Kevin Sumlin‘s offense is not foreign to the Mississippi State coaching staff.
The 21st-ranked Bulldogs will be facing Sumlin’s spread attack for the sixth time in seven years traveling to No. 14 Texas A&M at 6:30 p.m. today on SEC Network.
MSU split a two-game series in 2009-10 while Sumlin was the head coach at Houston and is 1-2 since he started coaching the Aggies.
In the five previous meetings, Sumlin’s offense is averaging 542.4 yards and 35 points.
“They are an offense that prides itself on out-executing you with the plays they run,” said MSU defensive coordinator Manny Diaz. “It’ll be a challenge for everybody we have step on the field to deny.
“They are going to complete passes. It’s going to happen. The issue is where they are completing them and how much run after the catch do they have. If they get chunk plays, that’s where all their momentum comes from.”
Texas A&M comes into the game perfect at 4-0 following its first conference win against Arkansas 28-21 in overtime at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
The Aggies are piling up 471.5 yards and 41.5 points per game on the year. Sophomore quarterback Kyle Allen has completed 65.3 percent of his throws for 952 yards, 11 touchdowns and two interceptions.
Allen has four wideouts that have already hauled in 10 or more passes led by the SEC’s leading receiver Christian Kirk, a true freshman. Kirk has caught 24 balls for 442 yards and four touchdowns and is joined by a pair of big targets in Josh Reynolds (6-4, 195) and Ricky Seals-Jones (6-5, 240).
“Good coverage is not always an issue with them,” Diaz said. “You can be all over them and they’ve got guys that can just go up and big boy the ball away from you. It’s a tremendous challenge for our pass defense.”
The Bulldogs (3-1, 1-1 SEC) have had the best pass defense during conference play, giving up only 129.5 yards through the air. MSU also has three interceptions and 12 sacks on the year.
Last year the Bulldogs were able to force former Texas A&M quarterback Kenny Hill into tossing three interceptions to linebacker Richie Brown in a 48-31 win in Starkville. Brown is coming off a 13 tackle, two sack performance against Auburn last week and is the reigning SEC Defensive Player of the Week.
The overall series between the Aggies and State is tied 4-4 and 1-1 in College Station.