November 2, 2012

Sumlin talking Mississippi State

While Saturday will be Texas A&M's first trip to Starkville, it won't be the first for Kevin Sumlin.

Sumlin visited Mississippi State in 2009 with Houston and spoiled the Bulldogs homecoming 31-24. This year the first year Aggies head coach will be hoping for similar results.

"This is a very talented team," Sumlin said. "You can see the steps they've made since Dan (Mullen) has been there. They have improved their talent level and just like any other program, they have bought into what he is preaching. They are playing very, very well so I don't know how much our playing them three years ago plays into this game except that half of (our staff) have been to the hotel that we're staying at."

One major component that has made the Bulldogs different is their play at quarterback. Sumlin faced Tyson Lee and Chris Relf as MSU's signal callers in 2009-10 who were never known to be a vertical threat passing the football.

But this year the Bulldogs have Tyler Russell at the helm of the offense. The junior has completed 59-pecent of his passes this season for 1,742 yards, 15 touchdowns and only two interceptions.

"They are really a different offense now I think," Sumlin said. "I think Tyler Russell really has made a difference offensively for them as a quarterback. Their ability to throw the ball now with (Chad) Bumphis and those guys on the perimeter. Tyler Russell's playing really well. He's limiting interceptions and thrown 15 touchdowns and gives them the ability to get the ball down the field which three years ago I don't know that that was the case."

Sumlin's offense at Houston directed by record-setting quarterback Case Keenum found success during their previous visit to Davis Wade Stadium. The Cougars totaled 553 yards with Keenum connecting on 39-of-52 passing for 434 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions.

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