Mississippi State (7-0, 4-0) has held the No. 1 ranking for the third consecutive week in both polls and will be awaiting the first release of the first four-team National Playoff rankings to be released Tuesday night. Mullen isn't thinking about the rankings and doesn't what his players to get mixed up in the frenzy.
Mullen said,"Our focus is on beating Arkansas. As soon as you start thinking too far ahead and not on beating the next opponent, you are not going to be very successful. That has been our approach. If we are able to beat Arkansas our focus will go to UT-Martin which is a big Homecoming game for us.”
Arkansas (4-4, 0-4) is coming off a 45-17 win over UAB and will be aiming to knock off the top-ranked Bulldogs. The Razorbacks are scoring 39.1 points per game compared to Mississippi State's 42.3 ppg.
Defensively Mississippi State is giving up 439.6 yards an outing while the Razorbacks are giving up 353.0 yards ppg. The Bulldogs pass defense is yielding 321.6 yards per game and that's one area where Arkansas hasn't excelled at. The Razorbacks are passing for 199.0 yards per game.
Coach Dan Mullen says Mississippi State has got to be prepared to face a very good Razorbacks defensive unit and praised his Bulldogs after beating Kentucky 45-31.
“I am pleased with last week's game,"stated Mullen. "Different guys stepped up and made plays when we needed them to make plays. That game is behind us at this point and we are moving on to a very difficult Arkansas team. They play excellent defense. They have a great defensive line and they run to the football very aggressively. With the style of defense that they play, they have been very successful against a lot of high potent offenses this year. Besides a couple of big plays at the end of the game they were able to slow down Texas A&M, which is one of the best offenses in the country. They really shut down Alabama who has an explosive offense as well."
The biggest plus for Mississippi State against Arkansas is the offensive firepower led by Heisman hopefuls quarterback Dak Prescott and running back Josh Robinson. The Louisiana-duo is getting the job done, making it difficult for most defensive units. Mullen knows he has two special players.
“I think it has been pretty good for us, "stated Mullen. "We want to make people defend all 11 guys on the field. When the running back is putting up big numbers and hitting explosive plays he draws a lot of attention. That takes a lot of the pressure and attention off of [Dak] Prescott, which will allow him to make bigger plays. If you look at our receivers, we have 10 different guys who have caught touchdown passes this year. When you talk about having a balanced offense, it is not always just about run and pass. It is about putting guys on the field that they have to defend.”
Mississippi State has been tabbed a 14 point favorite over the Arkansas Razorbacks.
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