Kentucky–Mississippi State football rivalry
The Kentucky–Mississippi State football rivalry is an American college football rivalry between the Kentucky Wildcats football team of the University of Kentucky and Mississippi State Bulldogs football team of Mississippi State University. Both universities have been members of the Southeastern Conference (SEC) since its founding in December 1932 and have played against each other for a total of 47 times.
|First meeting||October 17, 1914|
Kentucky 19, Mississippi State 13
|Latest meeting||September 21, 2019|
Mississippi State 28, Kentucky 13
|Next meeting||November 14, 2020 in Lexington|
|All-time series||Mississippi State leads 24–23|
|Largest victory||Mississippi State, 47–7 (1994)|
|Longest win streak||Mississippi State, 7 (2009–2015)|
|Current win streak||Mississippi State, 1 (2019–present)|
|Locations of Kentucky and Mississippi State|
Kentucky and Mississippi State have been in the same conference since 1895, and were both founding members of the Southern Conference in the 1920s and their current conference, Southeastern Conference a decade later. Even though being in the same conference since the late 1800s, the Wildcats and the Bulldogs first met on the gridiron in 1914 with a Kentucky win of 19–13 in Lexington, Kentucky. The two teams met four straight years from 1914 to 1917 before not playing again until 1944. The two schools played six times during the 1950s before playing home-and-home series in 1972–73, 1976–77, 1984–85 and 1990–91.
In 1992, the SEC added two new members to their conference which divided the conference in two divisions, East and West. Kentucky was placed in the East and Mississippi State in the West. While dividing the conference in two divisions, the SEC created permanent cross-division opponents for its 12 members, this helped keep rivalries going such as the Alabama–Tennessee football rivalry annually, which resulted in Kentucky and Mississippi State becoming permanent cross-divisional opponents. The Wildcats and Bulldogs has then played annually since 1992 in either Lexington, Kentucky or Starkville, Mississippi. The Bulldogs are 19–11 vs the Wildcats since the cross-divisional rivalry was created.
The rivalry is one of the most evenly matched in the SEC, with the Mississippi State Bulldogs leading 24–23.
- 1999: The Bulldogs came back from a double-digit deficit to win 23–22 on a field goal by Scott Westerfield with 5 seconds remaining. The win brought Mississippi State to 8–0.
- 2007: The Wildcats came in at 6–2 and ranked at No. 14, but the Bulldogs won a 31–14 upset victory in Lexington behind Christian Ducré's 119 rushing yards. The win brought Mississippi State to 5–4, one win away from its first bowl bid in 7 years.
- 2008: The Wildcats avenged their loss from the previous season by beating the Bulldogs 14–13 in Starkville. Mississippi State missed an extra point and a 27-yard field goal in the fourth quarter to seal the loss. The win gave Kentucky their sixth win on the year, giving them three straight bowl seasons, and dropped the Bulldogs to 3–6.
- 2009: 3–5 Mississippi State upset the 4–3 Wildcats in Lexington on the heels of Anthony Dixon's school-record 252 rushing yards. In the post-game interview with reporter Jen Hildreth, Dixon used the phrase "Grinding for My State," which has become a catchphrase in MSU Athletics.
- 2014: The Bulldogs, undefeated and ranked No. 1 for the first time, traveled to Lexington to face the 5–2 Wildcats. Mississippi State kept its winning streak alive after defeating Kentucky 45–31, handing the Wildcats its first home loss of the season.
- 2016: Kentucky defeated the Bulldogs for the first time in 8 years after Austin MacGinnis hit a 51-yard field goal on the game's final play. After a wild fourth quarter that saw both teams score a defensive touchdown, the Bulldogs (who were outgained 554–362 in yards during the game) appeared to have snatched away the victory after quarterback Nick Fitzgerald hit Fred Ross on a 7-yard touchdown pass with 1:07 left on the clock, but Kentucky quarterback Stephen Johnson was able to complete three passes to get close enough for MacGinnis to attempt a long kick. The win moved the Wildcats to 4–3, setting them up for their first winning record after five straight losing seasons.
|Kentucky victories||Mississippi State victories||Forfeits|
- AP (November 5, 1999). "Mississippi State Wins, 23-22". LATimes.com.
- "Upstart Bulldogs dump Kentucky; one win shy of bowl eligibility". ESPN.com. October 27, 2007.
- "Kentucky blocks extra point to stop Mississippi State". ESPN.com. November 1, 2008.
- "Dixon's 2 TDs, school rushing record help Mississippi St. edge past Kentucky". ESPN.com. November 1, 2009.
- "Anthony Dixon post game interview". YouTube.com. October 30, 2009.
- Carskadon, Bob (October 22, 2010). "Anthony 'Boobie' Dixon still offering inspiration to MSU". HailStateBeat.
- "Dak Prescott (3 TDs), No. 1 Mississippi State knock off Kentucky". ESPN.com. October 25, 2014.
- "MacGinnis' 51-yard FG lifts Kentucky over Mississippi State". ESPN.com. October 23, 2016.