Projecting Miss. State’s Rushing Numbers


Power, finesse, speed and a third down run to move the chains have become a staple of a Dan Mullen offense. Since 2009, rushing the football, regardless if it’s a Dixon, Ballard, Perkins, Relf, Prescott or a Robinson – the Mississippi State Bulldogs know how to run the football.

Coming into the 2015 season, while there are questions along the offensive line and just who will garner the carries for the Bulldogs, the one thing that is for sure is that Mississippi State will run the ball and run it effectively.

Today we project the offensive output for the Mississippi State rushing attack.

More from Mississippi State Football

If you look back at the 2010, 2011, 2013 and 2014 seasons the numbers are clear and precise on just what the Bulldogs want to do with the football. I discarded the 2012 and 2009 seasons because those are outliers when looking at the Bulldogs habits and tendencies. 2009 was the first year for Mullen with very little to work with; while 2012 was a year where the Bulldogs tried to use the strengths of Tyler Russell as a pure passer.

The Bulldogs have run 3,726 plays in those four years – 2,238 of them via the running game; which is good for 60-percent when you start dissecting pass verses run ratio.

Last year the Bulldogs rushed for a Dan Mullen – Mississippi State high of 3,030 yards and Josh Robinson took 1,203 of those with him to the NFL.

So while we assume the Bulldogs will in fact throw the ball early and often to a talented group of receivers, know that the Bulldogs still fully intend on running the football.

So let’s make a best guess on who will get what, when talking about running opportunities and production.

We can already assume, if he stays healthy, Dak Prescott will get somewhere in the neighborhood of 150-175 carries based on a two year average, which also averages out to about 900 rushing yards and double digit touchdowns.

That leaves us with 2,130 yards to make up between multiple players. We have also seen a trend of healthy upper classmen moving into the role of starter and facilitator for Dan Mullen at running back. After Anthony Dixon left, Vick Ballard took the reigns as a junior college transfer. Ladarius Perkins saw action until Ballard left and then took over.

Once Perkins was “the guy”, Josh Robinson filled in as that second back or spot player. Same for Robinson as he moved into the starting role once Perkins left – then Ashton Shumpert filled in with Brandon Holloway last year.

So with that trend, it’s probably safe to assume Shumpert is now the guy that will get the call early as the feature back. Shumpert rushed for 274 yards and two touchdowns last year on 47 carries.

I would almost bet you he doubles that output in 2015 which would be somewhere around 100 carries for 650 yards or more. Likewise Holloway rushed 45 times for 294 yards and a touchdown last year. With him being the change of pace back for Dan Mullen I would assume he bumps those stats just a bit in 2015; somewhere in the neighborhood of 70 carries for 385 yards.

Using those numbers that will leave you with 1,095 yards to reach last year’s output and I would bet you that will be split between Aeris Williams, Dontavian Lee, and others on gimmick plays or speed sweeps or end around’s.

That doesn’t give you per say that 1,000 yard rusher in a group, but what it gives you is consistency and a change of pace across the board. Anything can happen and one of these guys could become the alpha dog of the bunch, but based on what we have seen over the past with distribution of carries, how the Bulldogs like to run the football and more – this is a best guess on how the Bulldogs will distribute the load in 2015.

More from Maroon and White Nation