Kentucky-Mississippi State: Escape Cats Edge Bulldogs, Become Bowl Eligible

Nathan TowlesCorrespondent INovember 1, 2008

Kentucky players are shining their bowling shoes for the third straight year after defeating Mississippi State 14-13 on Saturday afternoon.

It was a beautiful afternoon for football, but Kentucky and Mississippi State did not get the memo.

The game was more exciting than what Mississippi State (game vs. Auburn) and Kentucky (game vs. Florida) have had this season, but not by much.

At the start, Kentucky looked like they did last Saturday. The offense didn't move the ball under Randall Cobb, making his first college start, as they would have liked.

The defense didn't look much better, allowing Tyson Lee to toss a 29-yard touchdown pass to Brandon McRae.

Mississippi State was headed for another score before the Kentucky defense stepped up and stopped them on fourth down.

That was when the momentum changed.

Mike Hartline came into the game and moved the ball and got Kentucky going.

Kentucky seemed like they were going to get into the game before halftime. However, Lones Seiber thought it would be better to wait as he missed his field goal attempt.

The second half had all the excitement. Randall Cobb came back to start the third quarter and had great field position after Tony Dixon had a 42-yard return to start the third.

Cobb led the Cats 53 yards to pay dirt and finished it off with his five-yard touchdown run. That tied the game at seven.

But Cobb wasn't done.

He led them on an 82-yard drive that was finished with a three-yard touchdown pass to Maurice Grinter.

Then the nerves started to act up for fans.

Mississippi State rallied to get another touchdown, but the extra point try was blocked, leaving Kentucky ahead 14-13.

Mississippi State was not out just yet.

Adam Carlson had a chip shot from 27 yards, but his field goal attempt hit the post and bounced out.

That wasn't the end for Mississippi State—there was one more shot.

The only thing that they had to do was get into field goal position, but they had to get past a 4th-and-7.

That wasn't going to happen. Tyson Lee was forced to throw, and his pass was intercepted by Robbie McAtee to clinch a Kentucky victory.

"There were a lot of things we can build off from this game," coach Rich Brooks said to the Herald-Leader. "I'm proud of the effort, the guts, the determination and just finding a way to win a game on the road, which is hard in this league. I hope (the players) know we have a chance to do something special, even though we had a major egg-laying last week. This wasn't the prettiest example of football, but it was a pretty nice win."

A win is a win. Another win out of the next three games will put Kentucky at the win total of the past two years, not counting the bowl win.

A hard-fought win was what Kentucky needed and just what they got. It didn't need to be the prettiest, just a win.

Next week Kentucky will host Georgia, which lost to Florida very badly on Saturday.