November 29, 2009 12:23:00 AM
Danny P Smith -
STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State football coach Dan Mullen couldn''t leave Davis Wade Stadium on Saturday afternoon without getting a microphone to address the crowd one more time this season.
Mullen wanted to express his appreciation to the fans for helping set attendance records and energizing the football team this season.
Even though the Bulldogs were only 2-5 at home this season, they closed their home schedule with a 41-27 victory against No. 20 University of Mississippi.
"I just wanted to thank them for the support they''ve showed this program," Mullen said. "This program is certainly on the rise, I can tell you that much, maybe to the contrary to what other people are saying in this state. I know one program that''s certainly on the rise and that''s right here in Starkville."
The crowd of 55,365 was the fourth largest crowd all-time for Davis Wade Stadium. The season attendance total of 376,574 breaks the MSU record of 306,545 set in 2004 by nearly 70,000.
The average of 53,792 is also best in school history, surpassing the previous record set in 2007 by more than 4,000 per game.
Despite rainy conditions that could have kept fans away from some early games, MSU Athletic Director Greg Byrne said they remained faithful.
"The fanbase has been with us every single week," Byrne said. "They''ve been proud and it has gotten everybody''s attention in the league. They see Davis Wade Stadium as a very challenging place to play. It''s because of the great job coach Mullen and his staff are doing and because of the great job our fans are doing. We just need to continue to build that year in and year out. We''re going to be something to be reckoned with long term."
Dixon adds mark
Senior running back Anthony Dixon already owned the career and single-game rushing records at MSU.
He added the single-season mark to his resume Saturday.
Dixon rushed for 133 yards on 29 carries and finished with 1,391 yards for the season. That broke the record that James Johnson set in 1998 with 1,383 yards.
The season total is also good enough to lead the Southeastern Conference. Mullen has a hard time figuring out why Dixon isn''t mentioned for some national awards.
"He''s leading the SEC on a team that plays the toughest schedule in the country, and it''s special for him to leave a winner," Mullen said. "I''m really proud of everything he''s done at Mississippi State, and I know he''ll have a great football career ahead of him."
It was the eighth time this season Dixon has rushed for more than 100 yards in a game, and 17th time in his career.
Dixon also finishes his career as the Bulldogs'' all-time leader in all-purpose yards (4,443), rushing yardage (3,994), attempts (910), and rushing touchdowns (42). He moved into sole possession of seventh place all-time in the SEC in rushing touchdowns.
With Dixon and the 131-yard rushing performance from sophomore quarterback Chris Relf, it was the first time two Bulldogs had more than 100 yards rushing in the same game since Jerious Norwood (165) and Fred Reid (109) did it against Kentucky in 2004.
The last MSU quarterback to rush for more than 100 yards was Wayne Madkin (104) against Brigham Young in 2000.
Lee''s stats accurate
Senior quarterback Tyson Lee, of Columbus, ends his MSU career as the all-time leader in completion percentage (283 of 481 for 59 percent).
Lee''s 481 pass attempts are ninth in Bulldog history. His 283 completions rank eighth all-time.
Scoring was up
MSU scored 307 points this season, the most the offense has put up since getting 347 during the 2000 season.
The 41-point effort against Ole Miss was the most the Bulldogs have gotten against their rival since 1917 when they won 41-14.
Among the recruits attending the Egg Bowl was quarterback Cam Newton, of Blinn Junior College in Texas.
Newton, who is also considering Tennessee and Florida, was seen on the sideline with cowbell in hand.