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Davis Wade Stadium at Scott Field, Starkville, Mississippi Attendance: 51,930
No. 17 Texas A&M looks to extend rebound at Miss. State
Texas A&M Aggies at Mississippi State Bulldogs
- Mississippi State has won four of its last six games against Texas A&M, including a 26-22 victory last season. Three of those four wins have been by unranked Bulldog teams over ranked Aggie squads.
- After defeating then-No. 13 Miami (FL) in Week 3, Texas A&M upset then-No. 10 Arkansas last week, 23-21. This marked just the second time in the past 35 years that the Aggies took down ranked opponents in back-to-back games (also in 2012).
- Texas A&M's Devon Achane recorded a career-high 159 yards in the win over Arkansas on only 19 rushes (8.4 avg). His career rushing average of 7.5 yards in conference play is the second highest among active FBS players (min. 100 rushes; UAB's DeWayne McBride -- 8.2).
- Thirteen different Bulldogs recorded a reception in last week's win over Bowling Green, tied for the team's most in any game over the past 25 years (twice in 2021, once in 2013).
- Mississippi State's Will Rogers tied his career high of six touchdown passes while throwing for 409 yards in the win over Bowling Green. It was his third career game with at least 400 yards and five TDs, tied for the second most by any SEC player over the past 25 years (Missouri's Drew Lock -- 5).
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No. 17 Texas A&M will look to extend its winning streak to three games and continue its climb back up the rankings Saturday when the Aggies visit Mississippi State in Starkville, Miss.
The Aggies (3-1, 1-0 SEC) followed a stunning 17-14 loss to Appalachian State on Sept. 10 with wins over then-No. 13 Miami and then-No. 10 Arkansas to remain in position for their first SEC West Division title since arriving from the Big 12 before the 2012 season.
Left unmentioned this week by Texas A&M will be next week's showdown at No. 2 Alabama, which has won six of the last eight West Division titles.
"We are by far not close to where we need to be," Texas A&M coach Jimbo Fisher said after the Aggies' 23-21 win over Arkansas on Saturday. "We beat two good football teams not playing our best football."
Mississippi State (3-1, 0-1) entered the season looking to challenge, too, but the Bulldogs lost their margin for error in their conference opener, when they lost to LSU 31-16 on Sept. 17.
The Bulldogs bounced back to beat Bowling Green 45-14 last week. Last season, they knocked off the Aggies 26-22 in College Station, Texas.
"(Texas A&M has) big, lanky guys and they run well," Mississippi State coach Mike Leach said. "Once they see the ball, they do a good job chasing the ball."
Texas A&M quarterback Max Johnson has given the Aggies consistency at the position after taking over for Haynes King, who struggled mightily against Appalachian State.
Johnson, who transferred from LSU, where he started last season, completed 21 of 41 passes for 291 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions collectively in the wins over Miami and Arkansas.
Devon Achane rushed for 159 yards against Arkansas and will continue to power the ground game, but Johnson will be without the Aggies' leading receiver.
Ainias Smith, who leads A&M in receptions (15), yards (291) and touchdowns (two), will miss the rest of the season after breaking his fibula against Arkansas.
Evan Stewart has 13 receptions for 141 yards and a score, but no other Aggie has more than five catches this season.
Texas A&M boasts the 10th-ranked passing defense (153.2 yards per game) in FBS. It will be tested by Mississippi State quarterback Will Rogers, who is passing for 346.5 yards a game (second nationally), and his 16 touchdown passes are tied for first with North Carolina's Drake Maye and Ohio State's C.J. Stroud.
"It's going to come down to the secondary. We know we're going to get the rush up front, and as a back end we have to execute," Texas A&M defensive back Jaylon Jones said. "We know they like to throw the ball. They're the Air Raid offense."
Rogers threw for 409 yards and a school-record-tying six touchdown passes in a 45-14 win over Bowling Green on Saturday.
Five Bulldogs have caught at least 15 passes this season, led by Caleb Ducking's 21 receptions for 258 yards and five touchdowns.
Dillon Johnson leads the rushing attack, averaging 6.5 yards on 36 carries.
--Field Level Media
Updated September 27, 2022