NCAA Game Summary - Kentucky at Mississippi State
(Saturday, October 30th)
Final Score: (23) Mississippi State 24, Kentucky 17
Starkville, MS (Sports Network) - Chris Relf threw for one touchdown and ran for the go-ahead score in the fourth quarter, as 23rd-ranked Mississippi State downed the Kentucky Wildcats, 24-17, at Davis Wade Stadium.
Relf completed 7-of-16 passes for 111 yards, and rushed 16 times for 80 yards. Vick Ballard rushed for 104 yards and a TD, while Arceto Clark caught a touchdown pass for the Bulldogs (7-2, 3-2 SEC), who won their sixth straight contest going into a bye week before a game at Alabama on November 13.
"(Kentucky) did a great job of controlling the tempo of the game, controlling the clock and keeping us off the field." said Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen "We did not execute very cleanly on offense at times...but we came away with a win and that is the most important statistic"
Mike Hartline went 23-of-41 for 258 yards and two touchdowns, but was picked off three times for the Wildcats (4-5, 1-5), who lost for the fifth time in six games. Randall Cobb caught 12 passes for 171 yards and a touchdown.
"They had a great defensive scheme tonight," Hartline said. "As far as personnel grouping, blitzing and the different coverages I haven't seen, they did a great job. I told their coach and several of their players they did a good job of confusing me."
Hartline connected with Moncell Allen in the corner of the end zone for a two- yard touchdown with 1:37 left in the third to tie the game at 17. The touchdown completed a 12-play, 81-yard drive that took 6:19 off the clock.
On their first drive of the fourth quarter it was Relf establishing his legs and his arm to lead the Mississippi State offense. After a 35-yard completion to Chad Bumphis that brought the ball down to the Kentucky 28, Relf and Ballard worked the ball down deep into Kentucky territory.
On a 1st-and-goal at the four, Relf took the quarterback keeper up the middle and punched it in for the four-yard touchdown run to put Mississippi State up 24-17.
"Chris makes those drives at the end when the game is on the line though. He knows when it is time to step up and he did tonight." said Mullen.
Kentucky got the ball back with just under 5:08 remaining, and after getting the ball down to the Mississippi State 20, Hartline went for a last effort on a 4th-and-10, but the pass was intercepted by Johnthan Banks, which allowed the Bulldogs to run out the clock.
"They made the final play when they needed to," said Mullen "and it will be good to go into the bye week and get some of these guys some rest."
The Bulldogs got on the board first with a Derek DePasquale 33-yard field goal on their first drive of the game and added seven more with a Ballard 54-yard run that extended their lead with 5 1/2 minutes left in the first quarter.
"It feels great to have this kind of winning streak. Coming into the season I didn't know what to expect but now this whole team is expecting something big. We have proven ourselves to everyone so far and we have two weeks to rest and continue to keep proving ourselves." said Ballard.
The Wildcats got in the end zone on the following drive with a Hartline 48- yard pass that connected with Cobb to put the game at 10-7.
Mississippi State kept the lead at the end of the quarter and extended it on their first drive of the second. Relf connected with Clark 21 yards to extend the Bulldogs' lead to 17-7.
Attempting to close the gap going into the half, the Wildcats were looking for the end zone, but settled for a Craig McIntosh 43-yard field goal to put the game at 17-10 heading into the locker room.
Mississippi State has won two of the last three meetings against Kentucky, including their 31-24 win last season in Lexington...The Wildcats had the edge in first downs (24-14) and controlled the ball for 10 more minutes then the Bulldogs (35:45-24:15)...Next week the Wildcats will host Charleston Southern.
10/31 00:08:58 ET