Factor No. 2: Who will win the battle between MSU’s pass offense and TAMU’s pass defense?
This, without a doubt, is the biggest in-game storyline to keep an eye on in Texas A&M’s battle against Mississippi State. Sure, Mike Leach’s air raid offense hasn’t reached the same level that it was at Washington State, but the Bulldogs have a lethal passing game this year.
Mississippi State currently ranks sixth in passing yards per contest, though the statistics make it sound better than it is. The Bulldogs, while they have accumulated a lot of yardage, have done it through sheer volume of passes. In terms of yards per attempt, Leach’s team is not particularly strong.
They average just 6.46 yards per attempt through the air. To put that into perspective, the dead Texas A&M offense averages 6.38 yards per attempt.
This may be a battle that heavily favors an Aggie secondary, which has proven to be one of the best in the entire country. The real test here is whether A&M’s offense can keep its defense off of the field long enough to stay rested.
We did see A&M’s pass defense exposed a little bit against Arkansas in the first half, but they clamped up in the final 30 minutes, allowing just three points. A&M currently holds the third-best passing defense by yardage, allowing just 119.5 yards per game.