Cats in for a dogfight against No. 1 Miss. St.: 3 keys to an upset
10/24/2014 12:41 AM
The 5-2 Kentucky Wildcats will have a huge opportunity when the No. 1 Mississippi State Bulldogs come to town. Kickoff is 3:30pm at Commonwealth Stadium, which is at least one thing this young Kentucky team has going for them.
The undefeated Bulldogs have already taken down LSU, who the Cats struggled mightily with last weekend, as well as Texas A&M and Auburn back-to-back. Mississippi State has looked flawless in their previous two games and are going to well-rested coming off a bye week.
If Kentucky is going to pull off the upset, they’re going to have to take advantage of a few things.
*1. Home Field Advantage *- Commonwealth should (and will) be rocking on Saturday afternoon. The longer Kentucky’s defense holds tight, and the more solid drives the offense can put together…. the more pressure will mount on the shoulders of the nation’s number-1.
2. Contain Dak Prescott – Mississippi State QB and Heisman candidate, Dak Prescott, must be contained. Mental errors and physical gaffs must be kept to a minimum. This is where UK senior DE Bud Dupree needs to impose his leadership and will. He must keep the defense’s energy up from the very first snap.
3. Big players must show up to win big games – Kentucky has no shortage of playmakers, it’s just a matter of when those playmakers will show up. Last weekend in Death Valley, none showed up. This weekend, defensive studs like Bud Dupree, Za’Darius Smith, and AJ Stamps must make plays. And QB Patrick Towles doesn’t have to be flawless… but he has to be close. He also needs two or three impact guys (consistent threats) to emerge out of the backfield and the receiving core. Think back to the Florida and South Carolina games… in order to be in the game down the stretch in the SEC, the offense must break a few big, unexpected plays that put six points on the board. Against South Carolina, it took a few on offense and defense.
No one is giving Kentucky a chance in this one. The experts have Miss. St. favored by two touchdowns. But that’s why I think it’s a potentially dangerous game for a new #1 team, coming off a bye week, and playing on the road.