Bulldogs bulldoze Kentucky

Published 8:00 pm Saturday, October 21, 2017

STARKVILLE (AP) — Nick Fitzgerald had 270 total yards and three touchdowns to lead Mississippi State to a 45-7 victory over Kentucky on Saturday.

Mississippi State (5-2, 2-2 Southeastern Conference) dominated the game from the opening quarter and never trailed. The Bulldogs finished with 441 yards of total offense and averaged 5.9 per play.

“We still got it,” wide receiver Donald Grey said. “We’ve still got some growing to do, but we haven’t fallen all the way off.”

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Fitzgerald, a junior, led all rushers with 115 yards and became just the sixth SEC quarterback to rush for more than 2,000 career yards. He was also 18-of-26 passing for 155 yards and a touchdown to Jordan Thomas.

Kentucky (5-2, 2-2) managed just 260 yards of offense and 14 first downs against one of the nation’s toughest defenses. They trailed 17-7 at the half and crossed midfield on three drives the entire game.

“We were able to take them out of what they wanted to do early,” MSU coach Dan Mullen said. “I challenged our defense to really get after the quarterback in the second half, and they really stepped up.”

Kentucky’s Stephen Johnson was 13-of-28 passing for 117 yards, but threw two interceptions including an 84-yard pick-six by Gerri Green.

Kentucky’s defense was even less successful. The nation’s No. 10 rushing defense allowed a season high 282 yards on the ground.

“We knew with their rush defense they were going to want to stop the run,” Mullen said. “So we tried to come out balanced so they couldn’t load up the line. Then we could wear them down.”

Mississippi State dominated time of possession, holding the ball for 34:49.

“Even on the first series you could see, we’re moving these guys,” Fitzgerald said. “If we’re going to keep getting three or four yards a pop, we’re going to be fine.”

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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