#21 Mississippi State Bulldogs vs. #14 Texas A&M Aggies

Kyle Field in College Station will be rocking on Saturday, Photo Courtesy: Ken Lund
Kyle Field in College Station will be rocking on Saturday. Photo Courtesy: Ken Lund

By Johnny Horton

Game Info
#21 Mississippi State Bulldogs vs. #14 Texas A&M Aggies
Saturday – October 3 – 6:30 pm CT
Kyle Field – College Station

Texas A&M survived a massive scare last weekend against the Arkansas Razorbacks as they were able to escape Jerry World with another overtime victory for the second consecutive year. Things looked bleak the entire fourth quarter as the Hogs kept running the ball down the throat of the Aggie defense keeping their explosive offense off of the field. Fortunately A&M was able to get a late touchdown thanks to a big play from quarterback Kyle Allen to Josh Reynolds and a two point conversion to Reynolds to force the extra session. A quick strike from Allen to Christian Kirk put the Ags up 28-21 and then the defense made a great stop on fourth down to seal the deal.

The Aggies will look to win their first conference game at Kyle Field since the 2013 season when the Bulldogs come to town on Saturday. Mississippi St. blasted A&M in Starkville last year by a score of 48-31, a result that signaled the end of the Kenny “Trill” era. They are coming off of a win of their own at Auburn last Saturday 17-9.

What to look for when A&M has the ball
It’s a given that Kyle Allen will be looking to target Kirk and Reynolds as much as possible and the Bulldogs will surely be keying in on those two all game long. That is why it is imperative that somebody else step up and make some plays. Last year Speedy Noil was the go to guy in many crucial down situations and this year he has been the invisible man producing absolutely nothing. Whether it’s been disciplinary reasons or injuries, he has not been the same threat we saw as a standout freshman. Wide receiver Ricky Seals-Jones was one of the highest recruited players in the nation coming out of high school and he’s yet to have proven his worth at all this year as well.

As puzzling as that is, much can be attributed to just how explosive Kirk has been. One almost gets the sense that the Ags could involve Christian in every other play and have a great chance at moving the chains. Tra Carson will continue to get the majority of work at the running back position wear the team still remains hampered by injuries. A&M failed to turn the ball over against Arkansas and they’ll need to continue the clean play. Offensive coordinator Jake Spavital hinted that he has designed some plays that include both Kyle Allen and freshman quarterback Kyler Murray on the field at the same time. Expect to see one or two of those on Saturday.

What to look for when Mississippi State has the ball
Senior quarterback Dak Prescott is the consummate leader and should be undeterred by the hysteria of playing a night game in front of 102,000 plus rowdy fans at the new Kyle Field. The Bulldogs only loss of the season came at the hands of LSU 21-19, a team that now finds itself ranked #8 in the country. Through four games this year, Prescott has thrown for over 1,000 yards and averages 4 yards per carry when he decides to scramble. While he doesn’t always look dazzling, he’s so good at taking care of the ball and such a physical presence at 6’2”, 230 pounds that he’ll be tougher than most for edge rushers Myles Garrett and Daeshon Hall to take down.

The top receiver for Dak to throw to has been Fred Ross who has a total of only 219 yards on the entire season. At running back the numbers are even less impressive with Brandon Holloway leading the way with 134 yards rushing through four games. A major component of Hail State’s success has been their defense which is giving up less than 15 points per game. You can bet that the Bulldogs will try to duplicate Arkansas’ efforts against the Aggies by slowing things down, trying to control the clock, and not make any major mistakes that will allow A&M’s high octane offense to get it cranking early.

The line for this one has the Ags favored by six points which is normally about the amount of points given to the home team. So in essence Vegas thinks that if this were played at a neutral site it would be a pick ‘em game. That seems about right when trying to decipher which way this one ends up after four quarters or even more free football if necessary. They also put the over/under at 63 points which seems way off the mark considering that every game the Bulldogs have played has fallen way under that with the exception of Northwestern State. Look for this one to be a close and very physical battle that will come down to who has the most stamina in the fourth quarter. If the Aggies can come out with a victory here then big things will loom on the horizon with a bye week next Saturday and the mighty Alabama Crimson Tide coming to town on October 17.

Prediction: Texas A&M 27 – Mississippi St 23