By LARRY VAUGHT
To beat Mississippi State Saturday night, Kentucky is going to have to find a way to at least contain quarterback Nick Fitzgerald. Not totally stop him, but at least not let him pick the defense apart.
Fitzgerald accounted for six touchdowns – one shy of his SEC and school record – to go along with 250 yards of total offense in No. 14 Mississippi State’s 56-10 victory over Louisiana last week. He became the first SEC player to have at least four rushing touchdowns, two passing touchdowns and 100 yards rushing in the same game since he did it two seasons ago against Arkansas .
Rushing for over 100 yards for the second straight game, Fitzgerald became the first SEC player to record four rushing scores in a game since Auburn’s Kerryon Johnson had five against Missouri on Sept. 23, 2017. Fitzgerald also joined Auburn’s Peyton Barber and Tre Mason as the only SEC players in the last 20 seasons with multiple games of four touchdowns rushing.
Fitzgerald completed 14 of 21 passes for 243 yards and two touchdowns. It was his most passing yards since Nov. 19, 2016. He now has 43 total passing touchdowns in his career going into Saturday night’s game.
State’s rushing offense has been overpowering and could be the biggest test all season for UK’s defensive front.
What makes the State running game so good?
“Well, you put together a physical offensive line, a dynamic back and a big beast at quarterback,” Fitzgerald said. “That’s a lot of good things. They’re big; they’re strong and they’re explosive. They just put a lot of pressure on you. The quarterback run game, when you have a guy like Fitzgerald, who’s fast and also big and strong … ”