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MSU FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK: Mullen: Texas A&M defense 'underrated'

 

Matthew Stevens

 

STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State University isn't just worried about one side of the ball with its upcoming opponent. 

 

After scoring just seven points, the Bulldogs fourth-year head coach understands his offense must get back its momentum of the first seven weeks of the season against a defense that concerns Mullen greatly. 

 

"Their offense gets all the attention, but you look at how their defense has played, especially in conference games, they have a lot of speed and size on the defense," Mullen said during his weekly Southeastern Conference teleconference Wednesday afternoon. 

 

The Aggies are led by a junior defensive end that is considered one of the top pass rushing options possibly available for the 2013 National Football League Draft. In the risk-reward system A&M operates on defense, Damontre Moore has accumulated 18 tackles for loss and 10.5 sacks this season -- which leads the SEC in both categories. 

 

"People say (there's) an adjustment to the league," Mullen said. "That's what this league's known for is having that athleticism on the defensive side of the ball. They fit right in that mold of being an extremely athletic and extremely fast defense. It's probably the most underrated defense in the league." 

 

One of the challenges for No. 17 MSU (7-1, 3-1 in SEC) will be extending drives as the Aggies are third in the league by allowing offense to convert on third down situations only 27.7 percent of the time. 

 

"We put in a lot of time and effort on that (because) that is the 'money down'," A&M defensive coordinator Mark Snyder said. "That is the time to get off the field. These kids have been resilient and do what we ask them to do. We practice what we get and I'm very proud of them for that. We've got to continue that." 

 

n MSU using new Twitter hashtag end zone Saturday: In honoring what the schools are calling the "Snow Bowl" game back nearly 12 years where MSU defeated Texas A&M in the 2000 Independence Bowl, the Bulldogs have repainted the end zone. 

 

Instead of the normal "#HAILSTATE" end zone, MSU's marketing staff decided to go with "#SNOWBOWL12." The thought and hope behind the move is encouraging fans to use that as their hashtag following tweets Saturday as A&M comes to Starkville for the first meeting between the schools since the bowl game. 

 

In last year's Egg Bowl matchup against the University of Mississippi, MSU became what is believed to be the first college football program to paint a Twitter hashtag on its end zone "#HAILSTATE," the school's traditional rallying cry and fight song, in its north end zone. 

 

To commemorate the meeting, MSU has already showed off its all-white uniforms they'll be wearing Saturday and will likely include some tribute to the game, a 43-41 thriller that the Bulldogs won in overtime, during the Saturday afternoon contest. 

 

The Bulldogs uniform is all white, with silver trim and metallic silver numbers. The helmet is matte white with a large silver metallic bulldog graphic and silver face mask.

 

 

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