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Who is Mississippi State’s X-factor vs Arkansas?

Mark McLaurin, a defensive back with plenty of experience knows a thing or two about how to slow an offense down.

NCAA Football: TaxSlayer Bowl-Louisville vs Mississippi State Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

Experience is king on the football field, and that is exactly what Mississippi State safety Mark McLaurin will bring to the table when facing Arkansas at home in Starkville. McLaurin is an opportunistic defensive back who prides himself on taking chances. That said, he will have his hands full having to stay with speedster Jared Cornelius and company.

McLaurin’s 52 total tackles, 10 of which were posted against mighty LSU have been key all year, as he will have to post numbers alike going forward. While being at home is an advantage for any team, it has been a significant one for the maroon and white, hence their 5-1 record at Davis Wade. A born leader whose infectious play galvanizes the defensive backfield, McLaurin is sure to be on point.

TaxSlayer Bowl - Mississippi State v Louisville Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

The senior hailing from Collins, MS will have to cover a lot of ground but has the speed to do so. At 6’2”, his size advantage should be a mismatch for many of Arkansas’ offensive weapons. Look for McLaurin to set the tone early.

Having said that, it all comes down to tackling in the open field. Make no mistake that it has been an issue for the Bulldogs. In addition, the Razorbacks boast speed and McLaurin will have to keep up.

Expect Mississippi State to be in control and cause numerous turnovers. The SEC’s best defense should show up, in large part due to McLaurin’s experience and leadership. He will be everywhere, as McLaurin is sure to post big numbers in a home win over the Razorbacks.