LEXINGTON, Ky. – Anthony Dixon keeps pouring himself out, filling back up, and doing it all over again.
It’s his senior season at Mississippi State, and boy, is he making the most of it. In Saturday’s 31-24 comeback win at Kentucky, he broke Jerious Norwood’s single-game school rushing record, gaining 252 yards on a career-high 33 carries.
That happened two weeks after he broke Norwood’s career rushing yards mark.
Dixon also surpassed 1,000 yards for the season, the second time he’s hit that milestone. He now has 1,001 yards on 182 attempts for a 5.5-yard average.
That’s all great, but Dixon’s big concern is not records or stats. It’s getting the Bulldogs (4-5, 2-3 SEC) back to a bowl game.
“That’s my No. 1 thing that’s on the top of the list of goals this year. We inched a little bit closer to that, for that reason I’m happy,” he said. “I want get as many yards as it takes for us to get the ‘W.’”
It was also sweet for Dixon to finally have a big day against Kentucky. The first three times he faced the Wildcats’ defense, he gained a grand total of 137 yards on 50 carries – that’s 2.74 yards a carry.
He averaged 7.64 on Saturday, and he didn’t fumble. He put it on the ground three times in his last visit to Commonwealth Stadium in 2007.
“I don’t think he said anything about it,” center J.C. Brignone said. “He was pretty focused this week. I think that showed in how he played this week and came out and ran the ball.”
Dixon, who scored on runs of 1 and 3 yards, had 116 yards by halftime. He’s now got six 100-yard games this season and 15 for his career.
‘An awesome thing’
“When you’ve got a running back like Anthony Dixon, and you know every time you block somebody he’s probably going to get three of four yards, and sometimes take it for 60, that’s an awesome thing,” Brignone said.
Dixon was held to 53 yards by Florida the week before, breaking a string of five consecutive 100-yard games. This season means too much for him to let one tough game hold him back.
“I’m pouring all I’ve got into it,” Dixon said. “I don’t really care about none of the he say/she say or the eyes we’ve got against us. I’m rallying the troops, and I’m telling them we can do this. Don’t listen to anybody telling us we can’t.”
It was apparent early on that Dixon would need to carry the load. Arnil Stallworth was slowed by a knee injury, and then Christian Ducré hurt his knee in the third quarter, and no other backs stepped up.
“When those two both went down, we were kind of limited,” coach Dan Mullen said. “We’re built so much on our senior tailbacks. Those two dropped, and Anthony really stepped up and made a bunch of plays.”
When linebacker Jamar Chaney was on the sideline watching Dixon’s big night unfold, he had but one thought: “Keep giving it to him.”
Expect that to be a refrain for the rest of this season.
Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal