Cats end losing skid with win over Bulldogs

Published 9:30 am Monday, November 6, 2023

Kentucky ended a three-game losing streak and became bowl-eligible Saturday night.

The Wildcats (6-3, 3-3 Southeastern Conference) captured their first win in Starkville since 2008 and gave Mark Stoops his first road win over the Bulldogs with a 24-3 victory. The two teams had split their eight previous meetings, with each team winning at home.

The end of the streak came at a crucial time for Kentucky, which became eligible for a postseason bowl berth for a school-record eighth consecutive time.

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Kentucky, which had given up 122 points in its previous three games, limited Mississippi State to just a field goal and 218 total yards.

For the second week in a row, Wildcats quarterback Devin Leary was on target and threw for 156 yards and a pair of touchdowns before leaving the game early in the fourth quarter after taking a hard hit on a sack in the second half. Backup signal caller Kaiya Sheron replaced Leary in the pocket and played the remainder of the contest.

After gaining most of its yardage in the air in a loss to Tennessee last week, Kentucky placed a renewed emphasis on the running game and gained 110 yards on the ground against the Bulldogs on the ground. Ray Davis paced the attack with 80 yards rushing on 21 carries. Five different receivers each had a catch for Kentucky, with Tayvion Robinson hauling in five passes for 91 yards.

Dane Key and Demie Karngbaye-Sumo each caught a touchdown pass from Leary. Overall the Wildcats finished with 271 total yards.

The Bulldogs (4-5, 1-5) were without veteran quarterback Will Rogers and running back Woody Marks, both of whom are nursing injuries.

Kentucky’s next opponent, No. 8 Alabama, posted a 42-28 win over 14th-ranked LSU on Saturday night in Tuscaloosa.