There are 46 days till college football season, and today we focus on a play that helped change the course of the 2016 season for one SEC team.
There are certain plays that can change the course of a game, and maybe even change the course of a season. That’s what happened for the Kentucky Wildcats in their October win over Mississippi State. And in this case, it may have also helped change the course of this rivalry.
And that leads us to no. 46 on the Southbound and Down College Football Countdown.
Marcus McWilson’s 46-yard interception return for a touchdown against Mississippi State in 2016.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, with a 27-24 lead, Marcus McWilson picked off Mississippi State’s Nick Fitzgerald and returned it 46 yards for a touchdown, giving the Wildcats a 34-24 lead. Kentucky ultimately won the game 40-38 on Austin MacGinnis’ 51-yard field goal as time expired.
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It was the win Mark Stoops‘ program needed. The Wildcats started the season 2-3, and Stoops’ seat was getting awfully warm. But Kentucky rallied and went 5-2 down the stretch, before losing to Georgia Tech in the TaxSlayer Bowl.
Kentucky beat Vanderbilt and Louisville, led by Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson, for the first time since 2010.
This win over Mississippi State was their first win over the Bulldogs since 2008. This series goes back a long way, and they’ve played every year since 1990. Mississippi State leads the all-time series 23-20, and that seven-game winning streak was the longest streak in the history of the series.
Now the Wildcats are actually being picked as a sleeper in the SEC East. Pat Dooley of the Gainesville Sun even made headlines when he went on The Paul Finebaum Show and said that Kentucky would have a better record than Tennessee at the end of the year.
With the SEC East being down, and big question marks surrounding Florida, Georgia, and Tennessee, this could be the year for the Kentucky Wildcats to make some noise.