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Mississippi State Football: Three Players to Watch as the Bulldogs Take On Texas A&M

These Bulldogs could be the key to success in leading their team to victory over the Aggies.

Mississippi State will welcome No. 17 Texas A&M to Davis Wade Stadium on Saturday to begin a long stretch of conference play.

The Bulldogs are heading into the game at 3-1 overall, with the one loss coming against LSU on Sept. 17. The team boasts veteran leadership on both sides of the ball and has a conference-leading quarterback in Will Rogers. Texas A&M enters Starkville with the top recruiting class in the nation and high expectations. The Aggies lost to Appalachian State in the second week of the season, but have since pulled off ranked wins against Miami and Arkansas to put their record at 3-1.

Here are three players to watch as the two SEC West opponents square off.

1. CB Decamerion Richardson

Richardson has had a successful season for the Bulldogs so far, totaling 21 tackles and three pass breakups through the first four games of the year. His personal growth has been huge: the junior totaled just 13 tackles last season and had none in 2020. Richardson has helped Mississippi State's secondary hold opponents to an average of 205.75 passing yards per game, and he will play a huge role in limiting how much Texas A&M quarterback Max Johnson can impact the game -- especially with star Aggies' wide receiver Ainias Smith out for the season due to an injury.

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2. WR Jaden Walley

Walley has struggled some to open up the season for the Bulldogs. His two touchdowns through the first four games of the season have tied his total for his freshman year, but he has just 10 receptions for 97 yards. That's surprising for a student-athlete that recorded nearly double those numbers at this point last year. Walley did notch a season-high of 39 receiving yards and had a late touchdown against Bowling Green, so it appears that his breakthrough game could be right around the corner. Expect the junior to step up more as conference play heats up over the coming weeks.

3. LB Nathaniel Watson

After an outstanding game against Bowling Green, Watson will be looking to carry his momentum into Mississippi State's matchup against Texas A&M. The redshirt senior picked up 10 tackles, one tackle-for-loss and one sack in the Bulldogs' victory over the Falcons, bringing his total on the year to 29 tackles, 3.5 tackles-for-loss and two sacks. The 6-foot-2, 240-pounder will be a pivotal part of his team's defense as it begins to face much tougher opponents. If Watson can help his team put pressure on A&M's struggling offense early, then the Bulldogs stand a chance of pulling off the victory over a ranked opponent.