Open date benefits Bulldogs
Mississippi State wrapped up its bye week on Saturday and has now started to prepare for this weekend's Southeastern Conference showdown with Kentucky.
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It was a good bye week in the mind of MSU head coach Dan Mullen.
"We got a bunch of (production) out of it, and we'll see how it translate into production on the field on Saturday," said Mullen. "There are a lot of things that we got accomplished and hopefully it will translate into some success next Saturday."
One thing a bye normally provides for teams is a chance for players to let their bodies heal and get their strength back, but with the week over, they have a conference opponent to prepare for.
"I hope we are a little bit rested," said Mullen. "It was a chance for a players to get home, see their family and get a little bit of a break. Now we have to come back up and play a critical SEC game on the road."
Kentucky defeating Jacksonville State 38-14 on Saturday, giving them the same 3-4 record as MSU. Both teams will be looking to pick up their first conference win this weekend, but the Wildcats will have the home crowd on their side as the game will be played in Lexington.
"It's always a tough place to play, and it's tough to win on the road in this league," said Mullen. "We are going to have to play at a very high level."
In their win on Saturday, Kentucky's offense put up 445 total offensive yards, but committed two turnovers, which Mullen feels has been the Wildcats biggest problem this season.
"Obviously, they're a good football team," said Mullen. "They've been hurt with some turnovers at times this year, but if they don't turn the ball over, they are a very different football team. That's easy to correct and it looks like they got that fixed during their bye week."
The Wildcats only allowed 112 yards through the air on Saturday, and Mullen is well aware of what their pass defense can do.
"They have a pretty good pass defense efficiency," said Mullen. "They don't give up very many yards with their pass defense and they have some skilled athletes on the back end and they give you a lot of different coverage looks. When you combine all those things together, they are a very efficient defense."
MSU squeaked past Kentucky 24-17 last season in Starkville and Mullen feels it could be a similar matchup this season.
"Kentucky plays us tough every single year," said Mullen. "It usually comes down to the last play of the game and I imagine it's going to be another brawl this year."
With the exception of Tobias Smith, who is out for the season, Mullen said he expects the rest of the team to be ready and available for Saturday's game.