LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Anthony Dixon continued to erase the name
Jerious Norwood from the Mississippi State record books, but his
sights are on returning to a destination his predecessor never
reached: a bowl game.
"I'm pouring all I've got into getting a bowl game," Dixon
said following the Bulldogs' 31-24 victory over Kentucky on
Saturday. "It's an us against the world mentality."
Dixon certainly did his part in trying to carry the Bulldogs to
their first bowl game since 2007 and second since 2000, prior to
the arrival of Norwood, who is now with the Atlanta Falcons.
He rushed for two scores and a school-record 252 yards Saturday
to top Norwood's single-game record of 247 yards just two weeks
after he surpassed Norwood's career rushing mark of 3,212. Norwood
set the one-game record in 2005 against Houston.
"He brings energy at all times," coach Dan Mullen said of
Dixon. "Whatever it takes to help this team win, he's done. He
wanted to do a lot, and we let him."
Mississippi State (4-5, 2-3 Southeastern Conference) won its
second straight matchup in Lexington against the Wildcats (4-4,
1-4), who defeated the Bulldogs last year in Starkville.
Dixon scored his second touchdown from 3 yards out with a minute
left in the third quarter to give the Bulldogs their winning
Kentucky freshman quarterback Morgan Newton led the Wildcats
inside the 20 in an attempt to tie, but turned the ball over on
downs with 1 minute to go.
Dixon was already the Bulldogs' all-time leader in attempts,
touchdowns and 100-yard games, and came into the game 15th in SEC
history in rushing.
"I told people I wanted to get as many yards as possible to get
the W, and this is what it took," Dixon said. "We were just out
there trying to get the job done. We were grinding."
Kentucky led 14-3 early, but the Bulldogs never let the Wildcats
maintain momentum, answering big plays with bigger ones of their
"What's most disappointing is that we gave up big plays rather
than small doses," Kentucky coach Rich Brooks said. "Some of
those possessions they didn't have the ball very long."
Dixon's first score, a 1-yard plunge, was set up by a 53-yard
sprint by Chris Relf, who briefly relieved struggling Tyson Lee at
quarterback in the first half. Dixon got 116 of his record yardage
After Randall Cobb put the Wildcats up by a touchdown in the
third quarter by scoring from 3 yards out on a direct snap, Lee
turned in the longest play of the game two snaps later. He found
O'Neal Wilder sprinting down the center of the field and hit him in
stride for a 67-yard touchdown, tying the score at 24.
Newton, starting just his third game for Kentucky, had no plays
of that length but displayed the most poise of his brief career,
three times completing passes on third-and-long. The first two led
to scoring drives, but the third was in Kentucky's final drive,
which fell short.
Newton scored once with his legs, dragging multiple defenders
with him and running it in from 11 yards out. Earlier, Derrick
Locke gave the Wildcats a 7-3 lead by scampering 10 yards into the
end zone, largely untouched.
Mississippi State had plenty of chances early - including one
drive where the Bulldogs advanced to the Kentucky 2. However, on
fourth-and-goal, Lee's pass was picked off by Sam Maxwell to end
the threat. He threw another interception - this one by Randall
Burden - on his next pass, sparking the brief change to Relf.
Kentucky led 17-10 at halftime on a 38-yard field goal by Lones
Seiber. Cobb gave the Wildcats an opportunity to tack on those
points with a 46-yard punt return.
Cobb was largely contained on offense, often stopped for short
yardage when he lined up in the wildcat formation. Mississippi
State's players acknowledged that was part of the game plan.
"If he has some room, he'll take it the distance," said
linebacker Jamar Chaney, who had a key interception. "We knew if
we stop him, we stop them."
It was just the second punt return of the half for the Wildcats,
and the first appeared to be even bigger as Gene McCaskill tiptoed
the sideline and sprinted toward the end zone. However, Kentucky
was forced to start the drive near midfield when officials ruled he
was pushed out of bounds.
The Wildcats quickly gave up the ball. Newton threw a backward
pass intended for Cobb that was instead picked up by Chris White.
Mississippi State flipped field position with a 37-yard run by
Dixon, setting up a 33-yard field goal by Derek DePasquale for the
first points of the game.
Mississippi St. 3 7 21 0-31
Kentucky 7 10 7 0-24
MSSt-FG DePasquale 33, 4:23.
Ky-Locke 10 run (Seiber kick), 1:28.
Ky-Newton 11 run (Seiber kick), 5:16.
MSSt-Dixon 1 run (DePasquale kick), 3:43.
Ky-FG Seiber 38, :00.
MSSt-Ducre 2 run (DePasquale kick), 11:48.
Ky-R.Cobb 3 run (Seiber kick), 7:49.
MSSt-Wilder 67 pass from Lee (DePasquale kick), 6:56.
MSSt-Dixon 3 run (DePasquale kick), :59.
First downs 20 19
Rushes-yards 45-348 48-189
Passing 145 119
Comp-Att-Int 10-17-2 11-19-1
Return Yards 0 69
Punts-Avg. 4-38.0 4-42.5
Fumbles-Lost 2-0 2-2
Penalties-Yards 4-35 2-20
Time of Possession 29:05 30:55
RUSHING-Mississippi St., Dixon 33-252, Relf 2-60, Lee 3-27,
Ducre 3-9, Bumphis 1-2, Elliott 1-(minus 1), Team 2-(minus 1). Kentucky,
Locke 17-103, Newton 13-39, R.Cobb 8-17, Allen 4-15, A.Smith 4-11,
PASSING-Mississippi St., Lee 10-17-2-145. Kentucky,
Newton 11-18-1-119, R.Cobb 0-1-0-0.
RECEIVING-Mississippi St., Wilder 2-72, Ducre 2-27, Bumphis 2-20,
Dixon 2-14, Green 1-6, McRae 1-6. Kentucky, R.Cobb 2-32, King 2-31,
Matthews 2-31, Drake 2-15, Locke 2-7, McCaskill 1-3.
Team Records and Series Notes
Kentucky is 4-4 overall, 1-4 in the Southeastern Conference. Mississippi State is 4-5 overall, 2-3 in league play.
Kentucky leads the series, 21-16. MSU has won one in a row.
Next for Kentucky: the Wildcats play host to Eastern Kentucky on Sat. Nov. 7 at 1 p.m. The game will be a live telecast on WKYT (Lexington) and WYMT (Hazard) and also a delay telecast on the Big Blue Sports Network.
UK Team Notes
Kentucky gained 189 yards on the ground to maintain their highest average rushing yards per game (186.7) since 1995.
UK is 46-18 in Homecoming games since 1946.
UK’s defense forced an interception for the fourth straight game and picked off multiple passes for the second consecutive contest.
UK converted 2-of-3 fourth down attempts in the game; the Wildcats have 12-of 16 (75 percent) this season.
Kentucky has converted 22 of 27 opportunities in the red zone (81.5 percent) for 142 points (19 touchdowns, three field goals, two loss on downs and one end of half).
1st Quarter Summary
MSU’s Sean Brauchle kicked a 33-yard field goal (4:23); MSU 3, UK 0
UK’s Derrick Locke rushed for a 10-yard touchdown (1:28); UK 7, MSU 3
It was Locke’s fourth rushing TD of the season and 10th of his career.
2nd Quarter Summary
UK’s Sam Maxwell intercepted MSU’s Tyson Lee in the end zone for a touchback.
It was Maxwell’s third interception of the season and fourth of his career.
UK’s Randall Burden intercepted MSU’s Tyson Lee and returned it to the MSU 41.
It was Burden’s second interception of the season with picks in back-to-back games.
UK’s Morgan Newton rushed for an 11-yard touchdown (5:16); UK 14, MSU 3
It was Newton’s second career rushing touchdown.
MSU’s Chris Relf rushed for 52 yards to the UK 3-yard line.
MSU’s Anthony Dixon rushed for a 1-yard touchdown (3:43); UK 14, MSU 10
UK’s Randall Cobb returned a punt 46 yards to the MSU 26.
UK’s Lones Seiber kicked at 38-yard field goal (0:00); UK 17, MSU 10
3rd Quarter Summary
UK’s Alfonso Smith fumbles at the UK 47 forced by MSU’s Charles Mitchell
MSU’s Christian Ducre’ rushed for a 2-yard touchdown (11:48); UK 17, MSU 17
UK’s Randall Cobb rushed for a 3-yard touchdown (7:49); UK 24, MSU 17
It was Cobb’s fifth rushing touchdown this season and the 12th of his career.
UK’s Tyson Lee completed a 67-yard TD pass to O’Neal Wilder (6:56); UK 24, MSU 24
MSU’s Anthony Dixon rushed for 47 yards to the UK 40.
MSU’s Anthony Dixon rushed for a 3-yard touchdown (0:59); MSU 31, UK 24
UK’s Randall Cobb returned the kickoff 47 yards to the MSU 42.
4th Quarter Summary
UK’s Derrick Locke rushed for 21 yards to the MSU 14.
UK’s Moncell Allen converted a 4th and 1 at the MSU 4.
MSU’s Jamar Chaney intercepted UK’s Morgan Newton at the MSU 9. (10:48)
UK’s Morgan Newton throws 17-yard pass to Chris Matthews to the MSU 31 to keep final drive alive.
MSU’s Jamar Chaney and Devin Jones sack UK’s Newton for 2-yard loss on 4th-and-5 at Bulldog 18 with under two minutes remaining to stop the last Wildcat threat.
UK Individual Notes
Derrick Locke notched his second career 100-yard rushing game with 103 markers on 17 carries.
Locke now has 1,421 career yards to rank 18th on the UK all-time rushing list; he needs 28 yards to overtake Bobby Cravens (1956-58, 1,448) for 17th all-time.
Randall Cobb’s 3-yard touchdown run accounted for the 10th of UK’s 27 touchdowns this season; he has scored at least one touchdown in 11 of 18 career games.
Cobb led the team in all-purpose with 237 yards including 17 rushing, 32 receiving, 142 on kick returns and 46 on punt returns.
Morgan Newton’s 11-yard touchdown run in the second quarter was the second of his career.
Newton connected on11-of-18 pass attempts for a career-high 119 yards and threw one interception.
Newton’s 11 completions and 18 attempts were also career highs.
La’Rod King caught made career highs with two receptions for 31 yards including a career-long 18-yard grab.
Micah Johnson recorded his eighth career double-digit tackling effort, leading the team with 11 stops.
Taylor Wyndham made a career-high six tackles including career-high 2.5 tackles-for-loss.
DeQuin Evans forced his first career fumble in the game.
Paul Warford made a season-high seven tackles against MSU.
Randall Burden snared his second interception in two games with a return of eight yards, marking the second pick of his career.
Sam Maxwell made his fourth career interception and third of the season in the game.