The final score was Maroon 23, White 20, but as we all know, that’s not what’s important in an affair such as this. MSU set out to accomplish certain things and, on the whole, did that. A lot of younger players got in some good work, highlighted by a last-minute drive to clinch victory for the Maroon.
So first, let’s him the highlights of this glorified scrimmage, along with some stats.
• Starting QB Chris Relf played three series and then took the rest of the day off. He was 4 of 8 for 68 yards.
• Dylan Favre then took over, going 17 of 26 for 199 yards, one touchdown and one interception. The redshirt freshman led a game-winning drive of 59 yards that was capped by Sylvester Hemphill‘s 1-yard run with 1:19 on the clock.
• Tyler Russell played nearly every series as the White quarterback, going 15 of 26 for 210 yards, a TD and a pick. He had a pair of 37-yard strikes to Ricco Sanders, who finished with four catches for 96 yards.
• Hard to gauge the offensive line play, especially the way the Maroon defensive front was stacked with three starters. That meant a lot of pressure on Russell, and the Maroon team wound up with five sacks.
• Chad Bumphis had six catches for 48 yards for the White team. On the ground, fullback Adrian Marcus gained 33 yards on 10 carries. The main running backs – Vick Ballard for the Maroon, LaDarius Perkins for the White – saw only a little first-half action.
• Baker Swedenburg boomed a 63-yard punt, and Derek DePasquale nailed field goals from 54 and 47 yards, while Brian Egan hit a 47-yarder also.
<p>• Robert Johnson, a redshirt freshman, had a nice day with 74 yards on seven catches, and he hauled in a 24-yard TD pass from Favre. Brandon Heavens had five catches for 62 yards, while Brandon Hill made four grabs for 74 yards for the Maroon.
• Linebacker Deontae Skinner made a nice diving interception of Russell in the second half.
OK, let’s get to the quotes now, shall we?
Dan Mullen<===Click for video!
• On Relf’s limited work: “Came out and crisp, sharp, like he’s been all spring and looked really good. We didn’t need to see much. He’s played a lot of games in this stadium, and will play a bunch more next year, so we didn’t need to put him in the adverse situations.”
• On Russell’s struggles: “I think definitely early it did. And what happens as a quarterback, when you start getting hit early, now you start worrying about everything else out there on the field. But give him some credit, he did settle down at times, even after that he settled down and made some big plays.”
• On Favre’s outing: “For him to just be on this field and in this situation, because of the crowd we have and the atmosphere that it is, he’s had some live game reps without having to be a real game now. Hopefully that experience helps him going into next season.”
• On the team exiting the spring: “Our older guys have seen improvement, guys like Fletcher Cox, you want to see that. They’ve taken the next step, ready to become prime-time players. And the young players, I’m pleased. There should be a solid foundation of offense, defense and special teams going into the summer.”
• On his play: “I didn’t throw the ball as well as I would’ve liked. But with my height, I think my mobility and the ability I have to make plays with my feet, I think kind of compensates for it.”
• On his day: “The big thing today was I got to kick with Baker as the holder, and I’ve kicking with him in practice since I got here, because he’s a phenomenal holder. Hopefully Mullen’s starting to lean that way, if I can use him, maybe convince him to let me use him next season. Because I’ve been asking him two years now, but he likes the athletes at the holder position.”
• On the young guys getting playing time today: “There’s going to come a time where the young guys have got to play, and this right here is preparing them to play, a real-game situation.”
• On what he did well today: “A couple of throws I made were decent balls, and some things I did with my footwork were good. But I think just helping the young guys out and make sure they do the right play and make sure they get the ball out on time, so they don’t have to work as hard.”