After breaking records, Texas A&M is now ranked No. 11 after Saturday’s 41-38 upset of the No. 4 Florida Gators.
A&M coach Jimbo Fisher earned his first victory over a top-five team since becoming the Aggies’ head coach in 2018.
“I am very proud of our team,” Fisher said. “I think the biggest thing of all was just how we competed in the football game. Whether things were good or bad, the guys kept playing and did not pay attention to the scoreboard.”
Senior quarterback Kellen Mond became the new all-time passing leader in A&M history with 8,224 passing yards and earned recognition as the SEC co-Offensive Player of the Week.
Despite the Aggies’ victory, Saturday’s game ending was bittersweet as sophomore wide receiver Caleb Chapman likely played his last game of the season.
“It looks like he has an injury and will probably be out for the rest of the year,” Fisher said. “We will decide who will play in his position as the week goes on.”
Mississippi State enters this matchup with a 1-2 record after a 24-2 loss to Kentucky. The Bulldogs had only 14 rushing attempts, the fewest made in a game in the program’s history.
Senior quarterback K.J. Costello leads the Bulldogs this season with 1,168 passing yards, and senior wide receiver Osirus Mitchell leads with 247 receiving yards. Senior running back Kylin Hill is also a key player after leading the team with 1,350 yards and 242 rushing attempts last season. Hill was ranked No. 3 in the SEC and No. 22 in the nation in 2019.
A&M senior center Ryan McCollum said he is confident about playing on the road this Saturday after last facing the Bulldogs in Starkville two years ago.
“We do not think about struggling on the road, we focus on us and the task in hand,” McCollum said. “We just have to go in there and do our thing. The cowbells were loud, but it is not Kyle Field.”
The Bulldogs are the No. 12 defense in the league and are also seventh in sacks. Senior linebacker Erroll Thompson leads the team with 28 tackles so far. Last season, Thompson was ranked No. 15 in the SEC with 84 stops.
“They are very good on defense,” Fisher said. “We have a great challenge in front of us and hopefully we understand why we have had success and will continue to prepare like we have the last few weeks.”
Sophomore defensive end DeMarvin Leal said he is aware the Bulldogs are coming off a loss and are eager for a rebound against the Aggies.
“We cannot get too big-headed,” Leal said. “We have to do our job and do everything we preach in practice.”
Sophomore tight end Jalen Wydermyer said he believes A&M’s offense is capable of producing a high scoring game like other SEC teams.
“Coach Fisher’s offense is amazing,” Wydermyer said. “There are a lot of different aspects that go into it and if everybody is clicking, we can definitely put up points against anybody.”
Wydermyer said mental mistakes contributed to offensive struggles in the past.
“We are definitely putting it together,” Wydermyer said. “All offense is, is confidence. You have to have a lot of confidence to play in this league and once you get that confidence, it is hard to put it out.”
A&M will face Mississippi State on Oct. 17 at Davis Wade Stadium in Starkville, Miss. Kickoff is set for 3 p.m., and the game will be televised on ESPN.