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Prediction/matchups: A&M vs. Miss. State

11/2/2012

Texas A&M 31, Mississippi State 27

Of all the games on the Aggies' schedule, this feels the closest to a coin flip, point spread notwithstanding. The teams are next to each other in the rankings (the Bulldogs are 15th in the BCS standings, A&M 16th), both have performed above preseason expectations and both teams' only losses are to ranked foes (the Aggies dropped games to Florida and LSU; Alabama is Mississippi State's only defeat). There appears to be good quarterback play on both sides with Johnny Manziel for Texas A&M and Tyler Russell for Mississippi State. Davis Wade Stadium, in all its cowbell-filled glory, is no picnic, but coach Kevin Sumlin and the Aggies have excelled on the road this year, winning all four games away from Kyle Field. This one will be the toughest to date on paper, with the toughest of the year awaiting a week later at Alabama. If the Aggies and Manziel take care of the football -- and I'm going to guess that they do -- then this team is good enough to go into Starkville, Miss., and get a quality road win. Behind a balanced offensive attack, and some pressure applied to Russell defensively and some key third-down defense, I'm going to say the Aggies pull it off in a close, hard-fought battle.

Player to watch: Mike Evans, Texas A&M

The redshirt freshman receiver has been Manziel's go-to guy in the passing game and he has also been the Aggies' most explosive receiving threat. He has come up with key catch after key catch and currently leads the team in receptions (47) and receiving yards (705). He has been battling a hamstring injury for the last two weeks and has had to come out of games at times because of it, but has battled through the injury and has combined to catch 11 passes for 156 yards in the last two games. It'll be worth watching on Saturday to see if the hamstring affects him again.

Matchups to watch:

• Russell vs. Texas A&M secondary

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