STARKVILLE, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi State coach Dan Mullen winced when recalling the "enormous amount" of yards his defense gave up against the Troy Trojans last season.
The Bulldogs escaped that game with a 30-24 victory, despite giving up 572 total yards.
So it's easy to see why the Bulldogs (1-2) won't be taking Troy (2-1) lightly on Saturday when the two meet in a rematch at Davis Wade Stadium.
"I think the fact we played them last year, they're going to have confidence," Mullen said. "The teams are going to know each other."
Mississippi State is trying to recover from a difficult start to the season, especially a 24-20 loss to Auburn last weekend. The Bulldogs led for the majority of the game, but Auburn scored on an 11-yard touchdown pass with 10 seconds remaining to win.
Mullen said his young and inexperienced defense played well for much of the game, but a few crucial breakdowns led to Auburn touchdowns.
Now the Bulldogs will be facing a Troy offense that's known for its ability to pile up points. The Trojans are led by senior quarterback Corey Robinson, who has thrown for 11,128 career yards and 68 career touchdowns.
"He's an extremely accurate passer and has a very quick release," Mullen said.
Troy is coming off a 41-34 loss to Arkansas State last Thursday, giving them a few extra days to prepare for the Bulldogs. The Trojans are averaging nearly 45 points per game.
Mississippi State's quarterback situation is still unsettled. Senior starter Tyler Russell hasn't played since the season opener against Oklahoma State because of a concussion and hasn't been cleared for contact. Sophomore Dak Prescott has played well in Russell's place.
Troy coach Larry Blakeney, who is in his 23rd season with the Trojans, said his defense would prepare for both.
The Trojans have a history of playing well against Mississippi State, and claimed one of the biggest wins in school history over the Bulldogs in 2001.
"I hope we can have a clean performance, play hard," Blakeney said. "It's always good to win no matter where you are — a corn patch, at Troy or in Starkville."
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