By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal
STARKVILLE – Mississippi State polished off its spring work with an offensive flourish on Saturday.
The Bulldogs held their annual Maroon-White spring game at Davis Wade Stadium, and the approximately 21,000 in attendance were duly entertained by both offenses. The Maroon squad, led by walk-on quarterback Sam Cowart, came away with a 38-28 win.
“I know our fans, they’d be a lot happier fans seeing points,” head coach Dan Mullen said. “They like to see points on the board in spring games. Zero-zero wouldn’t fit them too well today.”
The offense, which has had slow starts in some previous scrimmages, got going early on Saturday. Tyler Russell directed the White team on a six-play, 65-yard touchdown drive on the opening possession, and he capped it with a 10-yard pass to tight end Brandon Hill, who had two touchdowns on the day.
Russell played only one half, completing 13 of 24 passes for 179 yards, two TDs and no interceptions.
“I think I did well,” Russell said. “There’s some things I could’ve worked on harder, like some throws, back shoulder, I led some guys out of bounds.”
Cowart hit Jeremey Chappelle for a 55-yard touchdown with 1:55 left in the first half to give the Maroon team a 17-14 lead at the break. Cowart finished 23 of 33 for 235 yards, a touchdown and an interception.
The Maroon team’s run game was led by Brandon Holloway, who had 128 yards and two touchdowns, and Derrick Milton, who gained 99 yards with two scores.
Josh Robinson rushed for 75 yards to pace the White rushing attack.
Defensive coordinator Geoff Collins, who was coaching the Maroon squad, was happy to get the win but wasn’t keen on seeing so much offense.
“So it was a little bittersweet for me being on the winning team,” Collins said. “Seeing the defense getting scored on, I never like to see that.”
Safety Jay Hughes came up with the lone turnover of the game, an interception of Cowart. Walk-on DeAndre Ward had 14 tackles for the Whites, while Beniquez Brown had six for the Maroons.
The spring game didn’t have any complicated schemes, and it was a chance for younger players to get some good snaps.
“A lot of guys, this is their first opportunity to get out here in front of a big crowd in our stadium,” Mullen said. “It’s a little bit more pressure.”