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Brookhaven’s Leo Lewis lags behind 2016 NCAA success

Brookhaven’s Leo Lewis has not had the kind of production at the linebacker position this season that he saw last year.

Through six games, the Mississippi State Bulldog has 21 tackles. Dez Harris leads the team with 38 tackles, followed by J.T. Gray with 37, Mark McLaurin with 31, Jeffery Simmons with 31, Johnathan Abram with 25, Brandon Bryant with 24 and then Lewis.

Through six games last year, Lewis had 43 tackles against some of the same opponents. His biggest game in 2016 was at BYU, where he racked up 12 tackles. He managed just three against  BYU last week.

He also had a big game against LSU last year, with 10 tackles, and the LSU game this year has been his best from a numbers standpoint. He logged eight tackles in the Bulldogs’ 37-7 win.

Wesson’s Farrod Green has three catches for 90 yards on the season. Green last recorded a catch in MSU’s win over LSU. The sophomore is on pace to match last year’s numbers. He had four catches for 43 yards and a touchdown at this point in the season last year.

Donald Gray, a wide receiver who had a great career with Co-Lin, is leading the Bulldogs in catches with 17. He has two TDs and is averaging 9.1 yards per catch. He also has four punt returns for 46 yards.

The Bulldogs take on Kentucky this week, with the ‘Cats just outside the top 25.

Coach Dan Mullen is now 65-44 all-time at MSU in his nine seasons and is now tied with College Football Hall of Famer Allyn McKeen for second place in Starkville. He’s only behind another Hall of Fame coach in Jackie Sherrill, who won 75 in 13 seasons.

Seven of Mullen’s wins in his first eight years came against Kentucky, this week’s opponent at 3 p.m. on Saturday afternoon on the SEC Network. The Wildcats have typically been a tough out in all seven of those wins and last season Mark Stoops led the ‘Cats to their first win over MSU since 2008.

Mullen believes Kentucky could easily have an unblemished mark.

“They’re a play away from being undefeated,” Mullen said. “They should be undefeated and in the top 25 easily. It’s a great challenge for us.”

Kentucky vs. Mississippi State: when: 3 p.m., Saturday; where: Starkville; TV: SEC Network; radio: 1580 AM

— The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Leo Lewis