STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Randall Cobb passed for one touchdown and rushed for another, and Kentucky blocked an extra point early in the fourth quarter to beat Mississippi State 14-13 on Saturday.
Mississippi State kicker Adam Carlson also missed a 27-yard field goal attempt with 7:16 remaining as Kentucky (6-3, 2-3 Southeastern Conference) rallied from a 7-0 deficit to reach bowl eligibility.
In his first start, Cobb scored on a 5-yard touchdown run on the Wildcats' opening drive of the second half, then hit Maurice Grinter with a 3-yard touchdown pass to take a 14-7 lead later in the third.
Mississippi State (3-6, 1-4) recovered Alfonso Smith's fumble late in the third quarter to set up Tyson Lee's 10-yard touchdown pass to Arnil Stallworth, and it looked as if the Bulldogs might tie the game. But Kentucky blocked the extra point, then ended one scoring threat on fourth-and-7 and picked off Lee with a minute left to end a final rally.
Kentucky will make its second straight bowl appearance after beating Florida State in the Music City Bowl last season. The Bulldogs will have to win three straight if they want to make it two in a row as well.
After last year's breakthrough 8-5 performance under coach Sylvester Croom, the Bulldogs have broken down this season with an anemic offense that refuses to go. Kentucky held run-first Mississippi State to 43 yards and sacked Lee four times.
Cobb, the team's go-to receiver who replaced Mike Hartline as starter after Kentucky's embarrassing 63-5 loss to Florida last week, completed seven of 13 passes for 56 yards and an interception, but did just enough to make the defensive effort stand up.
Hartline and Cobb alternated possessions under center. Hartline finished 9-for-17 for 90 yards and Kentucky generated 274 total yards, just enough to win.
Lee completed 26 of 42 passes for 261 yards and put the Bulldogs up 7-0 at halftime on a 29-yard scoring pass to Brandon McRae midway through the first quarter.