Kentucky at Mississippi State
Time: 6:30 PM
TV: SEC Network
Spread: MIST -13
Betting odds c/o 5dimes
The Kentucky Wildcats are starting to really show signs as a program. After a Week 3 heartbreaking loss to Florida, it has come back to knock off then-No. 25 Mizzou, Eastern Kentucky, and it nearly took down the Auburn Tigers last week, falling 30-27 as Peyton Barber rushed for one of his two TDs with 7:56 remaining to help Auburn get its first SEC win.
Patrick Towles threw 27 of 44 for 359 yards but had no TDs and one INT. He rushed for 12 yards on seven carries, but the Wildcats got a good one from Stanley Williams: He rushed for 113 yards on 16 carries with a pair of TDs. WR Garrett Johnson had a nice game too, with nine receptions for 160 yards (17.8 yards average).
The Wildcats can typically count on a lot from Williams. The 5’9” 196 pound spark plug has rushed for 100 yards or more in three of the five games he has appeared in, and last week marked his second-highest notch of the year. In the Week 1 win over Louisiana Lafayette he rushed for 135 yards, and other than a Week 4 dud against Missouri (though the Wildcats snatched that game), he has been tough to stifle.
Towles ha perhaps his finest game of the season last week, and he has been a dominant QB except for the Florida game. He threw 81.5 percent for completion against Mizzou, the definition player in that game with a pair of TDs and a 183.4 QB rating.
Against Eastern Kentucky last week in the OT win, he threw 29 of 42 (69 percent) with three TDs, but he did throw two picks in the game, while also rushing 13 times for a total of negative-4 yards.
Mississippi State is 5-2 and 1-2 in SEC play, and the team has won its past six straight against Kentucky. Nearly all of those games, however, have been close battles. The Bulldogs were able to take control and win two games it was favored in against Troy and Louisiana Tech. Dak Prescott has been putting together a nice season from the QB position with 1,700 yards, 11 TDs and no picks yet on the season.
Mississippi State really needs this game to have any chance at winning an SEC West title, but it is still unlikely to come. Prescott has been effective on the ground, with 254 yards on 59 carries, but none of the Bulldogs actual backs are having good seasons.
Brandon Holloway has 160 yards on 36 carries, but he has not scored a TD, while Ashton Shumpert (nursing a back injury but expected to play) is good for just 3.8 yards per carry and has only one TD. Nick Fitzgerald has been good in short situations and leads the team with three rushing TDs, but the Bulldogs cannot continue to rely so heavily on Prescott’s arm and the WR corp. It needs some ground production.