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KENTUCKY POSTGAME NOTES
No. 19/20 Mississippi State at Kentucky
Commonwealth Stadium, Oct. 6, 2012
FINAL SCORE: No. 19/20 Mississippi State 27, Kentucky 14
Kentucky won the toss and deferred to the second half. Game captains for UK were Matt Smith, Collins Ukwu, Raymond Sanders and Martavius Neloms.
UK now owns a 135-114-4 overall record at Commonwealth Stadium.
Kentucky allowed 158 rushing yards, the team’s lowest rushing allowed of the season.
Mississippi State scored a touchdown on its opening series of the game. That is the first time since the season opener against Louisville that Kentucky has allowed a touchdown on the opponent’s opening series.
With true freshman quarterback Patrick Towles and safety Zack Blaylock seeing action, UK has now played 14 true frosh this season. UK is among the nation’s top-10 teams for playing true freshmen this season.
Kentucky scored a touchdown in the second quarter and the Wildcats have now scored in the second quarter in every game but one this season. UK has earned 55 of its 116 total points in second quarters this season.
The UK defense limited Mississippi State to seven points in the second half. That ties the lowest scoring output by an opponent vs. UK this season. Kent State also had just seven points in the second half.
The UK secondary earned six pass breakups in the game, tying the most pass breakups for UK all season.
Kentucky punter Landon Foster drilled a 56-yard punt in the opening quarter. That was the longest punt of the season for Foster, whose previous long was 53 yards at Louisville. Foster ended the game with four punts over 50 yards.
Quarterback Jalen Whitlow started for the Wildcats, making his first career start. Whitlow went 10-for-21 in the game for 73 yards. The freshman rushed eight times for 26 yards and a touchdown.
In the third quarter, Whitlow notched his second rushing touchdown of the season, rushing in from three- ards out on third and goal.
Whitlow’s start marked the first time since 1979 that Kentucky has started three different quarterbacks in three consecutive games, following Morgan Newton at Florida and Maxwell Smith vs. South Carolina.
In 1979, Mike Shutt, Randy Jenkins and Juan Portela appeared to be the starting QBs in consecutive games against Indiana, Maryland and West Virginia, respectively.
True freshman quarterback Patrick Towles saw his first career action in the game.
Towles made an impact on his first career drive, marching UK 80 yards down the field for a touchdown. The scoring play was a 32-yard pass to La’Rod King. On the drive, Towles was 5-for-5 for 71 yards, while also rushing once for a two-yard gain.
Towles finished the game 5-for-6 for 71 yards and a touchdown. The freshman sustained an ankle injury on his second drive.
La’Rod King finished the game with two catches for 43 yards and a touchdown.
King now has 1,505 receiving yards in his career, passing Tom Hutchinson (1960-62) for sole possession of ninth place. King needs three yards to tie Felix Wilson for eighth all-time.
King caught a 32-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter, which was his longest reception of the year.
The touchdown reception for King was the 16th of his career, ranking him in sole possession of sixth place on the all-time career touchdown receptions list. King needs one more touchdown reception to tie Steve Meilinger for fifth place.
Sophomore tight end Ronnie Shields caught a nine-yard pass on third down and ended the game with two catches for 15 yards. Shields has caught a pass in every game but one this season.
Junior linebacker Avery Williamson earned 13 tackles in the game, marking his fourth game this season with double-figure tackles. Williamson leads the team with 64 tackles overall. Williamson also added a quarterback hurry and recovered the onside kickoff.
Junior defensive lineman Tristian Johnson, who has started three consecutive games, ended the game with five tackles, a sack and a tackle-for-loss. Johnson has at least one tackle-for-loss in each of the last three games.
Kentucky placekicker Joe Mansour successfully executed an on-side kick in the third quarter. It marked the second time this season that UK has successfully converted an on-side kick. UK’s Craig McIntosh also had a successful on-side kick attempt against Louisville.
Mansour handled all the kickoffs for Kentucky, earning one touchback.
True freshman Khalid Henderson posted five tackles in the game, which was a career high.
True freshman cornerback Fred Tiller had a solid game, posting three stops and two pass breakups. The two pass breakups were the first of his career.
Redshirt freshman Farrington Huguenin had four tackles and a fumble recovery in the game. That was his first career fumble recovery and a career-high tackles.