Darius Slay is making a push to crack the starting lineup, and if Friday's 120-play scrimmage is any indication, he'll give his fellow seniors a run for their money.
The former Itawamba Community College standout intercepted starting quarterback Tyler Russell three times to lead a strong defensive effort at Davis Wade Stadium. In 27 possessions, the first- and second-team offenses managed only four touchdowns and a field goal.
Russell was 16 of 33 for 310 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions, while Dak Prescott was 13 of 27 for 154 yards and a pick.
"I know Tyler, because I've been playing with him for a long time," said Slay. "So I know what he's looking for and how he throws the ball."
It's more than just his knowledge of Russell that allowed Slay to have a big night. Russell said Slay, like Banks, is good at "sitting in between, (and) you can't really tell if he's going to come up on the fake or not."
Defensive coordinator Chris Wilson said whoever grades out the best will start at corner, and right now Slay is grading pretty high.
"He's really in his element when he can reach up there and play some man and get close to receivers," Wilson said. "He's also a really good tackler. So he's really making a push to be a starter at that position, which is really what you want. You really want to create some depth and competition at that level."
The defense recorded seven sacks and forced five turnovers, with Taveze Calhoun scooping up a Chad Bumphis fumble and returning it 41 yards for a touchdown. Ends Denico Autry and Shane McCardell, who are battling each other for a starting job, both made life tough for the QBs.
Wilson didn't have his troops doing anything too complicated; they just executed well.
"The packages allow you to be simple, because you're able to create matchups," he said. "So you don't have to be so exotic when you're matching personnel with personnel."
The offense actually started well, with the first unit scoring on its first two possessions. Russell hit tight end Malcolm Johnson for a 27-yard TD pass, and Josh Robinson scored on a 2-yard run.
Johnson finished with 110 yards on five catches. His 42-yard grab set up Robinson's score.
"It was just me and Tyler on the same page, and we were clicking as a team, coming out and clicking," Johnson said. "We were playing off adrenaline. The defense beat us last scrimmage, and we had a lot of emotion coming in."
Redshirt freshman receiver Joe Morrow had an 83-yard touchdown. He made a one-handed grab of Russell's throw, shook off Broomfield at the 40, and outran everybody.
Morrow had three catches for 103 yards, while Bumphis had five for 80.
LaDarius Perkins rushed for 60 yards on 10 carries. Derrick Milton scored on a tackle-breaking 16-yard run for the second team.
MSU was without head coach Dan Mullen, who was with his wife as she gave birth Friday to a daughter, the couple's second child.
"We do what he always coaches us to do," Wilson said. "We just do our job."
MSU's Maroon-White spring game is a week from today.