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Mississippi State could have linebacker Willie Gay Jr. back from suspension today.

KEYS TO VICTORY

Better beginning

During its four-game losing streak, Mississippi State has been outscored 45-6 in the first quarter. Making matters worse is that the Bulldogs have only moved the chains once on their opening drive during their skid.

Eliminate turnovers

MSU leads the Southeastern Conference with 18 turnovers – six of which have come in the past two games. The Bulldogs have to protect the football better and value each possession with an offense that is still finding its way with a true freshman quarterback.

Prevent penalties

Penalties can sometimes be a problem for State and the Bulldogs were flagged 13 times two weeks ago against LSU. Arkansas, on the other hand, has committed the fewest penalties in the SEC this season.

WHAT TO WATCH

When MSU has the ball

Expect the Bulldogs to try and establish the running game early with Kylin Hill, who currently leads the SEC with 793 yards and is coming off a 150-yard game last week. Mississippi State is averaging 378.8 yards and 25.5 points per game.

Arkansas has the second-worst rushing defense in the league and opponents have averaged 268.7 yards on the ground over the past three games. The Bulldogs scored seven touchdowns against the Hogs last year, including five through the air.

When Arkansas has the ball

The Razorbacks also have the second-worst rushing offense, averaging 131.3 yards and one rushing score per game. Arkansas’ offensive line and backfield are pretty beat up by injuries.

CRUCIAL MATCHUP

Arkansas quarterbacks vs. MSU’s secondary

The Hogs have had a revolving door at quarterback between Nick Starkel (five starts) and Ben Hicks (three starts), neither of whom have seen much success. Starkel has thrown 10 interceptions while Hicks has completed just 50.4 percent of his passes.

State’s secondary is littered with injuries and could be missing as many as four players today.

Logan Lowery

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