Sunday, October 28, 2007

Dog bites cat: Miss. State blasts No. 14 Kentucky, 31-14

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) -- Wesley Carroll threw for two touchdowns and Mississippi State forced a season-high six turnovers in a 31-14 victory over No. 14 Kentucky on Saturday.

Kentucky (6-3, 2-3 Southeastern Conference) has lost two straight since knocking off then-No. 1 LSU in triple overtime. A loss to Florida last Saturday dashed the Wildcats' national championship hopes, and the Homecoming loss to the Bulldogs likely knocks them out of the SEC title race, too.

Kentucky quarterback Andre Woodson was sacked three times and threw three second-half interceptions.

A year after the Wildcats turned their season around with a victory in Starkville, the Bulldogs returned the favor in Lexington to put themselves one win away from bowl eligibility.

Coach Sylvester Croom led Mississippi State (5-4, 2-3) to its third road win this year, including another signature victory last month at Auburn. The Bulldogs hadn't won three road games since their Independence Bowl season of 2000, the last time they appeared in postseason play.

Carroll, a freshman, threw for 152 yards and doubled his career TD total. Christian Ducre rushed for a career-high 119 yards, and his 34-yard TD run in the fourth quarter was the Bulldogs' longest running play of the year.

Kentucky committed five turnovers in the second half, including two big special teams disasters.

Alfonso Smith fumbled the opening kickoff of the half, setting up a 31-yard field goal by Mississippi State's Adam Carlson.

Then, punter Tim Masthay dropped the ball while trying to compensate for a high snap by running toward the first-down marker. The fumble set up Anthony Dixon's 1-yard TD that put the Bulldogs up 24-7.

Woodson and receiver Steve Johnson answered with a dazzling scoring play. Faced with fourth-and-8, Woodson threw an arching 37-yard pass to the end zone, and Johnson leapt over a defender to bring it in.

It was Johnson's second TD reception of the game and team-leading eighth of the year.

That was one of the few highlights for the Wildcats. One week after his best statistical game of the season with 415 yards and five TDs, Woodson wasn't nearly as sharp.

He completed 24 of 42 passes for 230 yards, but threw several ugly passes. Among them was a wobbler that was tipped before Keith Fitzhugh grabbed it for the first interception.

The Bulldogs compiled six first downs during an 80-yard drive on their opening possession to take a 7-0 lead. Dixon accounted for nearly half of those yards on the ground before Carroll found Jason Husband for an 11-yard TD.

Woodson tied with an 18-yard touchdown pass to Johnson but Carroll led Mississippi State back down the field on its next possession. Dixon failed to score on three carries from inside the 2 but Carroll then used play action to find Dixon wide open in the corner of the end zone, putting the Bulldogs ahead 14-7.

The Bulldogs converted their first six third-down attempts. When Kentucky finally got a stop midway through the second quarter, Blake McAdams boomed a 55-yard punt over the head of DeMoreo Ford to pin the Wildcats inside the 10.

Kentucky had a chance to pull closer before halftime, but Lones Seiber missed a 34-yard field goal.