Mississippi State rolls past Kentucky, stays unbeaten

Logan Lowery, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

LEXINGTON, Ky. -- For only the fifth time in school history, Mississippi State is off to a 5-0 start.
The 20th ranked Bulldogs led a balanced offensive attack to take down Kentucky 27-14 on the road Saturday. LaDarius Perkins and Chad Bumphis both eclipsed the 100-yard plateau with Perkins rushing 25 times for 110 yards with a touchdown while Bumphis hauled in nine passes for 104 yards with a score.
MSU's offense amassed 427 yards on the afternoon led by Tyler Russell, who completed 23 of 39 passes for 269 yards with two scores.
"I was pleased," said MSU head coach Dan Mullen. "One of the big things coming in was we wanted to start fast. When you get on the road, a team playing with some young quarterbacks that is facing some adversity, they wanted to feed off of that home excitement. We talked to our guys about a fast start and I think we certainly had that. We had a really solid first half on both sides of the ball."
Mississippi State set the tone early, marching 85 yards on 13 plays on the first drive of the game, capped off by a 10-yard screen pass from Russell to fullback Adrian Marcus.
Later in the opening quarter Perkins busted loose for a 31-yard touchdown run.
"I thought LaDarius ran the ball well," Mullen said. "It's great to get him 100 yards and he had that big one."
Kentucky dropped to 1-5 on the year and lost to its third straight ranked Southeastern Conference opponent.
Kentucky freshman quarterback Patrick Towles made his first college drive a success early in the second quarter by marching the offense 80 yard in 10-plays and hitting a wide open La'Rod King for a 32-yard touchdown to cut the lead in half.
But Towles left the game just before intermission with an ankle injury and did not return. Fellow true freshman Jalen Whitlow, who started the game under center for the Wildcats, filled in for Towles the rest of the way.
"I thought both of them competed hard," said UK coach Joker Phillips. "Last year these guys were playing for Pratville (Ala.) and Ft. Thomas (Ky.) Highlands and now they're playing on the SEC Network and playing against a top-ranked team."
Whitlow finished 10-of-21 passing for 73 yards while Raymond Sanders added 43 yards on 13 carries. King was UK's leading receiver with two catches for 46 yards and a touchdown.
The Wildcats totaled just 228 yards which included 84 yards on the ground.
"The injuries continue to mount and we continue to get younger and younger," Phillips said. "We've now played 14 true freshmen and at one time there were four or five true freshmen out there competing on defense and on special teams and it's starting to show. It's not an excuse, it's just facts."
The Bulldogs added a pair of field goals from Devon Bell just before halftime to take a 20-7 lead into the locker room.
Mississippi State started the second half with a 27-yard touchdown pass from Russell to Bumphis to set the school record for touchdown catches in a career with 18.
"It's a big deal to get (the record) out of the way finally," Bumphis said. "I mean, I can't say I wasn't thinking about it but there are bigger goals. What we want to do this year is get to Atlanta. This is just one step."
The Wildcats answered midway through the third quarter on a 3-yard touchdown scramble by Whitlow to cut the lead to 27-14 and cap the scoring.
Notes: Towles completed 5 of 6 passes for 71 yards and a touchdown before exiting. ... Mississippi State sophomore defensive tackle P.J. Jones played for the first time all season after a four-game suspension for a violation of team rules. ... MSU opened the season at 5-0 for the first time since 1999.