College football final: Kentucky Wildcats 24, Mississippi State Bulldogs 3

Hoping to halt a three-game losing skid, Kentucky travels to Davis Wade Stadium to face the Mississippi State Bulldogs in an SEC matchup. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m ET. The game will be televised by the SEC Network.

Mississippi State is 4-4 overall and 1-4 in the SEC under first-year head coach Zach Arnett. Kentucky is 5-3 overall and 2-3 in the SEC. UK coach Mark Stoops is 0-5 in Starkville as the Wildcats’ coach.

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Final: Kentucky 24, Mississippi State 3

Kentucky snaps a three-game losing streak and improves to 6-3 overall and 3-3 in the SEC. Mark Stoops earns his first victory in Starkville as UK coach after five straight losses. It was also Stoops’ first road win against an SEC West opponent.

Final stats

With freshman Chris Parson in at quarterback for Mississippi State, the Bulldogs drive to a first-and-goal from the UK 2-yard line. But the Cats hold. A personal foul penalty moved State back to the UK. And on fourth-and-goal, J.J. Weaver sacked Parson for a 4-yard loss. UK takes over with 5:58 left.

With Kaiya Sheron now in at quarterback, Kentucky fails to convert on a fourth-and-6 from the State 36-yard line, giving the ball back to the Bulldogs with 11:08 left.

End of third quarter: Kentucky 24, Mississippi State 3

Kentucky leads Mississippi State 24-3 as we head to the fourth quarter.

Stats after three quarters

Alex Raynor now has made 9 of 10 field goals, as he kicks it through the uprights to make it 24-3 Kentucky with 5:51 left in the third quarter. Devin Leary made a great play on the drive, wiggling out of a possible sack and hitting Trayveon Robinson for a 28-yard gain on a third-and-7 from the UK 28-yard line. Leary looked like might have had a similar play, this time for a touchdown, but Dane Key was ruled out of bounds in the end zone.Mississippi State punts on its first possession of the second half.

UK goes three-and-out on its first possession of the second half.

Halftime: Kentucky 21, Mississippi State 3

Kentucky leads Mississippi State 21-3 at the half. UK outgained MSU 159-125. Devin Leary was 9 of 14 passing for 101 yards and two touchdowns.

Halftime stats

Kentucky goes 63 yards nine plays to extend its lead over Mississippi State to 21-3 with 52 seconds left in the half. Barion Brown gained 22 yards no a jet sweep. Dane Key caught the TD on a 4-yard slant from Leary.

Kentucky linebacker D’Eryk Jackson intercepts a Michael Wright pass and returns it 26 yards for a touchdown and a 14-3 Wildcats’ lead with 6:35 left in the first half. That’s Jackson’s second interception of the season. He also made a pick at Vanderbilt.

Kentucky had to punt on its first possession of the second quarter. UK did pick up a first down, but Leary failed to gain a first down on a broken play on third-and-10. Wilson Berry’s punt went just 32 yards, giving State the ball at the 23.

Mississippi State puts together a 20-play, 88-yard drive that ends with Kyle Ferrie kicking a 25-yard field goal to put the Bulldogs on the board. The drive took a ridiculous 12:29. Kentucky leads 7-3 with 8:51 left in the first half.

That’s the longest drive, by plays, against UK’s defense this season. The previous high was 14 by Akron and Vanderbilt. Mississippi State converted four third downs on the drive.

Ferrie is now 11 of 14 on field goals this season.

End of first quarter: Kentucky 7, Mississippi State 0

Kentucky up 7-0 at end of first quarter, but Mississippi State has driven from its own 5 to the UK 40 as the quarter ends.

First quarter stats

On its second possession, Kentucky punted after picking up a first down. Mississippi State has gone three-and-out on its first two possessions. Leary is 7 of 9 for 84 yards with a TD.

Kentucky’s offense picks up from where it left off in the Florida game. A 37-yard pass from Devin Leary to Tayvion Robinson gave Kentucky a first down at the Mississippi State 14-yard line. Leary hit Dane Key for an 8-yard gain and a first down at the 4-yard line. Next play, Leary lobbed a perfect pass to Demi Sumo-Karngbaye for the TD with 10:11 left in the first quarter. UK leads 7-0.

The 37-yarder was Robinson’s second-longest catch of the season. He caught a 56-yard pass against Eastern Kentucky. Leary now with 17 touchdown passes on the season.

Kentucky’s Dane Key (6) runs after a catch against Mississippi State on Saturday, Nov. 4, 2023, in Starkville, Miss. Silas Walker/
Kentucky’s Dane Key (6) runs after a catch against Mississippi State on Saturday, Nov. 4, 2023, in Starkville, Miss. Silas Walker/

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