By LARRY VAUGHT
Last year in Lexington when Kentucky needed a game-winning field goal from Austin MacGinnis to beat Mississippi State, he delivered. He did the same later against Louisville and almost did against Florida this year.
State coach Dan Mullen has noticed UK’s recent ability to win close games.
“Mark (Stoops) had done a good job. It looks a lot like how we built our program. Getting guys to believe and they play really hard and then putting them in a system where they can be successful,” Mullen said as he looked ahead to Saturday’s game against UK in Starkville.
“They are flexible in what they do, both offensively and defensively. They play really hard and their guys believe that they are going to win. That’s a lot of how we’ve built our program here, as you can see. There will be a lot of similarities between our two programs.
“I guess I had a couple of years head start on them, but you see they are starting to get that way. This year, being the No. 2 team in the East, and they haven’t played the No. 1 team. They still control their own destiny. We’ve played the best two teams, I don’t know what team is one or two yet, but they haven’t played each other to figure that out yet.”
Mullen had not lost to UK until the Cats beat the Bulldogs thanks to MacGinnis’ kick last year.
“Beginning to end, there were a lot of things they did to make plays to win the game, and we did things to make plays to win the game. They just made one more play than we did. A kicker kicks a career-long field goal as time expires, so it was a tough game back and forth,” Mullen said.
“I’m sure there are things we could have done better, and I’m sure they look at it and say, ‘there are things we could have done better’, too and maybe not make it come down to the final play of the game.”