Kentucky snaps losing streak with decisive win over Mississippi State
Field Level Media
Nov 4, 2023
Devin Leary fired two touchdown passes as Kentucky snapped a three-game losing streak and became bowl eligible Saturday night with a 24-3 win over Mississippi State in Starkville, Miss.
The Wildcats (6-3, 3-3 SEC East) built a 21-3 halftime lead and cruised on to their first victory at Mississippi State since 2008.
The win marked the first time Kentucky has been victorious in consecutive meetings with the Bulldogs since 2005 and 2006.
The team's bowl eligibility marked the eighth straight season Kentucky will play in the postseason.
Over three quarters of play, Leary was 13 of 22 for 156 yards with scoring passes to Demie Sumo-Karngbaye and Dane Key.
Ray Davis rushed for 80 yards on 21 carries, and Tayvion Robinson caught five passes for 91 yards.
Linebacker D'Eryk Jackson snared a pick-6 for the Wildcats' fourth defensive score this season.
Kentucky moved ahead 26-25 in the all-time series.
For the Bulldogs (4-5, 1-5 West), Mike Wright went 11 of 21 for 78 yards with an interception. Chris Parson relieved him in the second half and was 6 of 14 for 67 yards.
Zavion Thomas had 44 yards on six receptions.
Mississippi State quarterback Will Rogers and running back Jo'Quavious Marks did not play due to injury.
On its first series in the 51st meeting between the schools, Kentucky went 62 yards in eight plays behind Leary as all the yards were produced through the air.
The transfer quarterback from N.C. State finished it at 10:11 with a four-yard play-action pass to Sumo-Karngbaye for the running back's first TD reception this season.
In the second quarter, the Bulldogs put together a marathon drive for their first points, traveling 88 yards in 20 plays on a drive that took 12:29 off the clock. Kyle Ferrie capped the long possession with a 25-yard field goal at 8:51.
As halftime approached, Jackson stepped in and intercepted Wright's short pass. The linebacker rumbled 28 yards with his second interception and crossed the goal line for a 14-3 edge.
With just 52 seconds left in the half, Leary found Key on a four-yard slant for the sophomore's second consecutive game with a TD reception, putting Kentucky up 21-3 at halftime.
On its second series of the third quarter, Kentucky's Alex Raynor nailed a 32-yard field goal at 5:51 for the second half's only points.
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