As the Mississippi State Bulldogs prepare for the 2013 season, there are many question marks about how the team will do this year. Just last season, MSU was off to a 7-0 start and appeared to be in contention for the Southeastern Conference title. But hard times fell on the Bulldogs, as they limped home with a 7-6 record.
One bright spot for the Bulldogs last season was running back LaDarius Perkins. As a junior in 2012, Perkins became just the ninth player in MSU history to rush for 1,000 yards or more. For the season, Perkins rushed 205 times for 1,024 yards with eight touchdowns.
Perkins enters the 2013 season as the 12th-leading rusher in MSU history. He needs only 145 yards to break into the top 10 on that list. He figures to get a lot of carries this season, especially if MSU is able to achieve the balance that head coach Dan Mullen would like to have on offense.
In fact, Perkins could be the key player for MSU this fall. If he can be a consistent threat out of the backfield, things could really open up for Mullen and his offense. And that could be very important because senior quarterback Tyler Russell returns for his senior season as well. The combination of Perkins and Russell could make it tough on MSU opponents.
While it is nearly always important for a team to have a strong running back, that seems to especially be the case for the 2013 Mississippi State Bulldogs. And if they are going to have a strong running game, Perkins will almost assuredly be the man carrying the load.