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Thomas Campbell-USA TODAY Sports
Things should get interesting in Starkville Saturday afternoon when No. 12 Mississippi State (4-0, 1-0 SEC) hosts No. 6 Texas A&M (5-0, 2-0). Here are "keys to victory" for each team, per ESPN:
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Texas A&M's key to victory: First and foremost, the Aggies have to get a handle on Mississippi State quarterback Dak Prescott and limit the Bulldogs' big plays. Prescott is a good decision-maker and runs the Bulldogs' offense -- which is full of read-option, play-action, misdirection and more -- flawlessly. Staying disciplined defensively is critical for A&M. Offensively, this Mississippi State secondary seems ripe for the picking so the Aggies simply need to do what they do -- have Kenny Hill sling the ball around to their big, fast receivers and keep the tempo high. One thing to keep an eye on is offensive line play. The Aggies had some hiccups, especially on the right side of the offensive line, against Arkansas. Mississippi State is big on the defensive front. -- Sam Khan
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Mississippi State's key to victory: Like the Aggies, the Bulldogs have to control that guy slinging the ball around for Texas A&M. Hill leads the SEC with 1,745 passing yards and 17 touchdowns. He's coming off a strong comeback performance against Arkansas, and he's challenging Prescott for the title of the SEC's best quarterback. That isn't a good mixture for a Bulldogs' defense that hasn't been great against the pass this year. Mississippi State is last in the SEC in pass defense, allowing teams to throw for 319 yards per game and get 7.6 yards per attempt. Things have to tighten up in the secondary. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Texas A&M leads the SEC in 20-plus-yard receptions, while Mississippi State's defense is tied for 11th in the SEC defending those passes. What's more is that Texas A&M averages an FBS-high 3.9 points per drive this season, and the Aggies have 340 more yards after the catch than any other SEC team. They are averaging 8.0 yards after the catch per reception (fourth in SEC), according to ESPN Stats & Information. -- Edward Aschoff

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