The Mississippi State Bulldogs have completed a third of the 2010 season. Our record is 2-2 (1-2 in SEC), but as a team how are we really doing compared to last year? At this point last year our record was also 2-2 (1-2 in SEC). Considering the offense has almost always been our weak point, I tend to believe that is what most Bulldog fans wonder about. How do our passing and rushing stats stack up against where we were after four games last year?
Keeping in mind that we had a monster named Anthony Dixon as our workhorse last year, it's not a real big surprise that last years net rushing yards are ahead of this years. In 2009 at this point the Bulldogs had already racked up 816 yards in net rushing. After Saturday nights game against Georgia, so far we've gotten 632 yards net rushing. Once again keeping Anthony Dixon in mind, you would think that we probably have less rushing TD's this year than we'd had at this point last year. If you believe that, you're mistaken. We've already had 6 rushing TD's so far in 2010, exactly the same number we had after four games last year.
Tyson Lee and Chris Relf shared quarterback duties last year and by the end of that heartbreaking loss to LSU they'd put up 606 yards through the air (the bulk of that coming in that LSU game). It's nice to see that so far in 2010 we've improved on net passing yards. Between Chris Relf and Tyler Russell, the Bulldogs have already posted 765 net passing yards. Together they've thrown 7 TD passes as opposed to 5 TD passes after four games last year. One ugly spot in regards to passing is interceptions. So far Relf and Russell have already thrown eight between them. Last year at this point Lee and Relf had only thrown five picks. If you're concerned about fumbles, the news is sort of bittersweet. We've already fumbled the ball eight times this year as opposed to seven by the fourth game last year. However, the good news is out of the eight fumbles this year, only one of them resulted in a turnover. In 2009 the Bulldogs had already lost four fumbles.
Coach Dan Mullen seems to have a more disciplined team in 2010 than he had in 2009. This year the Bulldogs have received 14 yellow hankies for a total of 125 yards. At this time last year it was already double that number with 25 penalties for 291 yards.
What does all of this information mean? For me, I see a lot of improvement. We're still taking steps toward our goal of becoming one of the elite teams in the SEC. Mississippi State could very easily be 3-1 right now had it not been for a number of dropped passes in the Auburn game (one of them being an easy pick six by Corey Broomfield).
Of course the fans share some responsibility of making Davis Wade a difficult place for a visiting team to play. The average attendance at this point last year in Starkville: 53922. The average attendance so far in 2010: 55853. That's a great stat we need to keep going when Alcorn comes to visit this Saturday.