Mississippi State demolished Memphis Thursday night in the season opener. The Bulldogs displayed a strong offense and stifling defense against an overmatched Memphis football team. The Bulldogs were favored by 31 points, and it was easy to see why as the 20th ranked Mississippi State squad won 59-14. The Bulldogs posted 645 total yards with 405 total yards coming in the first half.
Quarterback Chris Relf went 13 of 21 for 202 yards and two touchdowns and Vick Ballard highlighted the Bulldog ground attack with 10 carries for 166 yards and three touchdowns. Relf carried the ball 13 times for 51 yards.
On defense, the Bulldogs did not miss defensive tackle Fletcher Cox. Cox was suspended (as were a handful of other Bulldog players) for unspecified team rule violations. It was a dominating performance by the defense. This must have Mississippi State fans happy. If you combine a powerful offense with a stout defense then you can go far in the league play. Of course, this was Memphis. And Memphis was terrible.
As for Kentucky, well, it was Kentucky.
Only more so.
The Wildcats defeated Western Kentucky 14-3.
The Wildcats looked miserable. Not even Ashley Judd at the game would have made this ballgame bearable. Kentucky Wildcat fans can take solace in the fact that basketball season will be here soon.
Of course, it would not be wise to read too much into the first game of a season. However, Kentucky must find some rhythm on offense if it wants to compete in the SEC. It is hard to find much to praise in this performance. Third down efficiency was woeful and tossing three interceptions will get you killed in SEC play.
What are your thoughts? Is Miss State a force to be reckoned with in the SEC West? Will Kentucky improve and have a say in the SEC East?