Mississippi State hosts Arizona on Saturday. Last year’s matchup was all Bulldogs.

Defensive coordinator Zach Arnett’s group picked off Arizona quarterback Jayden de Laura three times and completely stymied the Arizona ground game in a 39-17 win in Tucson. This year, the Wildcats make the return trip to Starkville looking for a better result.

Arnett, now the program’s head coach, expects a challenge from the UA offense.

He mentioned Arizona’s penchant for explosive plays. The Wildcats averaged seven plays of 20 yards or more per game last season. They ended the year ninth nationally with 84 such plays. Georgia, which led the country in total 20-yard plays, averaged 6.5 a game.

“They have a phenomenal scheme offensively,” Arnett said earlier this week.

Arnett also had a glowing review of Wildcat quarterback Jayden de Laura.

“Returning quarterback, very mobile and agile,” Arnett said. “The sacks he gets out of when you feel like you have him bottled up in pressure. He flushes and finds a way out of there. He has one of the quickest releases I’ve seen in football right now. So, very talented.”

Arizona beat Northern Arizona 38-3 last Saturday. The offense nearly went for 500 yards as de Laura completed 18 of his 24 passes for 285 and three scores.

Mississippi State got off to a similarly hot start, beating Southeastern Louisiana 48-7.

Saturday’s contest is set for a 4:30 p.m. PT kick on the SEC Network.