for this game

Mississippi State upsets 14th-ranked Kentucky

Oct 27, 2007 - 9:25 PM LEXINGTON, Kentucky (Ticker) -- Kentucky's hangover after beating then-No. 1 Louisiana State carried into its second week on Saturday.

Anthony Dixon caught one touchdown and ran for another as Mississippi State upset 14th-ranked Kentucky, 31-14, in a Southeastern Conference shocker.

It was the Wildcats' second straight loss since their thrilling 43-37 triple-overtime victory over LSU on October 13. Kentucky (6-3, 2-3 SEC East) dropped a 45-37 decision against Florida last weekend.

"Everybody has been asking how we were going to respond after two emotional, physical games and I thought we'd respond well but didn't convince my team," Kentucky coach Rich Brooks said. "It was almost a total system failure ... We got beat physically by a team that wanted it more than we did today."

Dixon finished with 85 yards on 25 carries for the Bulldogs (5-4, 2-3 SEC West) while Christian Ducre carried 19 times for a career-high 119 yards and a touchdown.

Bulldogs quarterback Wesley Carroll also chipped in a solid effort, finishing 17-of-28 for 152 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions.

Kentucky star quarterback Andre' Woodson, thought by many to be a Heisman Trophy candidate, was held in check for the most part, finishing 24-of-42 for 230 yards with two touchdowns and three interceptions.

"The coaches had nothing to do with it," said Woodson, who also was sacked three times. "We were definitely beaten physically. The whole week we knew the game plan and when it came down to it, Mississippi State out played us."

Kentucky's offense, which came into the contest averaging 42 points per game, wasn't given many opportunities early.

It became clear on the opening drive of the game that Mississippi State's strategy was to keep Woodson and the prolific Wildcats offense off the field.

The Bulldogs took almost six minutes off the clock during a 14-play, 80-yard drive that was capped by an 11-yard touchdown pass from Carroll to Jason Husband.

"From an offensive standpoint, that first drive was absolutely critical and was a big, big part of the ballgame because it gave our guys confidence on the road like that," Mississippi State coach Sylvester Croom said. "I think it was a little bit of a warning shot for them that we were able to take the ball and move it down the field like that."

After Woodson tied the game with an 18-yard strike to Steve Johnson on the ensuing drive, the Bulldogs' methodical offense went back to work.

Mississippi State spent the next 6:41 marching 80 yards on 16 plays, taking the lead again when Carroll connected with Dixon on a 3rd-and-goal from the one early in the second quarter.

Kentucky had just three first-half possessions, which only magnified Lones Seiber's missed field goal just before halftime.

"The fact that we kept our offense on the field and our defense off of it was huge," Carroll said. "We wanted to keep the tempo and limit the time Woodson had the ball in his hands. We were able to do that today, which was key."

The Bulldogs built a 24-7 lead early in the third quarter thanks to a a pair of miscues by Kentucky's special teams.

Alfonso Smith fumbled away the second-half kickoff, which set up a 31-yard field goal by Adam Carlson.

On a 4th-and-13 minutes later, Kentucky punter Tim Masthay faced a strong rush and decided to run with the ball instead of kicking it. He promptly fumbled, and the ball was recovered by the Bulldogs' K.J. Wright on the Kentucky 26.

Dixon scored from a yard out five plays later to capitalize on one of six turnovers by Kentucky.

"It just seemed like anything we could do wrong, we did today," Brooks said. "It seemed that whenever the ball went on the ground for them, it always bounced back to them. We certainly gave them many turnovers."

Kentucky got back into the game at the 5:15 mark of the third quarter when, facing a 4th-and-8, Woodson threw a 37-yard touchdown to Johnson.

But the comeback hopes ended midway through the fourth quarter, when Ducre broke free for a 34-yard touchdown.

A sophomore, Ducre played most of the fourth quarter and finished with 149 all-purpose yards. Dixon appeared to fall out of favor with the coaching staff after fumbling twice in the second half.