Game preview: No. 17 Texas A&M vs. Mississippi State

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Brandon Wade/AP/Shutterstock (13417977c) Texas A&M quarterback Max Johnson (14) looks for an open receiver during the first half of the team’s NCAA college football game against Arkansas, in Arlington, Texas Arkansas Texas A M Football, Arlington, United States – 24 Sep 2022

Game preview: No. 17 Texas A&M vs. Mississippi State


Texas A&M (3-1) vs. Mississippi State (3-1)

Game time: 3:00 pm CTSaturday, Oct. 1

TV/radio: SEC Network/XM 106/192

What’s at stake: Maintain momentum for Texas A&M.

When the Aggies have the ball: 

In all likelihood, Saturday’s SEC West matchup between the Aggies and Bulldogs will be a low-scoring affair. Knowing that Jimbo Fisher’s offense will need to take advantage of every opportunity to put six points on the scoreboard.

How does A&M accomplish this? Establish the run with Devon Achane early.

Achane carried the ball 19 times for 159 yards and a touchdown last week in the win over Arkansas. After losing Ainias Smith for the year during the Arkansas game, the Aggies will need to maximize the abilities of their playmaking running back, Devon Achane.

When Mississippi State has the ball:

“Stay the course.” That’s the plan for Texas A&M’s defense this week as they enter Starkville.

Mike Leach’s Mississippi State offense with quarterback Will Rogers at the helm has the potential to be a real problem for any defense in 2022. However, A&M’s defense has quickly made a name for itself this season and has shown flashes of being in the upper echelon in all of college football.

The Aggies will need to continue their stellar play when the Bulldogs possess the ball if they want to leave Mississippi with their third straight win.

Key Aggies to watch:

WR Evan Stewart

Ainias Smith was injured in last week’s game against Arkansas. Now, without one of their most electric playmakers, the Aggies will need the young receiver Evan Stewart to grow up quickly in order to fill the void left by Smith’s absence.

Stewart scored his first touchdown last week against the Razorbacks, but A&M will need more than three receptions for 36 yards on Saturday in Starkville.

QB Max Johnson

Head Coach Jimbo Fisher called an audible at quarterback following Texas A&M’s upset loss to Appalachian State three weeks ago, replacing Haynes King with LSU transfer Max Johnson.

Since the change, Johnson is 2-0 as the starting quarterback. That being said, the Aggie offense has still sputtered and struggled to find a rhythm. A strong defense has masked the woes of Jimbo Fisher’s offense during their two-game winning streak.

Now without his most productive receiver Ainias Smith, Max Johnson will need to make multiple big throws down the field on Saturday if A&M wants to advance their two-game winning streak to three.

The bottom line:

As head coach of Texas A&M, Jimbo Fisher is 2-2 when playing Mississippi State. The SEC West is no playground; it is not for the faint of heart. Knowing that Jimbo and his players must take care of business when playing the lower-tier teams in their SEC West world.

If Texas A&M truly wants to find themselves mentioned alongside the likes of Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, etc., They must win games on the road against SEC opponents.

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