October 7, 2012 1:15:19 AM
LEXINGTON, Ky. -- For Chad Bumphis to say he hadn't been thinking about the Mississippi State University football team's all-time touchdown receptions record wouldn't be accurate.
The senior wide receiver put that thought behind him with a 27-yard touchdown catch from junior quarterback Tyler Russell in the third quarter Saturday to help MSU defeat the University of Kentucky 27-14.
"It's a big deal to get it out of the way finally," Bumphis said. "You can't say you don't ever say you don't think about it, but you try not to. What we want to do this year is get to (the Southeastern Conference Championship Game in) Atlanta. That's just one step."
Bumphis led all MSU pass catchers in receptions (nine) and yards (104), and had the longest play of the day (the 27-yard touchdown) of any MSU offensive player. The senior from Tupelo has 12 catches for 151 yards and two touchdowns in two SEC victories this season.
Bumphis also surpassed Terrell Grindle for fourth all-time in school history in career receptions (122) and is eighth at MSU all-time in career receiving yards (1,723).
Now that Bumphis holds the record, he will get to needle Eric Moulds, the former record holder and a former NFL first-round draft pick, the next time he sees him.
"He said he'd be at the Tennessee game, and so I'll talk to him about it a little bit," Bumphis said.
Bumphis found holes in an inexperienced secondary by cutting his routes inside the hashes, which allowed Russell to hit him for four completions for more than 10 yards. The "choice" route, as Bumphis described it after the game, was more than effective on the touchdown strike that gave MSU a 27-7 advantage in the third quarter.
"It's a double-post concept, and it's actually designed to go to the outside (receiver)," Bumphis said. "I don't think I've caught that ball once in practice. The safety sat flat-footed and let me run by him."
MSU wins despite what coach describes as "brain farts"
MSU coach Dan Mullen said to SEC Network's Cara Capuano that he wasn't satisfied with his team's "brain farts" as he was walking off the field at halftime.
The only touchdown MSU allowed in the first 30 minutes came on a broken coverage that allowed receiver La'Rod King to be wide open for a 32-yard touchdown pass from Patrick Towles.
"I think three times we had guys out of alignment, miss-aligned, making mistakes," Mullen said. "That's a focus problem. You're playing for three and a half hours. I think we lost that a couple of different times during the game, and different people.
MSU had only two penalties for 9 yards. Its only turnover was a fumble by senior receiver Chris Smith.
"Whether it be miss-aligned on defense, not rocking off the ball on the offensive line and missing a couple of protections, a turnover, shanking a punt, it was those type of things I wasn't real pleased with," Mullen said.
MSU's special teams unit allowed Kentucky to recover an onside kick after it scored in the third quarter to make it 27-14.
"When you go to a bye week, you don't always know in a bye week how it's going to play out," Mullen said. "The bye week was good for us. Sometimes you can come out sluggish or sloppy and we had a couple of mental mistakes and missed alignments and missed blocks and a missed tackle, some of those things but we'll get those fixed."
Jones makes debut after four-game suspension; TE Johnson remains out
Sophomore defensive tackle P.J. Jones saw action for the first time this season in his return from a four-game suspension for what MSU officials called "a violation of team rules."
Jones, who had nine tackles and a fumble recovery last season, didn't record a tackle and rotated with defensive tackle Dewayne Cherrington.
Sophomore tight end Malcolm Johnson remained inactive due with a pectoral muscle injury. MSU coaches had hoped he would return this season.
Mullen said Monday he hoped Johnson, who was on track with his rehabilitation, would play against Kentucky.
"We've got to see what (Malcolm) can do," Mullen said. "He hasn't done any live stuff yet, so he still has some recovery time left with the adaptation time to get back in it. He hasn't played any football since last April, so I think it will be a slower process. It's not like we're saying, 'Hey get back in there and go.' "
Johnson suffered an undisclosed injury to his pectoral muscle in July. The 6-foot-2, 225-pounder was one of 33 players selected to the 2012 John Mackey Award Watch List, which is given to the nation's best tight end.