- Associated Press - Thursday, October 2, 2014

No. 6 Texas A&M; (5-0, 2-0 SEC) at No. 12 Mississippi (4-0, 1-0) noon (ESPN)

Line: Mississippi State by 1½.

Series Record: Mississippi State leads. 4-3.

WHAT’S AT STAKE

The first game matching two top 15 teams at Wade Davis Stadium in Starkville since 1986 will help shape the pecking in order in college football’s toughest division, the SEC West. The loser isn’t necessarily eliminated from conference championship - or even playoff - contention, but it does have to go to the back of the line and hope for help. Both quarterbacks, Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott and A&M;’s Kenny Hill, have been putting up numbers that will draw Heisman Trophy consideration.

KEY MATCHUP

Texas A&M; wide receivers vs. Mississippi State cornerbacks. It seems as if the Aggies use about a dozen different receivers. Not quite, but Hill has plenty of options, led by Malcolme Kennedy (33 catches, 378 yards). Ricky Seals-Jones, Josh Reynolds, Edward Pope, Speedy Noil and Boone Niederhofer all have double-digit receptions for an offense averaging over 400 yards per game through the air. A&M; will put pressure on Bulldogs cornerbacks Jamerson Love, Taveze Calhoun and Will Redmond, and a pass defense that ranks 124th in the country in yards allowed per game (319). The Aggies are also adept at getting their receivers matched up with safeties and linebackers.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Texas A&M;: OLB/DE Myles Garrett. The freshman had 5.5 sacks in the first three games and has the look of a potentially dominant pass rusher. He wasn’t quite as disruptive last week against Arkansas.

Mississippi State: MLB Benardrick McKinney. Rangy and athletic, the 6-foot-5 senior leads the Bulldogs in tackles (27) and has two sacks. Mississippi State’s 34 tackles for loss lead the SEC.

FACTS & FIGURES

The Aggies are one of two teams national to rank in the top five in total offense, scoring offense and passing. Baylor is the other. … Mississippi State has surpassed 500 yards total offense in each of its four games. … Prescott has three straight games of at least 200 yards passing and 100 yards rushing. … Among defenses that have faced 200 or more rushing attempts, A&M; has allowed the fewest rushing touchdowns (three). … Mississippi State C Dillon Day will serve a one-game SEC suspension for multiple flagrant and unsportsmanlike acts against LSU.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide