LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) -- Facing an unranked opponent for a change doesn't necessarily mean that Kentucky has it easier.
But after four straight losses to ranked opponents, including a 48-7 drubbing by No. 1 Alabama 10 days ago, the Wildcats might find Mississippi State a more manageable opponent.
Kentucky (1-5, 0-3 Southeastern Conference) returns from a bye to face the Bulldogs (3-3, 0-2) on Thursday night. Wildcats coach Mark Stoops considers this matchup just as challenging because both schools are pursuing their first league victories.
One upside of that tough stretch of games is that Kentucky players are eager to apply what they learned against the Bulldogs. The week off came in handy in helping the Wildcats enter physically and mentally refreshed following the most grueling series of opponents in program history.