Johnny Manziel passed for 446 yards and 5 TDs to lead Texas A&M to a 51-41 win over Mississippi…
Five Keys to Success - Mississippi St.
The biggest question mark heading into Saturday's game will be the effectiveness of Bulldog QB Dak Prescott. The sophomore replaced veteran signal caller Tyler Russell and hasn't given the job back. In the past two weeks, Prescott has come into his own passing for over 500 yards and rushing for over 100 yards. However, just a day after losing to South Carolina, Prescott's mother passed away after a battle with cancer. Prescott did not practice with the team though Wednesday, the day of his mom's funeral. But he did make the trip and will play Saturday. For the Aggies to slow down the Bulldog offense, the unit must stop Prescott and limit him to under 275 yards of total offense.
2) Score First
The Aggie offense has been remarkable in scoring on the opening drive and setting the tone for the rest of the game in the Kevin Sumlin era. However, last week against UTEP the offense struggled early in the game for the first time in nearly two seasons. The Aggies can't afford to get off to a similar slow start against a very dangerous Mississippi State squad. With A&M's struggles on defense, the offense will need to score early and often to take the pressure off the defense.
3) Clean Tackling
The Aggie defense has suffered most of the season from poor tackling and allowing a significant number of yards after contact. With Prescott measuring 6-foot-2, 230 pounds, Texas A&M will have to be particularly aware of wrapping up and bringing down the big, physical QB. Missed tackles on the QB leads to rushing first downs and big passing plays. Prescott is going to get his share of yards, and that is fine given A&M's ability to score at will on the other side. But efficient, cleaning tackling will force enough punts for the offense to capitalize. Just be clean and make the play in front of you.
4) Take Advantage of Special Teams Advantage
Drew Kaiser is statistically the third best punter in the county. Ever since Josh lambo took over the field goal duties, the kicking game has been money. On the flip side, MSU is struggling in the kicking game and held internal tryouts once again this week. The most recent kicker has made only 5-of-11 FG attempts. A&M also has some statistical advantages in the return game as well. A&M will go a long way to win this game by leveraging this edge on Saturday.
5) Either Win the Turnover Margin or Only Lose By One
Mississippi State's offense had been pretty good holding onto the ball in 2013 until last weekend when Prescott threw three interceptions to go along with two lost fumbles. Anything close to that mark and the Bulldogs will be blown out of Kyle Field early. The Aggies could lose the turnover margin by one and still win given the edge in other areas, but losing two or more turnover in terms of margin will turn this game into a barnburner. Manziel must avoid trying to force a pass into coverage, something he's done seveal times this season.
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