Week 8 Saturday Six-Pack: Going Off The Grid



Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. ET/4:30 p.m. PT

TV: SEC Network

Las Vegas Line: Mississippi State -11

Last week’s home loss to Auburn could prove pivotal to Kentucky’s season. Either the Wildcats rally and find a way back into the unpredictable SEC East race, or they fall apart down the stretch.

Saturday’s visit to Starkville should provide insight as to which direction Kentucky’s season takes.

The Bulldogs settled in nicely after falling behind Louisiana Tech by two scores last week, shutting down the visitors for most of the final three quarters. That game captured the M.O. of the Mississippi State defense thus far this season: give up points in a small burst but otherwise, play even of ahead of the competition.

It’s an understandable arc for a young defense left to replace nine starters from a season ago.

Against Louisiana Tech, the Bulldogs mustered more than enough offense to weather the initial barrage. Against LSU and Texas A&M, Mississippi State’s offense could not compensate for its brief defensive lulls.

Each week, youth becomes a less reasonable excuse for these Bulldogs. Manny Diaz’s defense must put together four full quarters of consistent play against a Kentucky offense still crafting its identity.

Kentucky quarterback Patrick Towles can be turnover prone. If A.J. Jefferson or any other Bulldog pass-rushers can get into the backfield and force Towles to throw under duress, Mississippi State should be able to dictate the tone early.

PREDICTION: Mississippi State 35, Kentucky 21