STARKVILLE — Mississippi State played Jackson State without senior running back Anthony Dixon on Saturday.
Dixon served a one-game suspension as part of discipline for his arrest on a driving under the influence charge in July. He pled guilty in August to avoid a court date.
After not saying anything about his plans throughout the week, MSU coach Dan Mullen told the team Saturday morning Dixon wouldn”t play.
Team spokesman Joe Galbraith made the announcement two hours prior to the kickoff.
In addition to missing the game, Dixon has been enrolled in counseling. He will remain on probation the rest of the season, but will be allowed to play at Auburn.
Mullen gave a statement on Dixon before beginning his postgame press conference.
“Over the last few weeks, Anthony has done everything our team has asked of him to work his way back onto the field,” Mullen said. “We look forward to having him back next week and will be playing for us at Auburn. That should close out his situation and won”t comment any more on Anthony Dixon.”
Dixon dressed out for the season opener, but didn”t participate.
He was supporting and visiting with teammates on the sideline and seemed to be in a good mood.
At one point during the second half, Dixon appeared to be laughing and joking with junior deep snapper Aaron Feld.
The Bulldogs ended a three-game losing streak in season openers.
After dropping a 15-0 decision to South Carolina in 2006, a 45-0 loss to LSU in 2007, and a 22-14 defeat to Louisiana Tech last season, MSU rebounded in a big way Saturday.
“Anytime you win a game, no matter who you play against, it”s good to put it in the win column,” senior linebacker Jamar Chaney said. “It”s hard to win in Division I football.”
Mullen continues streak.
By getting a win to open his coaching career, Mullen became the fourth straight coach to get a victory in their debut with the Bulldogs.
“It”s an honor in your first game as a head football coach to walk away with a win, and I”m really happy and will be forever indebted to this team for giving me that great honor,” Mullen said.
Mullen follows Rockey Felker, who won his first game at Syracuse 24-17 in 1986, Jackie Sherrill”s first game was a 47-3 victory against Tulane in 199, and Sylvester Croom won his first game at MSU 28-7 against Tulane.
Delay for Dan
The start of the Mullen era was put on hold for 30 minutes due to a weather delay caused by lightning in the Starkville area.
Both teams had already run onto the field, but the officials sent everyone back to the locker room with lighting three miles from the stadium.
Despite the distraction, Mullen said his staff did a good job of keeping everyone together and focused.
“We relaxed for a couple of minutes,” Mullen said. “We got up and did a little stretch routine in the locker room just to stay loose.”
Freshmen see action
Eight scholarship freshmen played in MSU”s first game.
Freshman wide receiver Chad Bumphis and redshirt freshman fullback Sylvester Hemphill started.
Dampier donates money
Former MSU basketball player Erick Dampier was recognized during one of the timeouts for donating $500,000 to the new basketball practice facility now under construction.
Dampier, who plays professionally with the Dallas Mavericks, was a member of the 1996 Bulldogs squad that advanced to the NCAA Final Four.