With two conference losses already, it is highly unlikely that Mississippi State will win the SEC West this season, but in order to keep its slim hopes of a conference title alive, the Bulldogs must win their final five games. First up is the Kentucky Wildcats.
Here’s what else you need to know about Saturday’s game between Mississippi State and Kentucky:
Kentucky Wildcats (4-2, 2-2 SEC) at Mississippi State Bulldogs (5-2, 1-2 SEC)
Kickoff: Saturday, Oct. 24 at 7:30 p.m. ET
Weather: 75 degree, cloudy (Weather.com)
Line: Mississippi State -11.5
By the numbers
4- The number of years since Mississippi State last wore their black jerseys for a game. The last time the Bulldogs wore black, they beat Louisiana Tech 26-20 in overtime in 2011. This is also the ‘fourth’ time the Bulldogs have supported the black jerseys during the Dan Mullen era. Mississippi State is 1-2 with the lone win coming over LA Tech.
6- Mullen might not have a great record when the Bulldogs wear black, but he is a perfect 6-0 against the Wildcats. Mississippi State will try to extend its six-game winning streak over rival Kentucky and break the 19-19 all-time series tie between the two schools.
274- The number of passes quarterback Dak Prescott has thrown without an interception. If he can attempt 18 more passes without a pick on Saturday, he will pass Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron for the second longest streak of pass attempts without an interception in SEC history.
Storylines to watch
Prescott vs. the SEC Record Book
The Mississippi State quarterback continues to move his name up the list of several SEC records. With 17 passing yards, Prescott will eclipse Jason Campbell for the 33rd most passing yards all-time in the SEC. If he scores one rushing touchdown this week, Prescott will be tied with Todd Gurley, Emmitt Smith and Lars Tate for 15th all-time on the SEC rushing touchdowns list. And if Prescott has a huge day and scores four touchdowns, he will surpass Johnny Manziel ranking sixth all-time for total touchdowns in SEC history.
Kentucky junior quarterback Patrick Towles vs. Prescott
All eyes will be on Prescott and whether or not he can earn these records this week, but the fact of the matter remains that the Mississippi State defense must stop Towles in order to win the game. The Bulldogs were unable to slow down Towles last season as he threw for a career-high 390 passing yards. He also ran for 79 yards and accounted for four touchdowns. Towles outplaying Prescott is the key to a Kentucky upset.
The Blackout Crowd
Mullen said it himself during his press conferences this week, one of the best ways to slow down a quarterback is crowd noise. The bells will be ringing loudly at Wade Davis Stadium, and the entire crowd will be dressed in black. How much that will influence the junior quarterback from Kentucky will greatly affect the outcome.
Replacing Will Redmond
Mississippi State lost its top defensive back Will Redmond for the season when he tore his ACL in practice on Thursday. Teams never want to lose an NFL-caliber defender like Redmond, but it is even worse for the Bulldogs because Mississippi State practiced all week as if he was going to play. How his replacement plays will have as big of an affect on the outcome as the crowd noise.
Prediction: Mississippi State 38, Kentucky 30
Kentucky will cover the spread as Towles will be able to move the ball against the Mississippi State defense, but the Bulldogs will prove to be too much. Prescott plays mistake free once again, and look for the Bulldogs to make another big play in the kicking game that proves to be a difference-maker.