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GAMEDAY College Football

Kentucky 27, Mississippi State 17

(AP Photo/Michael Clubb)

By GARY B. GRAVES
AP Sports Writer

LEXINGTON, Ky. - Chris Rodriguez Jr. rushed for 196 yards and two second-half scores, Will Levis returned from a one-game absence to throw a go-ahead touchdown pass and No. 22 Kentucky topped No. 16 Mississippi State 27-17 to halt a two-game slide.

Rodriguez achieved season highs in yardage and carries (30) in his third game back from a suspension. He rushed for touchdowns of 16 and 7 yards. The Wildcats (5-2, 2-2 Southeastern Conference) sorely needed his second score for insurance, coming right after Emmanuel Forbes returned an interception 59 yards for a touchdown to get the Bulldogs (5-2, 2-2) within 20-17.

Levis started after missing last week's 24-14 loss to South Carolina with a left foot injury and began promisingly, even though Kentucky had only a field goal to show for it in a 3-3 first half marred by 16 combined penalties for 124 yards. His 33-yard completion to Barion Brown led to a go-ahead field goal in the third quarter, but he landed hard on his shoulder after being hit while throwing and went to the locker room for examination.

Levis was back for the next possession and eventually threaded a 3-yard touchdown pass to Rahsaan Lewis on fourth down to put Kentucky up 13-10 with 4:10 remaining in the third. Rodriguez bulled ahead to make it 20-10 with 11:43 left, and Kentucky had a chance to extend its lead before Levis threw the interception that got the Bulldogs close.

Forbes had it read right away and jumped the route for an easy pickoff. It was his second pick-six in three games and the fifth of his career, tying an SEC record.

Levis quickly regrouped to hit Dekel Crowdus with a 50-yard strike, and Rodriguez dragged several defenders with him for the 7-yard TD run that was upheld on review.

Levis finished 17 of 23 passing for 230 yards to outdo record-breaking MSU counterpart Will Rogers, who was 25 of 37 for 203 and a 1-yard TD to Austin Williams.

THE TAKEAWAY

Mississippi State: The Bulldogs entered the game clicking in all phases and averaging over 40 points during their three-game winning streak. Everything came to a screeching halt as they reached the end zone just once, and that was midway through the third period. The ground game managed just 22 yards.

Kentucky: The Wildcats looked more whole with Levis back and Rodriguez adding another solid performance. Their defense bounced back big time from a flat second half last week, pressuring Rogers and limiting his receivers' space after the catch.


Scoring Summary
Second Quarter MissStKty
MissSt FG 8:26 Massimo Biscardi 48 yard field goal 3 0
Kty FG 0:04 Matt Ruffolo 28 yard field goal 3 3
Third Quarter MissStKty
Kty FG 11:34 Matt Ruffolo 37 yard field goal 3 6
MissSt TD 8:28 Austin Williams 1 yard TD pass from Will Rogers (Massimo Biscardi Extra Point) 10 6
Kty TD 4:10 Rahsaan Lewis 3 yard TD pass from Will Levis (Matt Ruffolo Extra Point) 10 13
Fourth Quarter MissStKty
Kty TD 11:43 Chris Rodriguez Jr. 16 yard TD run (Matt Ruffolo Extra Point) 10 20
MissSt TD 4:10 Emmanuel Forbes 59 yard interception return for TD (Massimo Biscardi Extra Point) 17 20
Kty TD 5:30 Chris Rodriguez Jr. 7 yard TD run (Matt Ruffolo Extra Point) 17 27
Team Stats
  Mississippi State Kentucky
First downs 13 27
  Rushing 1 14
  Passing 10 7
  Penalty 2 6
3rd Down Efficiency 3-11, 27% 7-15, 47%
4th down efficiency 1-2, 50% 4-5, 80%
Rushes-Yards 10-20 49-240
Passing Yards 203 239
Return Yards 91 32
Completions-Attempts-Int 25-37-1 19-25-1
Sacks-Yards Lost 1-10 1-5
Punts 4 1
Fumbles Lost 0-0 1-1
Penalties - Yards 13-110 11-85
Mississippi State Passing
Player Cmp Att Yds TDs Int
W. Rogers 25 37 203 1 1
Kentucky Passing
Player Cmp Att Yds TDs Int
W. Levis 17 23 230 1 1
K. Sheron 2 2 9 0 0
Mississippi State Rushing
Player Carries Yds Avg TDs
D. Johnson 2 16 8.0 0
J. Marks 5 14 2.8 0
W. Rogers 2 -8 -4.0 0
Kentucky Rushing
Player Carries Yds Avg TDs
C. Rodriguez Jr. 31 197 6.4 2
J. McClain 9 30 3.3 0
K. Smoke 3 7 2.3 0
W. Levis 4 7 1.8 0
Mississippi State Receiving
Player Rec Yds Avg TDs
J. Marks 7 60 8.6 0
A. Williams 3 34 11.3 1
C. Ducking 5 32 6.4 0
J. Walley 2 32 16.0 0
R. Thomas 1 15 15.0 0
S. Price 2 10 5.0 0
L. Griffin 1 10 10.0 0
D. Johnson 3 5 1.7 0
R. Harvey 1 5 5.0 0
Kentucky Receiving
Player Rec Yds Avg TDs
B. Brown 7 62 8.9 0
D. Crowdus 1 50 50.0 0
J. McClain 3 48 16.0 0
R. Lewis 4 42 10.5 1
D. Key 1 31 31.0 0
C. Magwood 1 4 4.0 0
J. Dingle 1 2 2.0 0
C. Rodriguez Jr. 1 0 0.0
0
Mississippi State Interceptions
Player Int Yards
E. Forbes 1 59
Kentucky Interceptions
Player Int Yards
D. Square 1 8
Mississippi State Punting
Player Punts Yards Avg
A. Trafford 2 101 50.5
G. Georgopoulos 2 45 22.5
Kentucky Punting
Player Punts Yards Avg
C. Goodfellow 1 42 42.0
Mississippi State Punt Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
Kentucky Punt Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
B. Brown 2 7 3.5
Mississippi State Kick Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
L. Griffin 1 32 32.0
Kentucky Kick Returns
Player Ret Yards Average
B. Brown 1 17 17.0
Mississippi State Missed FG
Player Length
Kentucky Missed FG
Player Length
M. Ruffolo 51




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