No. 19 MSU's secondary ready for Tennessee attack

By David Brandt

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, Oct. 9 2012 6:07 p.m. MDT

FILE - In this Sept. 22, 2012, file photo, Mississippi State defensive back Johnthan Banks (13) runs past the blocking of teammate linebacker Cameron Lawrence (10) after intercepting a pass in the fourth quarter of an NCAA college football game against South Alabama in Starkville, Miss. The backbone of No. 19 Mississippi State's success is a defensive secondary that's among the nation's most experienced. The starting four have combined for 37 career interceptions, including eight returned for touchdowns.

Rogelio V. Solis, File, Associated Press

STARKVILLE, Miss. — Tennessee's Tyler Bray is one of the nation's premier pocket passers, and the 6-foot-6, 215-pound junior has the completions, touchdowns and passing yards to back it up.

Mississippi State's secondary couldn't be more thrilled about the challenge.

In the Southeastern Conference showdown, Tennessee (3-2, 0-2) brings its high-flying passing offense to face the No. 19 Bulldogs (5-0, 2-0), who boost a pass defense that has been among the best in the league the past few seasons.

The Bulldogs have a seasoned quartet of starters — led by cornerbacks Johnthan Banks and Darius Slay — who have combined for 98 career starts and 37 interceptions. Eight have been returned for touchdowns.

Bray has completed 61.1 percent of his passes this season for 1,582 yards, 14 touchdowns and six interceptions.

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