The Texas A&M Aggies will play their first SEC home game against the Mississippi State Bulldogs on Saturday night. The Aggies come off of a tough loss to the Razorbacks, so Texas A&M will need to bounce back to stay in contention for the SEC West. Next week, the Aggies will face Alabama at Kyle Field. Improvement needs to be made in this game for the Aggies to compete on October 9th. Check out the key players and matchups that will determine who wins this game between the Aggies and Bulldogs.
Isaiah Spiller vs. Bulldogs’ Run Defense
After last week, it’s clear that Zach Calzada fits better as a game-managing quarterback. It’s hard to trust him to make big plays, so the running backs will be required to carry most of the load. Spiller comes off an impressive outing against Arkansas, where he rushed for nearly 100 yards and scored a touchdown. In addition, he had five receptions for 26 yards. Clearly, Spiller will have to be the focal point of the Aggies’ offense for Texas A&M to come out victorious. He will need to play a major role in many SEC games for the Aggies to finish with a winning record this season.
On the other hand, Mississippi State’s defensive front will be a strong counter to the Aggie rushing attack. The Bulldogs held the LSU Tigers to less than 80 yards rushing last week. Mississippi State’s defense was susceptible to the passing game, but that should not be a huge worry for the Bulldogs in this game. They do have playmakers in the secondary such as Emmanuel Forbes who can change the game.
Mainly, the Aggies’ offensive line has to hold up for Calzada and Spiller in the backfield. Spiller is a first-round talent, but he needs some help to break out for the big runs as he did last year. If Texas A&M’s offensive line wins the line of scrimmage battle, the Aggies will put up a lot of points in this game. That’s one of the keys to beating a team coached by Mike Leach.
Aggies’ Secondary vs. Bulldogs’ Passing Attack
Will Rogers threw for nearly 400 yards and three touchdowns in the Bulldogs’ loss to LSU. He also played well in previous games against Kentucky and Memphis, so it’s obvious that he isn’t the reason for Mississippi State’s two losses. Rather, it’s the opposing team’s defensive scheme. LSU’s defensive coordinator Daronte Jones laid out a great plan against the Bulldogs by dropping back in coverage and securing the middle of the field defensively. As a result, Rogers was forced to repetitively drop the ball off to Jo’quavious Marks.
The Aggies should incorporate a similar plan to that of LSU defensively. Texas A&M did not look like the best secondary in the SEC last week, so Mike Elko needs to make some changes to get ready for Mississippi State. You can let the Bulldogs get as many yards as they want, but the Aggies must force key stops to keep Mississippi State under 30 points. Texas A&M’s red zone defense will be crucial in this game. Moreover, the Aggies need to limit the big plays from the Bulldogs’ wide receivers, which is definitely a weakness seeing Treylon Burks‘ performance.
If Texas A&M consistently holds Mississippi State to field goals, the Aggies’ offense can keep up with the Bulldogs. Otherwise, it might get out of hand quickly.
Needless to say, the start of this season has been disappointing for the Texas A&M Aggies. They will need to win their first SEC home game against the Mississippi State Bulldogs to possibly get back to another New Year’s Six Bowl. The Aggies have too much talent to lose this game, and Jimbo Fisher needs to prove that his team still has the stardom from last year. Young playmakers such as Devon Achane and Demond Demas need to get more involved, for the Aggies’ future depends on them.