GAINESVILLE, Fla. — During Dan Mullen’s nine-year tenure at Mississippi State, he compiled a 69-46 record and reached the eight-win mark five times.
But not all wins are created equal.
Here’s a closer look at how Mullen fared in key situational games during his tenure at Mississippi State.
Mullen was 7-2 in season openers during his stint in Starkville. The two losses came against No. 13 Oklahoma State in Houston as part of the Texas kickoff in 2013 (21-3), and there was a surprising 21-20 loss to South Alabama to open the 2016 season. The seven wins came by an average of 40.7 points.
However, take note that those seven wins came against the likes of Jackson State (twice), Memphis (twice), Southern Miss (twice) and Charleston Southern.
Mullen and Mississippi State went 7-34 against ranked opponents. No matter how you shake it, that’s a rough number. However, there are a few caveats to point out with this one:
- Nine of those losses were to Alabama.
- Eight of those losses came during his first two seasons while Mullen was still rebuilding the program.
- Ten of those losses were decided by eight points or fewer.
- Mississippi State was the lower-ranked team in all but five of those 41 matchups.
While Mullen struggled against premier competition at Mississippi State, that doesn’t necessarily mean he won’t be able to turn around that number at Florida. During his four years as the Gators offensive coordinator from 2005-08, Florida boasted a 17-5 record against ranked opponents, including five top-5 wins.
Mullen went 5-4 in the Egg Bowl, Mississippi State’s annual regular-season rivalry game against Ole Miss. The Bulldogs’ 55-20 win in 2016 was Mississippi State’s largest margin of victory in the rivalry since 1916.
After inheriting a team in 2009 that had made just two bowl games since the turn of the century, Mullen had Mississippi State bowl eligible in each of his final eight seasons. The Bulldogs went 5-2 in the first seven bowls in that stretch (the Mullen-less Bulldogs play in the TaxSlayer Bowl on Dec. 30). The two losses came against No. 20 Northwestern in the Gator Bowl following the 2012 season and to No. 9 Georgia Tech in the Orange Bowl following the breakout 2014 season.