Rough loss to Kentucky humbles No. 23 Mississippi State

The 23rd-ranked Bulldogs and their fan base have been looking forward to Saturday’s game against Florida for several months.

Posted: Sep 26, 2018 3:25 PM

STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi State suddenly has a lot bigger problems than former coach Dan Mullen coming to town.

The 23rd-ranked Bulldogs and their fan base have been looking forward to Saturday’s game against Florida for several months, ever since Mullen left Starkville after nine seasons to become the Gators’ head coach. But instead of going into the weekend undefeated Mississippi State is smarting after a 28-7 road loss to Kentucky .

The setback certainly put a damper on first-year coach Joe Moorhead’s honeymoon in Starkville. And he will certainly face more difficult questions if he can’t beat the man he replaced on Saturday.

“We need to handle adversity, which we’re now forced to confront with this one loss,” Moorhead said. “We can’t let the same game beat us twice, so we can’t let the ramifications or collateral damage of this Kentucky game affect us in the Florida game or moving forward.”

Mississippi State (3-1, 0-1 Southeastern Conference) struggled against Kentucky, especially on offense and with penalties. The Bulldogs have been one of the SEC’s best rushing teams the past few seasons, but were held to just 56 yards on the ground on 28 carries Saturday.

The lack of an effective run game was surprising, but maybe the most frustrating thing for Moorhead was how his veteran team lost its composure on the road in Lexington. The Bulldogs were called for 16 penalties, including multiple false starts and unsportsmanlike conducts.

“I think you can exert maximum effort and do the things that are necessary to be successful on every play without losing your head and being hot-tempered,” Moorhead said. “There’s a difference between playing hard and picking up the ball and throwing it at somebody, or playing hard and pushing somebody after the snap. That’s not toughness.”

Mississippi State’s poor running game revealed a familiar problem over the past few seasons. If the Bulldogs can’t run the ball, the passing game can’t save them. Senior quarterback Nick Fitzgerald was just 16 of 32 passing for 145 yards and an interception.

Mississippi State struggled to stop Kentucky’s star linebacker Josh Allen, who caused havoc in the Bulldogs’ backfield the entire game.

“You hear the term don’t let the game-wreckers wreck the game, and the kid to his credit played a great game,” Moorhead said. “We have to do better. I have to do better.”

One positive for Mississippi State is that its goals for the season all remain intact. Since Kentucky plays in the Eastern Division, the Bulldogs still control their own destiny in the Western Division as they continue to navigate the SEC gauntlet.

Moorhead pointed to his experience as offensive coordinator at Penn State in 2016 as proof that one — of even a few — bad games don’t have to ruin a season. The Nittany Lions started that year with a 1-2 record before winning nine straight games, including the Big 10 Championship, and advancing to the Rose Bowl.

“One loss won’t define this season. One loss won’t define this team,” Moorhead said. “I promise you this, we are working tirelessly, and we are going to get this freaking thing right.”

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 255125

Reported Deaths: 5574
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto17197175
Hinds16280322
Harrison13502193
Rankin10749211
Jackson10407183
Lee8819141
Madison8262162
Jones6375110
Forrest5992119
Lauderdale5873180
Lowndes5381116
Lafayette496692
Lamar487565
Washington4800123
Bolivar3978108
Oktibbeha393880
Panola370779
Pontotoc365353
Monroe3543105
Warren353498
Union344760
Marshall342665
Neshoba3383152
Pearl River329799
Leflore3004105
Lincoln297685
Sunflower284969
Hancock273459
Tate272462
Alcorn264053
Pike263577
Itawamba262959
Scott246645
Yazoo245955
Prentiss245652
Copiah241949
Tippah241750
Simpson235767
Coahoma233754
Leake231164
Grenada218470
Covington213071
Marion212072
Adams205870
Wayne201331
Winston200564
George199338
Attala193759
Newton192842
Tishomingo186359
Chickasaw183944
Jasper170835
Holmes168767
Clay159433
Stone143621
Tallahatchie141034
Clarke138960
Calhoun136121
Smith120823
Yalobusha117034
Walthall112336
Noxubee110522
Greene110229
Montgomery109634
Carroll104521
Lawrence102617
Perry102231
Amite98025
Webster92424
Tunica86721
Claiborne86625
Jefferson Davis84825
Humphreys83024
Benton81823
Kemper77220
Quitman6918
Franklin66615
Choctaw60513
Wilkinson58425
Jefferson54319
Sharkey43017
Issaquena1596
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 424028

Reported Deaths: 6121
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson62258921
Mobile30381549
Madison27160186
Tuscaloosa20779267
Montgomery19049305
Shelby18572114
Baldwin16346182
Lee12515101
Morgan12260113
Etowah11757168
Calhoun11161200
Marshall10199107
Houston8630148
Cullman8036105
Limestone802874
Elmore7849101
DeKalb768897
Lauderdale760083
St. Clair7555120
Talladega6180108
Walker5903174
Jackson581341
Colbert533573
Blount530883
Autauga519855
Coffee443956
Dale398581
Franklin367548
Chilton337665
Russell331710
Covington327768
Escambia319342
Dallas303396
Chambers284269
Clarke282133
Tallapoosa2617107
Pike249429
Marion246250
Lawrence244247
Winston227335
Bibb216247
Geneva202535
Marengo199729
Pickens197031
Hale176442
Barbour173036
Butler170258
Fayette169026
Cherokee160530
Henry154421
Monroe145617
Randolph140735
Washington137726
Clay126745
Crenshaw119544
Lamar118219
Cleburne117723
Macon115035
Lowndes110735
Wilcox103121
Bullock99128
Perry97719
Conecuh94420
Sumter89126
Greene76123
Coosa60515
Choctaw51524
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Mostly Cloudy
45° wxIcon
Hi: 53° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 41°
Columbus
Cloudy
48° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 48°
Oxford
Cloudy
39° wxIcon
Hi: 55° Lo: 40°
Feels Like: 36°
Starkville
Cloudy
45° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 45°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather