The defense ruled again today in MSU’s second scrimmage of the spring. The Bulldogs played under the sun at Davis Wade Stadium for what counts as the 11th spring practice, and the defense started strong, just as it did last week.
There were six turnovers, including four Tyler Russell interceptions, and had quarterbacks been allowed to get hit, there would have been many sacks. The front line, in particular the ends, spent a lot of time in the backfield. The linebackers made several athletic plays, especially redshirt freshman Beniquez Brown, who intercepted two Russell passes, taking the second one back 28 yards for a touchdown.
Brown, who had nine tackles in last week’s scrimmage, had (unofficially) five today, and he got significant work with the first team due to Deontae Skinner being out (he was wearing a boot on his left foot today). Other defensive standouts included end Denico Autry (three tackles, one sack and several other would-be sacks), cornerback Justin Cox (five tackles, fumble recovery, interception), linebacker Matt Wells (five tackles, a sack), and safety Kendrick Market (seven tackles).
Just as it did last week, the offense started slowly. The first team had three three-and-outs, including an interception, a touchdown and a missed field goal on its first four possessions. The second unit had two three-and-outs, a lost fumble and a TD in its first four series.
And unlike last week, the defense didn’t have a letdown after halftime. Brown intercepted Russell on the first possession of the second half, and then Cox recovered a fumble. Russell finally found a bit of a rhythm, hitting Joe Morrow for touchdown passes on back-to-back drives. But he was picked off by Cox on the first unit’s final series.
Russell finished 21 of 39 for 258 yards, four TDs and four interceptions. As for the running game, starter LaDarius Perkins and top backup Josh Robinson were both out with injury, so that meant lots of snaps for Derrick Milton (19 carries, 73 yards), Brandon Holloway (17 for 83) and walk-on Kasey Akins (12 for 78).
Tight end Malcolm Johnson made eight catches for 131 yards, while Robert Johnson had seven for 109 and a TD.