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Aggies Week 5 Opponent Preview: Mississippi State Bulldogs

The Aggies face their second consecutive SEC foe on the road in Starkville.
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The Texas A&M Aggies continue their SEC schedule in Week 5 when they face coach Mike Leach and the Mississippi State Bulldogs on the road at Davis Wade Stadium in Starkville, Mississippi.

It will technically be the first designated road game, since the Week 4 matchup against Arkansas at AT&T Stadium in the Southwest Classic is considered a neutral site game.

Last season, the Aggies and Bulldogs met in an early October tilt with Mississippi State handing Texas A&M a 26-22 loss.

Mississippi State is coming off a disappointing 7-6 overall record and 4-4 conference tally, which tied them for third place in the SEC. This should be a big year for the program, as quarterback Will Rogers now has two years of experience in Leach's Air Raid offense.

The offensive line will be the biggest question mark for the offense as both tackles are new from last season. But if things go well, this offense has an opportunity to be one of the best in the league. 

The Aggies, who went 8-4 last season, will not only be looking to erase last season’s disappointing 8-4 finish but will also be out to erase the memory of last season’s head-scratching loss to the Bulldogs.

Be sure to stick with as we preview every aspect of the matchup with the Razorbacks throughout the week.

Mississippi State Bulldogs

2021 Record: 7-6 (4-4 in SEC)

Head coach: Mike Leach

Leach is entering his third year as the head coach in Starkville.

Offensive Set: Air Raid

Defensive Set: 3-3-5

Returning starters on offense: 5

The Bulldogs had their moments last season but lacked consistency, mainly due to a lack of experience. At quarterback, Rogers enters his third season under Leach and his offense. After struggling as a freshman and basically learning everything virtually due to the pandemic, Rogers broke most of the single-season passing records in last year's campaign.

Depth at the receiver position is improved - despite losing Makai Polk to the NFL - with more than 12 years combined experience at the position.

Projected offensive starters:

QB Will Rogers*

RB Jo'quavious Marks*

WR Lideatrick Griffin

WR Austin Williams*

WR Caleb Ducking

WR Jaden Walley*

LT Percy Lewis

LG Nick Jones

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C LaQuinston Sharp*

RG Cole Smith

RT Kameron Jones

* denotes returning starter

Returning starters on defense: 7

This should be the best front six the Bulldogs have fielded in quite some time, even improved over last season's strong run defense, largely in part to the return of Jordan Davis who tore an ACL last season.

The weak link for State should be their secondary, although strong defensive line play could mask it.

Projected defensive starters:

DE Randy Charlton*

NT Cameron Young*

DT De'Monte Russell

LB Tyrus Wheat*

LB Nathaniel Watson*

LB Jett Johnson

BULL12 Shawn Preston Jr.

CB Emmanuel Forbes*

CB Decamerion Richardson

S Jalen Green*

S Collin Duncan*

* denotes returning starter

Follow Timm Hamm on Twitter at @IndyCarTim

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