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Comparison: Mississippi State versus SELA and Jackson State

Since we only have a week of football under our belts, the only thing we can do right now for comparison's sake is look at what teams did last year versus what they did this year. So with that in mind, let's take a look at how Mississippi State did against Southeast Louisiana last year and Jackson State this year. There was a lot of excitement about Dan Mullen's new offense, but how different were the results against a I-AA team?

As with previous comparisons, sack yardage has been taken out of the rushing totals.


Total Yards 401 410
Passing 185 172
Yds. per Pass 6.9 6.9
Rushing 216 238
Yds. Per Rush 4.7 5.3
Turnovers 2 2
Time of Poss. 34:06 31:02
Sacks All. 0 0


Strangely, against a I-AA opponent, there was no difference between the Sly Croom offense and the Dan Mullen offense statistically. Yards per pass was identical, they got a half yard more per rush, committed the same number of turnovers, and lost a bit in time of possession. The Bulldogs' offense even ended up getting just four more points this year than last (seven of the 45 total were on an INT return).

Did the passing game improve its efficiency without Wesley Carroll? Well, no. Three quarterbacks combined to go 18 of 27 last year, and three quarterbacks combined to go 16 of 25 this year. The rushing among the top guys was better, with RB Robert Elliott going for 7.3 yards per rush and QB Chris Relf going for 6.8 yards per rush. It will probably be better when Anthony Dixon comes back from suspension.


Total Yards 174 204
Passing 115 132
Yds. per Pass 5.8 6.6
Rushing 59 72
Yds. Per Rush 2.7 2.3
Turnovers 1 5
Time of Poss. 25:54 28:58
Sacks For 5 (-26 yards) 2 (-10 yards)


Sylvester Croom's teams were always pretty good at defense, and his last one was pretty good at stopping Southeast Louisiana. Mullen's first team was also pretty good at stopping a I-AA team, slipping some in pass defense (though not by much) and hauling in an impressive five turnovers. Granted this isn't some kind of big achievement, but there's not any evidence to suggest yet that the defense is going to fall off because a spread offense has been installed. In other words, Mississippi State isn't a Big 12 team (I kid! I kid!).

I get that there's a lot of excitement over Dan Mullen in Starkville, but he didn't do a whole lot more in his I-AA game than Sylvester Croom did in his last year. Maybe things will look up soon, but the production hasn't changed a whole lot yet.

Previous Comparison: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Ole Miss.