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  • VAUGHT: Bulldogs bring experienced, physical players to Lexington


    There's not just one thing that makes Mississippi State quarterback Nick Fitzgerald, who was virtually unstoppable for the Kentucky defense in last year's 45-7 State win, so difficult to defend.

    "He has experience. He’s physical. He makes plays when he has to. He’s talented with his arm," Kentucky coach Mark Stoops said Monday. "As always, when you play a team like this that’s not only physical at running the ball but they have a physical quarterback and they use quarterback runs, that makes you play with numbers, and then he’s talented enough and their receiving corp and tight ends are talented enough to hurt you throwing the ball. So, it puts a lot of pressure on you.”

    Stoops said Fitzgerald "looks good" to him after missing the opening game due to a team suspension.

    Kentucky hopes redshirt freshman quarterback Danny Clark, who ran for a score against Murray State, can help prepare the defense to stop Fitzgerald Saturday night.

    “Danny is similar to Fitzgerald because he’s one of those great big strong runners and can also throw it. He’s been practicing with our offense, so he doesn’t give us the scout team look, but when we do go good against good, we may get some looks with him in there," Stoops said.

    Mississippi State's defense shut down UK running back Benny Snell last year and has been dominant in three games this season. Stoops said, as always, that the Bulldogs are "very long, they're big, they're physical and they're experienced" going into Saturday night's game.

    "They have, I want to say, three seniors on their front who are very big and athletic and one junior. Then across the rest of their defense a bunch of juniors, seniors and they sprinkle in a couple sophomores. They’re an experienced group and big, physical group. Very active," the UK coach said.

    Stoops said in any SEC game, you better match the opponent's physicality to survive.

    "Certainly you can look to the success of Mississippi State because of the way they play. They’re as physical as anybody you’re going to play in this league, if not more," Stoops said. "So you have to match it. It starts there, but, again, there’s a lot of other things that are going to go into it. But that’s a big piece of it.”
    Comments 4 Comments
    1. ShoesSwayedBlue's Avatar
      ShoesSwayedBlue -
      Quote Originally Posted by Catfan73 View Post
      My hopes for a win this year are pegged to our defense keeping Fitzgerald in check. He’s going to get his passing yards but where he’ll beat you is with his legs. Check out his passing (first #) and rushing (second#) totals in their wins last year:

      Win—Chas. Southern—239 + 41 = 280
      Win—La. Tech—124 + 111 = 235
      Win—LSU—180 + 88 = 268
      Win—BYU—241 + 103 = 344
      Win—Kentucky—155 + 115 = 270
      Win—aTm—141 + 105 = 246
      Win—UMass—139 + 135 = 274
      Win—Arkansas—153 + 101 = 254
      Win—Louisville—did not play

      Now look at their losses:
      Loss—Georgia—83 + 47 = 130
      Loss—Auburn—157 + 56 = 213
      Loss—Alabama—158 + 66 = 224
      Loss—Ole Miss—12 + 16 = 28 (injured in the first q)

      And this year:
      Win—S.F. Austin—did not play
      Win—Kansas St.—154 + 159 = 313
      Win—Louisiana—243 + 107 = 350

      His rushing yardage—or lack thereof—jump off the page in their losses. If I’m Matt House, job one for my defense is to limit his mobility and keep him bottled up. He’s going to get his yards through the air but the way to beat them is to limit his yards on the ground.
      That goes perfectly with what House is saying. The secondary is going to have to win some one on ones all game long because the UK defense will make stopping the run the utmost priority. UK will have 7 or even 8 in the box regularly.
    1. Darrell KSR's Avatar
      Darrell KSR -
      I'm guessing it's not a big secret for anybody. Everybody knows what they're going to do. Stopping it is another story.
    1. dan_bgblue's Avatar
      dan_bgblue -
      The secondary is going to have to win some one on ones all game long
      Game over with a easy win for MSU then. Secondary CAN NOT win one on ones by playing 10 yards off the receiver in prevent man coverage all game long.
    1. Catfan73's Avatar
      Catfan73 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Darrell KSR View Post
      I'm guessing it's not a big secret for anybody. Everybody knows what they're going to do. Stopping it is another story.
      Easy to say, hard to do lol. And they do have some other guys that hurt you but job one is stop Fitzgerald from running.
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