The gray, drizzly skies over Commonwealth Stadium in Lexington, Kentucky never gave way to raining cats and dogs, although there were plenty on the field to be had. The Wildcats and Bulldogs had plenty to fight about on Kentucky’s homecoming Saturday. One week removed from College Gameday’s first ever appearance to Lexington, Kentucky, and two weeks from being vaulted into the national spotlight with a thrilling victory over then #1 LSU, the Wildcats were in for a let down. Mississippi State, a program on the rise, was ready to take advantage. The game turned out to be an intense matchup, but the experiencing southern football and the fans that come with it was the real treat.
We moseyed toward the stadium and were well directed by the masses of blue that overtook the campus streets. Walking through the tailgating lots offered nothing that we hadn’t seen before with folks grilling, tossing the football, and showing their pride. The musical sounds were a bit different, though. You know you’re in the south when you hear, “Shootin’ Rabbits With a 22” blasting from radios – not exactly a top 40 single, but perhaps it is in Kentucky. Once closer to the stadium, we experienced more familiar sounds as the band was parading around the arena and stopping at points to play for awaiting fans. The Kentucky faithful followed the band toward the gates and began revving up for a good ol’ SEC showdown.
However, the results were less than appealing for the ‘Cats. The opening fireworks that led the Wildcats into Commonwealth Stadium may have conjured up the loudest noises Kentucky fans would make this day. Mississippi State and their enthusiastic band and fans took over for most of the contest. The Bulldogs scored on their opening drive and never looked back. Despite valiant attempts from stud QB and Heisman candidate, Andre Woodson, the Wildcat turnovers gave the Bulldogs too many opportunities. The door officially slammed on Kentucky when Mississippi State scored on a long touchdown run in the fourth quarter to secure a 31-14 victory. Fans in blue drained out of the stadium, while those in maroon only seemed to get louder. State’s head coach, Sylvester Croom, has been hitting a turning point this year and his Bulldogs are one win away from being bowl eligible. Kentucky is going to have to overcome being “Croomed” at their home stadium and point at regaining that limelight status again.