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Mississippi State vs. Alabama: X Factor

Jameon Lewis is expected to be back this week after a leg injury has kept him limited. Could he be the difference against the Tide?

Wesley Hitt

Dan Mullen mentioned in his weekly press conference that he expects Jameon Lewis to be 100 percent for the upcoming game in Tuscaloosa.

Lewis was not only expected to be full go for this week's game but for this week of practice as well. He sat out last week against UT Martin to get an extra week of rest.

It's not the first time we've heard Jameon would be back, but he has played sparingly and been more of a decoy than anything else. It was obvious that he wasn't healthy the past few games. He has really been a non-factor since the beginning of the season.

Lewis excelled on the road at LSU when he caught five passes for 116 yards and a touchdown. With so much of the focus on him, De'Runnya Wilson had a big game as well.

That's where Jameon's return would most easily be noticed. Alabama and the remaining teams the Dogs face wouldn't be able to key on Wilson. Other receivers would be freed up as well.

If Mullen's statements are true and Tubby is in fact 100 percent, that will be HUGE for the Mississippi State offense. They need the SEC's leading returning receiver from last season to be healthy and make an impact for the offense again.

Gabe Myles has done well in Lewis' absence, but let's face it, he's no Jameon Lewis yet. Myles has done some damage on bubble screens and jet sweeps and used his elusiveness well. However, he's still young and hasn't developed the route running ability needed to be a full time starter. Myles has a lot of potential, but right now he just can't have the same impact down the field that Lewis can.

If Lewis is able to go this week, it becomes a pick your poison approach for Bama like it was for LSU in Death Valley. Do they want to take out De'Runnya or take out Tubby? That would be the million dollar question. If nothing else, it would give them an extra element to think about.

Wilson has been inconsistent this season as a whole, but the fact remains that he has showed flashes of an all-SEC type of receiver. His size and ability to high point the ball make him a threat to any corner in the league.

Teams have been able to key on him and take him out of the game since Lewis went down. You have to think Jameon coming back would do wonders for Wilson's production.

Mississippi State will need all the weapons at their disposal going up against a defense as stout as Alabama's. They can't be one dimensional, and having Jameon back certainly increases their chances of having success throwing the football. Will he and De'Runnya light the world on fire Saturday? Maybe, maybe not, but having both on the field at the same time adds an element to the offense that hasn't been there the last few weeks.