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UK defense shuts down Mississippi State Air Raid attack in 24-2 victory on Saturday night

KyForward staff

The University of Kentucky defense literally intercepted a victory Saturday night against Mississippi State’s vaunted Air Raid offense.

UK picked off six passes — including an 8-yard interception return for a touchdown from Jordan Wright in the fourth quarter — during a 24-2 victory over Mississippi State at Kroger Field. The Wildcat defense intercepted Bulldog starting quarterback K.J. Costello four times and added two picks against Mississippi State backup Will Rogers to key the victory.

UK linebacker Josh Paschal pressures Mississippi State quarterback K.J. Costello on Saturday night. (UK photo)

Kentucky improved to 1-2, while Mississippi State dropped to 1-2. The Wildcats held the Bulldogs to the fewest points ever scored by a Mike Leach-coached team.

Terry Wilson threw a touchdown pass and rushed for 50 yards to lead UK. His 12-yard scoring toss to Keaton Upshaw in the second quarter gave the Wildcats a 7-0 lead. Chris Rodriguez extended the UK advantage to 14-0 with a 2-yard touchdown run with 3:48 left in the first half.

Mississippi State’s offense was unable to solve the UK defense, but the Bulldogs finally scored courtesy of a safety in the third quarter. Jamin Davis led UK with 11 tackles and also intercepted a pass.

Wright’s interception and score with 6:25 left in the game gave UK a 21-2 lead. Matt Ruffolo booted a 35-yard field goal with less than a minute remaining to cap the Wildcat scoring.

Mississippi State finished with 295 yards of total offense, compared to 157 for Kentucky. The Bulldogs, however, were penalized eight times for 57 yards and turned the ball over six times — all on interceptions.

Wilson finished 8-of-20 passing for 73 yards. Costello completed 36 passes in 55 attempts for 232 yards with four interceptions and was sacked twice.

UK plays at Tennessee next Saturday at noon.

(Information compiled from UK Athletics and staff reports)

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