Kentucky vs. Mississippi State final score: Bulldogs beat Wildcats, pick up first SEC win

Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

The Wildcats had their chances but came up one score short of knocking off the Bulldogs.

The Mississippi State Bulldogs held on for dear life in the waning moments to beat the Kentucky Wildcats, 28-22, on Thursday night in Starkville, Miss. The Wildcats had the ball in the final minutes and a chance to pull off the upset, but Maxwell Smith's pass fell incomplete on 4th-and-7 and Mississippi State ran out the final 21 seconds of game clock.

Mississippi State was up 21-7 midway through the second quarter and appeared to be well on its way to a comfortable if not aesthetically pleasing win over Kentucky. But a fourth down from the Bulldogs' 4-yard line saw Mississippi State punter Devon Bell drop the snap in the end zone, allowing Kentucky to score a safety after the ball rolled out of bounds.

The Wildcats got a short field on the ensuing kickoff and drove 52 yards on five plays, the last of which was a 14-yard touchdown run by Jojo Kemp. In just 67 seconds, Kentucky had shortened Mississippi State's lead from 21-10 to 21-19. Kentucky then nearly got the ball right back with an onside kick recovery, but the Wildcats were ruled to have been offside, at which point Mark Stoops opted for a more traditional kickoff.

The Bulldogs responded with a touchdown drive of their own, capped by a 17-yard touchdown pass from wide receiver Jameon Lewis' to quarterback Dak Prescott. Yep, that's right. Lewis took the ball from Prescott on a fly sweep and hit the wide open quarterback for a touchdown. Kentucky responded with a field goal to narrow the deficit to six points and got the ball back with a chance to win the game. But the would-be game-winning drive stalled out on the Mississippi State 29-yard line when Smith's fourth down pass fell to the turf.

Box Score Hero: Mississippi State's Jameon Lewis had a rushing touchdown, receiving touchdown, and a passing touchdown, contributing 92 yards of total offense on 10 touches.

Rankings Ramifications: Both Mississippi State and Kentucky came into this game fighting for their first SEC win, and when you're in that position eight weeks into the season, you're not likely to be much of a factor in the polls or the conference standings.

But Did They Cover? Mississippi State was favored to win by 12 points, so their six-point margin of victory was not enough to cover.

For More On This Game: For more on Bulldogs football, visit Mississippi State community For Whom The Cowbell Tolls. For more on Cats football, visit Kentucky community A Sea Of Blue. For more on both teams and their 12 other conference opponents, visit SEC community Team Speed Kills.

Next Week's Schedule: Kentucky will welcome the Alabama State Hornets to Lexington next Saturday while Mississippi Stat travels to Columbia, S.C., to take on the South Carolina Gamecocks.

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