense. Rodriguez was impressive picking up multiple first downs and scored two rushing Touchdowns in the quarter. Rodriguez scored on a sixteen-yard rushing touchdown early in the quarter. The Kentucky defenses stepped up and forced Mississippi into several three and out possessions. Levis threw a costly interception that was returned for a fifty-nine-yard pick six by Emmanuel Forbes. Mississippi trailed Kentucky 17-20 with 8:30 remained in the game. Rodriguez found the endzone one more time for the final score of the game with a seven-yard rushing touchdown. Kentucky had the ball near the end zone one more time in the game and could have easily scored again, but the game ended with three straight QB kneels by Levis.

Game Stats:
Kentucky 27 / Mississippi State 17
First Downs 24 / 13
Passing Yards 239 / 203
Rushing Yards 239 / 22
Penalty/ Yards 11-84 / 13-109
First Downs 24 / 13

Player Stats- Kentucky
 QB Will Levis 17 completions, twenty-three attempts, passing for 230 yards, one
touchdown, one interception, long pass fifty yards, one sack.
 RB Chris Rodriguez 30 carries for 199 yards, loss three yards, net 199, 2 Touchdowns,
long run forty-seven yards.
 RB Jutahan McClain 9 carries for thirty yards, long run fifteen yards.

 WR Barion Brown seven receptions for sixty-two yards, Yards After catch forty-three,
long reception thirty-three yards.
 WR Rahsaan Lewis 4 catches, gaining forty-two yards, Yards After Catch 14, 1 TD, long
reception twenty-one

Player Stats- Mississippi State
 QB Will Rogers 25 completions, thirty-seven attempts, passing for 203 yards, 1 TD,
long pass thirty yards, sacked one time.
 RB Dillion Johnson 5 carries, gaining fifteen yards, loss of one yard, net fourteen
yards, long run seven yards.
 WR Jo’Quavious Marks seven receptions gaining sixty yards, Yards After Catch 56,
long reception nineteen.
 WR Caleb Duckling 5 receptions, gaining thirty-two yards, Yards after catch seven,
long reception twelve.

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