All-Mullen Team: Best Mississippi State RB of Dan Mullen Era

Anthony Dixon of the Mississippi State Bulldogs (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Anthony Dixon of the Mississippi State Bulldogs (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

Mississippi State football has reached another level during Dan Mullen’s tenure in Starkville. Who is the best running back to play for Mullen?

We continue our series of selecting the “All-Mullen Team”.

Yesterday, we took a look at the quarterback position. Obviously, that choice is perhaps the easiest to name. Dak Prescott is not only the best quarterback of the Dan Mullen-era, but he is also the best player to ever wear the Maroon and White.

Today, we look at one of the consistently most talented positions at Mississippi State: the running back. Since arriving in Starkville for the 2009 season, Mullen has had no shortage of productive backs. Anthony Dixon, Vick Ballard, LaDarius Perkins, Josh Robinson, and now Aeris Williams have been the feature backs for Mullen’s offenses in Starkville.

Who is the best to play running back for Dan Mullen?

Running Back

Anthony Dixon (2006-2009)

Anthony Dixon signed with Slyvester Croom and Mississippi State in the 2006 recruiting class. Dixon, a 4-star tailback from Terry, Mississippi, chose the Bulldogs over offers from the likes of LSU and Ole Miss. Dixon was a marquee signing for Croom and immediately gave the Bulldogs a workhorse in the backfield.

Dixon, however, only played one season for Dan Mullen. So, why does he make the All-Mullen Team?

He is the best running back in school history. One of the best backs in SEC history. Although he only had one season in Dan Mullen’s offense, it was Dixon’s best.

For the purpose of this article and series, we will stick to his one season with Mullen. After rushing for 869 yards and seven touchdowns in his junior campaign, Dixon put together his most impressive season as a Bulldog in his senior season. Mullen went with Tyson Lee at quarterback, so Dixon was leaned on to make the offense go. As a result, Boobie rushed for a career-high 1,391 yards and added twelve touchdowns.

In fact, just last year, Saturday Down South included Anthony Dixon as one of the most underrated tailbacks in SEC history. SDS’s Nicholas Allen wrote on the Mississippi State great:

"Anthony “Boobie” Dixon flew under the radar at Mississippi State from 2006-09. Dixon was an immediate contributor for the Bulldogs, and set school freshman records with 668 rushing yards and 9 touchdowns on 169 carries."

As Allen points out, Dixon’s numbers stack up among the best in both MSU’s history and the rich history of the Southeastern Conference.

"Dixon holds the Mississippi State records for rushing attempts (910), rushing yards (3,994), rushing touchdowns (42), touches from scrimmage (966), yards from scrimmage (4,443), and touchdowns from scrimmage (46) – having narrowly held off quarterback Dak Prescott, who rushed for 41 touchdowns and added 3 TD receptions to give him 44 touchdowns from scrimmage. Dixon ranks in the top 10 in SEC history in each category as well."

The fact that Dixon played on struggling Mississippi State teams during his career doesn’t help him in the minds of casual SEC fans. But, make no mistake, Boobie was a dominant tailback in the best conference in all of college football.

The most iconic performance of Dixon’s career in Starkville was his 252 yard outburst against Kentucky in the 2009 season. Dixon led Mullen and the Bulldogs into Lexington in an SEC showdown. What happened on that Halloween night was one of the greatest individual performances by a running back in SEC history.

Dixon put Mississippi State on his back en route to a 252 yards and 2 touchdowns performances on the Wildcats’ home turf. For Kentucky, Dixon resembled Freddy Krueger on that chilly Halloween evening.

Dixon did everything he wanted to against the hopeless Wildcats’ defense. He ran all over them, hurdled defenders, and put the Bulldogs on his back that night. Boobie set the Mississippi State single-game rushing performance  in the 31-24 road victory, breaking Jerious Norwood‘s previous 247 yards mark.

It was just flat out dominance and is an example of what Dixon was throughout his career at Mississippi State.

Re-live that unforgettable Halloween night here:

Boobie was a fan favorite during his career in Starkville. His dominant on-field performances combined with his infectious personality puts him in Mississippi State lore. There was never a dull moment with Dixon.

Dixon put together the greatest career of any running back in program history. He holds the Mississippi State school record with 42 career rushing touchdowns. Boobie was a consensus first-team All-SEC selection after the 2009 season.

The San Francisco 49ers selected Boobie in the sixth-round of the 2010 NFL Draft. He spent four seasons in the Bay, where he was a key part of three consecutive NFC Championship appearances under Jim Harbaugh.

His impressive senior campaign makes Anthony Dixon the best running back to play for Dan Mullen at Mississippi State.

Next. All-Mullen Outside Wide Receiver. dark