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Neither Texas A&M nor Mississippi State will win the SEC West this season but the winner of Saturday’s game will have a leg up in terms of bowl priority. The Aggies are 7-point favorites on Vegassportsbetting.com.
The Bulldogs (7-1, 3-1) fell 38-7 to Alabama last week. The Tide forced three turnovers while committing none, which pushes their season turnover margin to plus-17. The Bulldogs came in averaging 36.7 points but didn’t score until the final minutes. They had been leading the nation in turnover margin.
Alabama held the SEC’s leading rusher, LaDarius Perkins, to 38 yards on 15 carries after he came in with three straight 100-yard efforts. The Tide outgained Mississippi State 414-256. Tyler Russell completed 15 of 30 passes for 169 yards but threw just his second interception of the season and took a number of hits from the nation’s top defense.
Over the last three-plus seasons, State has won 22 of 23 games when victorious in the turnover column. Conversely, the Bulldogs have won just five times out of 14 when losing the turnover battle.
Through eight games, State ranks sixth in the nation with a plus-13 turnover margin. The Bulldogs are tied for 13th nationally with 20 forced turnovers. Mississippi State is first in the FBS in turnover margin at home (+13), while Texas A&M is tied for 101st in the FBS in turnover margin on the road (-5).
A&M, meanwhile, pummeled Auburn 63-21. Johnny Manziel ran for three touchdowns and passed for two more — all in a little more than a half.On eight possessions led by Manziel, Texas A&M (6-2, 3-2 Southeastern Conference) scored seven touchdowns.
The only non-scoring drive run by the freshman nicknamed “Johnny Football” ended with a missed 48-yard field goal by Taylor Bertolet on the final play of the first half. Manziel was in the game for only one series in the third quarter before watching the remainder of the rout from the sideline. He completed 16 of 23 passes for 230 yards and two touchdowns and had nine carries for 90 yards and three scores.
Mississippi State and A&M have faced off on the gridiron only five times in the schools’ histories, with the only time since WWII coming in the 2000 Independence Bowl. Saturday’s game is the first time since Sept. 20, 2001 where two top-20 teams (No. 17 MSU, No. 18 South Carolina) faced each other in Davis Wade Stadium.
Vegas trends: Aggies are 3-8 ATS in their last 11 road games. Aggies are 2-7 ATS in their last 9 games following a S.U. win. Aggies are 2-10-1 ATS in their last 13 conference games. Aggies are 1-8 ATS in their last 9 games after accumulating more than 280 yards passing in their previous game.
Aggies are 1-11 ATS vs. a team with a winning record. Bulldogs are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 home games vs. a team with a winning road record. Bulldogs are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 conference games. Bulldogs are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 home games.