Kentucky Wildcats at Mississippi State Bulldogs (-10.5, 56)
Mississippi State looks for its fifth straight victory over Kentucky when the Southeastern Conference cross-divisional rivals square off in primetime Thursday. The Bulldogs are after the first five-game winning streak by either team in the series, which has seen the last five meetings decided by an average of eight points. "I know our guys look forward to this game and treat it as a little bit of a rivalry game for us," Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen said. "… You know it's a team you're playing every year."
The Wildcats have dropped four straight - all against teams that were ranked in the top 25 at the time - and had a week off following a 48-7 trouncing versus No. 1 Alabama on Oct. 12. "I think having a chance to recoup physically and mentally I think should help us going into this game," first-year Kentucky coach Mark Stoops told reporters. "I think our preparation has been very good. I feel like the team is in a good place right now." Mississippi State has alternated losses and wins all season and shoots for its first winning streak after a 21-20 victory over Bowling Green on Oct. 12.TV:
7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE:
Mississippi State opened as a 9.5-point home favorite and moved to -10.5. The total jumped from 55 points to 56.WEATHER:
Temperatures in the low 50s with partly cloudy skies and winds blowing WNW at 2 mph.
ABOUT KENTUCKY (1-5, 0-3 SEC, 2-4 ATS):
The Wildcats expected quarterback Jalen Whitlow to miss at least one game after spraining his left ankle against Alabama, but he returned to practice Monday and could be ready to start. Fellow sophomore Maxwell Smith will get the nod if Whitlow can't play, taking the reins of an offense that has been balanced, but far from explosive. Kentucky has been tough against the pass but allows 213.3 rushing yards per game - 107th among the 123 FBS teams, which might spell trouble against the Bulldogs' strong ground game. ABOUT MISSISSIPPI STATE (3-3, 0-2, 3-3 ATS):
The Bulldogs have been a bit of a one-man show on offense, with quarterback Dak Prescott leading the team with 457 rushing yards and eight touchdowns to go along with 890 passing yards and three TDs. Prescott splits time with Tyler Russell, who missed time with a concussion but has played the past two games and threw for 248 yards and two TDs in those contests. The defense was torched in a 59-26 loss to LSU on Oct. 5 but has held its own against dangerous offenses in losses to Oklahoma State and Auburn.TRENDS:
* Wildcats are 5-2 ATS in their last seven meetings in Mississippi State.
* Road team is 6-1 ATS in their last seven meetings.
* Wildcats are 0-4 ATS in their last four meetings.EXTRA POINTS:
1. Mississippi State has rushed for 200 yards or more in five consecutive games for the first time since 2010. The Bulldogs rank 23rd in the nation with 214.3 rushing yards per game.
2. The Wildcats have been bold on fourth down, going for it 13 times and converting nine. The 69.2 percent conversion rate ranks 15th in the nation (eighth among teams with at least 10 attempts).
3. Prescott has topped 100 yards rushing in two straight games and three of the past four and has at least one rushing touchdown in five straight contests.