Kentucky (5-3, 2-3 SEC) at Mississippi State (4-4, 1-4), Saturday, 7:30 p.m. ET (SEC)
Line: Kentucky by 4 1/2, according to FanDuel.com Sportsbook.
Series record: Tied at 25.
WHAT’S AT STAKE?
Kentucky aims to end a three-game losing streak and become bowl eligible for an eighth consecutive season. Mississippi State seeks its second league win a week after falling at Auburn.
Kentucky running back Ray Davis vs. Mississippi State’s run defense. The SEC’s leading rusher (823 yards) managed just 42 on 16 carries in the loss to Tennessee but scored his ninth touchdown to remain its top scorer with 84 points. His per-game rushing average of nearly 103 yards ranks in the top 15 nationally while his 6.48 yards per carry are second in the SEC and 12th nationally. The Bulldogs are 53rd in FBS against the run (134.9) and ninth in the SEC and seek improvement after allowing 186 yards on the ground at Auburn. They had yielded 219 yards combined the previous two games, including just 103 at Arkansas.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Kentucky quarterback Devin Leary is coming off a season-best 372 yards passing with two touchdowns in a 33-27 loss to No. 17 Tennessee. The North Carolina State transfer has 1,749 passing yards (218.6 per game) while completing 56.8% of passes (134 for 236), with 16 touchdowns and seven interceptions.
Mississippi State linebackers Jett Johnson and Nathaniel Watson have been all over the field for the Bulldogs and lead the SEC with 84 and 80 tackles, respectively. Johnson has averaged 9.5 tackles over the past 21 games and reached double digits in five of six contests. Watson had nine stops at Auburn after posting career bests of 14 with two sacks at Arkansas.
FACTS & FIGURES
Kentucky won last year’s meeting 27-17 in Lexington. … The home team has won each meeting dating to 2014. … The Bulldogs have rushed for 10 touchdowns and allowed 10 on the ground. … Will Rogers remains listed as the starting QB despite recovering from a shoulder injury. Mike Wright has passed for 246 yards and rushed for 123 while starting the past two. … Kentucky committed just four penalties for 21 yards against the Volunteers and improved to 12th in the SEC (500) after ranking last the previous week.
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AP college football: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-football-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/college-football