FROM MISSISSIPPI STATE ATHLETICS
LEXINGTON, Ky. – Mississippi State was handed a 24-2 defeat by Kentucky on Saturday at Kroger Field.
After a scoreless first quarter, Kentucky (1-2, 1-2 SEC) jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the second. Terry Wilson found Keaton Upshaw from 12 yards out for the first touchdown of the game. Later in the second, Joshua Paschal intercepted K.J. Costello’s pass at the UK 22-yard line and returned it 76 yards, before Chris Rodriguez plunged two yards into the end zone to extend Kentucky’s lead to two scores.
The Bulldogs’ (1-2, 1-2 SEC) scoring drought came to an end in the third quarter. A high snap sailed over punter Max Duffy’s head and Duffy kicked the ball out of the back of the end zone, resulting in a safety. The safety marks the first for the Bulldogs since Mississippi State had two safetys against Charleston Southern in 2017.
The Wildcats took advantage of another turnover in the fourth quarter when Jordan Wright intercepted Costello’s pass and returned it eight yards for a score. A Kentucky field goal with 49 seconds left accounted for the final margin.
Through the air, K.J. Costello was 36-of-55 passing for 232 yards and four interceptions. Freshman Will Rodgers completed 9-of-15 passes for 43 yards and two interceptions in his collegiate debut. Kylin Hill led all receivers with a school-record 15 catches for 79 yards.
Next Up for MSU…State returns home next Saturday, Oct. 17, to welcome No. 21 Texas A&M (2-1, 2-1 SEC) to Davis Wade Stadium. Kickoff is slated for 3 p.m. CT, and the contest will be televised by the SEC Network.
For more information on the Bulldogs, follow MSU football on its social media platforms by searching for “HailStateFB” on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Quotable…“At the end of the day, it’s still a team game. You know what I mean. Highs and lows on defense or offense. It’s still a team game and it’s no more a victory for one side. You know either we win the game, or we don’t. We all you know got to get back to work and do a better job in all three phases on the game.” ~ Erroll Thompson
Notables From MSU’s Loss At Kentucky…MSU Defense Holds Strong For Third Straight Contest Mississippi State’s defense once again made things difficult on Kentucky’s offense, holding the Wildcats to 157 total yards.
The Bulldogs limited Kentucky to just 81 rushing yards in the contest, marking the first time since at least 2006 that MSU has held three straight SEC opponents under 100 yards rushing. State held LSU to 80 rushing yards in the season opener on Sept. 26 and Arkansas to 63 yards on the ground on Oct. 3.
Tucker Has Himself A Day Day hit four 60-plus yard punts on the night, with two downed inside the 20-yard line. The senior punter now has five 50-plus yard punts in 2020 and 19 for his career. His two punts inside the 20-yard line bring his career total to 28.
With his third-quarter punt that landed at the UK 2-yard line, Day has nine career punts downed inside the opponent’s 10-yard line.
Costello Eclipses 1,000 Yards Through The Air With 232 passing yards at Kentucky, K.J. Costello became the fastest MSU passer to reach 1,000 yards to start a season. Costello ended the night with 1,168 yards passing through three games.
It also marked the fastest an MSU team has surpassed 1,000 passing yards in a season in school history.
Hill Climbs The Record Books Senior running back Kylin Hill caught an MSU school-record 15 passes to equal Eric Moulds’ program-standard effort at Tennessee on Sept. 23, 1995. The 15 receptions rank tied for No. 6 all-time in SEC history and are the most in the SEC since Vanderbilt’s Earl Bennett had 16 versus South Carolina in 2005.
With 17 rushing yards, Hill moved his career total to 2,535 rushing yards to move to No. 8 in school history, passing Dak Prescott (2,521; 2012-15)
State’s Takeaway Run Continues Fred Peters forced his second career fumble and recovered the first of his career in the third quarter. MSU has collected at least one takeaway in 29 of their last 32 games dating back to the 2017. State has compiled 56 takeaways over the 32-game stretch.
MSU Quarterbacks Set School And SEC Pass Attempt Record State’s 70 passing attempts are the most in a single game in SEC and MSU history. The previous MSU record was 60 attempts, which occurred in each of the first two games of the 2020 season, while the SEC record was 69 by LSU against Auburn in 1999.
The 45 completions by MSU quarterbacks are a program record and sits at No. 3 all-time in a single game in SEC history. MSU completed 43 passes against Arkansas on Oct. 3, while the two games better in the SEC belong to Kentucky during the 1998 season, when Mike Leach was the offensive coordinator for the Wildcats.