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Pre-game Tuesday: Is this 2012 version the most balanced MSU offense under Dan Mullen? The stats say overwhelmingly yes.




Matt Stevens


STARKVILLE - After the 27-14 victory Saturday at the University of Kentucky, Mississippi State University head coach football coach Dan Mullen wasn't going to start his post-game media conference without one essential item: final statistics.  


While incredibly logical for numerous reasons, one of the main reasons for this delay is Mullen likes to look at one essential number in his mind: pass plays versus run plays.  


Once he got a final stats sheet at his table, Mullen had to be pleased with what he saw.  


Here's what No. 19 MSU (5-0, 2-0 in Southeastern Conference) was able to accomplish Saturday afternoon:  


39 pass attempts for 269 yards (6.9 yards per attempt, 11.7 yards per completion) 


39 run attempts for 158 yard (4.1 yards per attempt) 


"There 'ya go, we're balanced," Mullen said Saturday. "Jim (Ellis), on my radio show, we can talk about it. We were 23-of-3 with 39 run attempts, too. That's a pretty good balance." 


According to cfbstats.com, MSU is more balanced than its has been under Mullen with 185 run attempts and 151 pass attempts through five games this season. This includes a fourth quarter against Jackson State University where the Bulldogs didn't attempt a pass while up 49-9 and would eventually win 56-9.  


In 2011, MSU was as closest to the "50/50" scenario Mullen publicly professes he wants his program to have when they ran the ball approximately 59.5 percent of the time. Here's the breakdown of the run/pass plays throughout the first three season of MSU under Mullen.  


2011 - 513 run plays/349 pass plays (59.5% run/ 40.5% pass) 


2010 - 620 run plays/287 pass plays (68.3% run/ 31.6% pass) 


2009 - 553 run plays/265 pass plays (67.6% run/ 32.4% pass) 




Here's the numbers in 2012:  


185 run plays/151 pass plays (55.1% run/ 44.9% pass)  




Here's what Mullen had to say about the balance of his 2012 offense Monday:  




"So far, our two SEC games we've been pretty balanced across the board and that's the way you want to be," Mullen said. "I love to be 50-50. I'd love to be a 50-50 team that's hard to defend that way, and we can throw it and run it, and we're going to do both and take some shots down field and throw some stuff underneath and run it inside and run it outside." 




I'll have a feature on the topic in Wednesday's edition of The Dispatch with quotes from MSU players, MSU offensive coordinator Les Koenning and Tennessee head coach Derek Dooley. 




All of the Dispatch MSU Sports Blog readers: feel free to follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/matthewcstevens for up-to-date Mississippi State coverage.



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