Finding Mississippi State football's 2024 rushing touchdown leader is tricky

There are several players who could end the 2024 season with the most rushing touchdowns for Mississippi State football.
Mississippi State Spring Football Game
Mississippi State Spring Football Game / Justin Ford/GettyImages

The Jeff Lebby offense puts up a lot of yards, including on the ground. And Mississippi State's leading rusher in 2024 should see a productive year playing for him. The offense produces a lot of rushing touchdowns too, but who sees the bulk of those for the Bulldogs and how many is a tricky question.

Who leads Mississippi State in rushing touchdowns?

While I expect Davon Booth to be State's leading rusher, I'm not certain he leads them in rushing touchdowns. Booth led Utah State with six rush TDs in 2023, and five of those came from 19+ yards out. He's an explosive player who can "score from far."

But he's somewhat of a smaller RB, meaning he isn't quite as effective at pushing ahead in short-yardage or goal line situations. Other RBs on the MSU roster might be. Keyvone Lee is a true power back at 6-0, 225. Jeffery Pittman is listed at a similar size as Booth, but he's noticeably stockier and seems more primed for breaking tackles.

There's a very good chance either of those guys regularly replace Booth once MSU is in the redzone. And then there's the total wildcard: Blake Shapen.

Jeff Lebby loves to run his QB in the redzone. He did it with both Matt Corral and Dillon Gabriel. Shapen can move but doesn't have prototypical "power run QB" size, but neither did Gabriel who's smaller than Shapen. Gabriel led Oklahoma in rushing TDs in 2023. Could Shapen do the same?

I doubt that, but I honestly wouldn't be floored by it. All that said, I think I'm going to take Pittman as the TD leader in this room. Booth is more explosive, and Lee is better in short-yardage. But Pittman does a bit of both, so I could see that ending with him finishing just ahead of the others.

How many rushing touchdowns does Jeff Lebby's leading rusher typically have?

Jeff Lebby's "RB by committee" approach shows up in rush TD numbers. They tend to be spread somewhat evenly amongst his ball-carriers. On three occasions, the player who led in rushing TDs didn't lead in rushing yards, including QB Dillon Gabriel with 12 last year.

On average, Lebby's top scorer on the ground finishes with 11 TDs. The most came from Snoop Conner with 13 at Ole Miss in 2021, and the fewest came from UCF's Bentavious Thompson with eight in 2019.

How many rushing touchdowns will Jeffery Pittman have in 2024?

While I'm taking Pittman to lead MSU in rushing TDs for 2024, I doubt he's far ahead of the other options. The Bulldogs could see around 30 rush TDs as a team with that total being distributed fairly evenly.

I won't predict a high total because of how many options there are for carries. I'd set Pittman's total right around 9, but probably lean under that.