Mississippi State's offense revolves around Dak Prescott, and much of the Bulldogs' success will depend on how well the Heisman candidate signal caller performs in 2015. However, in 2014, Josh Robinson played an important role in the success of Mississippi State as well, and one of the challenges the Bulldogs have to figure out is how to replace their 1200 yard rusher from last season.
With Robinson gone and a new crop of running backs vying to be the man in Starkville, the question is: Will Dak Prescott lead Mississippi State in rushing yards this year?
One of the first reasons to buy this idea is that Dan Mullen may employ a running back by committee approach early in the season as he waits for one player to separate himself from the pack. If Mullen does this through a few games, Prescott may build up a lead that none of the other players can catch.
In addition to having a still to be sorted backfield, Mullen may decide that he trusts his senior quarterback to carry the ball more than the other players early and in clutch situations. If Mullen decides that, Prescott may end up snagging an extra 50 or 100 yards that could have gone to a different back and lead the team in rushing.
First of all, the system is rigged against a quarterback leading a team in rushing. No other ball carrier will suffer the number of negative rushing plays that a quarterback does because of the simple fact that sacks go against rushing yardage. Look at last season's numbers. Prescott lost 139 yards on the ground; Robinson lost 35. Eating sacks will make it nearly impossible for Prescott to lead the team in rushing, and that is before taking what Mississippi State will want to do on offense into consideration.
If Mississippi State is going to replicate its success from 2014, much of it will hinge on Prescott's improvement as a passer. Yes, he is a threat as a runner, but the Bulldogs need him to be a dangerous passer to reach the ultimate success. Prescott will through more this season, and with that, his rushing numbers will go down.
Finally, many people talk about a platoon system at the running back spot, but Mullen has not really done too much platooning at the position during his time in Starkville. Look for Mullen to let one of these guys establish himself as the man and use the other backs in situations to maximize their effectiveness.
Final Call: I'm selling the idea. Yes, Prescott will pile up yards on the ground. He may even rush for 1000 yards, but he still will not take the Mississippi State rushing crown this year.