By Logan Lowery
COLLEGE STATION,Texas – Mississippi State enters its ninth contest of the season with a 4-4 overall record.
All four of the Bulldogs losses have come against opponents currently ranked in the top 15. MSU faces another such opponent today traveling to No. 11 Texas A&M for a 2:30 p.m. tilt on CBS.
The Bulldogs must win two of their next four contests to become bowl eligible for the fourth straight season.
“We’ve got to finish strong,” said MSU quarterback Tyler Russell. “So far we’ve done some good things and we’ve done some bad things. The outcome of some games have not been great, so for me being a leader it’s about keeping everybody focused and just continue to play football, have fun and do what we do and we’ll be fine.”
Russell got more snaps in practice this week by Dak Prescott will play after missing time earlier in the week after the death of his mother.
State faces the Aggies (7-2, 3-2) for just the seventh time on the gridiron with the series locked at three games apiece. The Bulldogs won the only meeting in College Station 6-0 during the 1913 season.
Texas A&M’s offense torched the Bulldogs last season in Starkville in a 38-13 victory racking up 693 yards. It was a coming out party for eventual Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel as well accounting for 440 yards of offense throwing for 311 yards while rushing for 129 yards and two touchdowns.
“I think people started to figure out who he was right around the time that we played him,” said MSU defensive coordinator Geoff Collins. “I don’t think there’s any secret right now who he is. He’s a big time quarterback and leader. He’s got some weapons he can throw the ball to and hand the ball off to.”
Myles lends a hand
True freshman defensive back Gabe Myles played the part of Manziel on Mississippi State’s scout team in practice this week. Myles is a former dual-threat quarterback at Starkville High School.
The Aggies offense leads the SEC and ranks in the top five nationally in both yardage and scoring. Texas A&M is averaging 582.6 yards and 49 points per game.
Manziel already has five 500-plus yard games to his credit as a sophomore including two this year. He tops the conference with 2,867 yards and 26 touchdowns through the air and has added 564 yards and eight more scores on the ground.
The Aggies offensive also features sophomore wideout Mike Evans who leads the league with 52 catches for 1,147 yards and 12 touchdowns.
“They’ve got a great quarterback and the best receiver in the country,” Collins said. “They’ve probably got the best o-line in the country and have four tailbacks who are as good as anybody in the SEC. They are a complete offense. They run it, throw it and go really, really fast.”