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Playin’ Nice: Good Bull Hunting

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GBH managing editor Rush Roberts fills us in on the Aggies.

Good Bull Hunting

1. Since this will certainly be the lead story of the week, what is the feeling on Kevin Sumlin's job status? Is this a "coaching for his job" game a la LSU and Les Miles on your last visit? Or is the writing already on the wall?

Well, if he loses this game he's definitely gone and if he wins it he's probably gone but maybe safe, so he's not not coaching for his job.

2. The Aggies have, somewhat, flipped the typical November script with wins in the last two weeks after a very up-and-down midseason. What's been the story there?

The return of Nick Starkel. Not to take anything away from Kellen Mond, who did an excellent job as a true freshman taking over in a tough spot, but Starkel has shown in his return why he originally won the starting job.

3. Is it safe to assume Nick Starkel will get the start at quarterback? What has been the difference with him over the last few weeks?

Yes. One of the biggest factors in Starkel's recent success is the emergence of Damion Ratley as a viable threat as a second wide receiver to Christian Kirk. He's got five TDs in the last three games.

4. On defense, this looks like a risk/reward unit, with a lot of yardage and points allowed, but a lot of havoc plays like sacks and tackles-for-loss. What's been the story on that side of the ball?

Probably the biggest story is linebacker play, which was a huge question mark going into the year. Otaro Alaka is having his best season by far, and Tyrel Dodson is a superstar in the making. Armani Watts is a steady force in the secondary and Derrick Tucker is emerging as another playmaking safety. The defensive ends have held their own and have been pretty productive as a unit, helping to offset the loss of Garrett and Hall.

5. How do you see this game playing out?

UGLY early on, low-scoring first half. Then craziness ensues late in the game. LSU probably wins because it's tradition. 34-31.