Oct 10, 2020; Lexington, Kentucky, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs wide receiver JaVonta Payton (0) runs the ball against the Kentucky Wildcats in the first half at Kroger Field. Mandatory Credit: Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

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Kentucky (6 INTs) shuts down Mississippi State, 24-2

Kentucky defenders intercepted six passes and the Wildcats, despite picking up only 10 first downs, defeated visiting Mississippi State 24-2 for their first victory of the season Saturday night in Lexington, Ky.

The clinching pick came when Jordan Wright returned K.J. Costello’s pass eight yards for a score with 6:25 remaining. D’Eryk Jackson’s interception of Will Rogers ended the game.

A week after defensive failures in a 42-41 overtime loss to Mississippi, Kentucky was up to the task on that side. The Wildcats were held to just 157 yards of total offense.

Quarterback Terry Wilson of Kentucky (1-2, 1-2 Southeastern Conference) accounted for 123 yards (73 passing, 50 rushing). Matt Ruffolo’s 35-yard field goal with 49 seconds left completed the scoring.

The Bulldogs (1-2, 1-2), trailing 14-2, appeared to perk up behind backup Rogers, whose fourth-and-5 pass from the Kentucky 36 on the last play of the third quarter produced 13 yards. After reaching the Wildcats’ 18, Rogers was intercepted in the end zone by Jamar Watson.

Costello was 36-for-55 for 232 yards and four interceptions.

Mississippi State began the second half with a failed fourth-and-1, an interception (with Kelvin Joseph collecting the INT) and a punt — all without securing a first down. Kentucky countered with a fumble and punt without picking up a first down.

The Wildcats led 14-0 despite recording only five first downs by midway through the third quarter.

Mississippi State scored on a safety on Kentucky’s wayward snap from punt formation, with punter Max Kelly opting to boot the ball through the end zone rather than set up the Bulldogs in ideal field position.

The Wildcats struck less than three minutes into the second quarter when Wilson connected with Keaton Upshaw on a 12-yard touchdown play for the game’s first points.

Joshua Paschal returned an interception 76 yards to the Mississippi State 2. The Wildcats scored on the next play when Chris Rodriquez Jr. ran in.

Wilson was more active carrying the ball than throwing it in the first half. He had 37 passing yards and 66 rushing yards before the break.

Costello threw 36 first-half passes with 26 completions.

Mississippi State threatened before Brandon Ruiz missed on a 56-yard field goal attempt in the second quarter. Also in the first half, the Bulldogs punted three times and lost the ball when Costello threw interceptions after Mississippi State reached the Kentucky 20-yard line and the Kentucky 4.

The latter drive consisted of 12 plays for 71 yards before the 13th snap resulted in Jamin Davis’ interception in the end zone on the last play of the first half.

–Field Level Media

Field Level Media
Sport Writer & Editor
FLM has a North American focus while tying into regional and hyper-local resources – providing the ability to distribute compelling content through the writing of professional journalists. As the U.S. sports content provider to dozens of digital and print media publishers through strategic partnerships with the likes of Reuters and Nielsen Sports, FLM covers the nuts and bolts with a breaking news desk and game event coverage.

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