The final score of MSU's annual Maroon-White spring game was 23-20 in favor of the Maroon, but more notable than that was seeing some younger players do some nice things under pressure - in particular Dylan Favre.
The redshirt freshman quarterback directed an eight-play, 59-yard game-winning drive that was capped by Sylvester Hemphill's 1-yard touchdown run with just over a minute remaining. The drive came moments after Favre had thrown an interception.
"It was great to see it come down to that situation. Dylan had them, they drove down," coach Dan Mullen said. "I told them, 'You're going to get one more opportunity, that's about it,' and they took advantage of it."
Relf, the No. 1 quarterback, played the first three series for the Maroon before giving way to Favre, who finished 17 of 26 passing for 199 yards and had a 24-yard touchdown pass to Robert Johnson. Favre added a team-high 41 yards rushing.
"I didn't throw the ball as well as I would've liked," Favre said. "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."
Saturday's performance is something the 5-foot-10 Favre can build on over the summer as he battles sophomore Tyler Russell for the No. 2 QB spot. Favre said he's learning all the time what it takes to play in the SEC.
"In high school, I played with a mentality that I want to score a touchdown every time I touch the ball," he said. "And that doesn't work here in the SEC. You've got to take what the defense gives you, check the ball down if something's not there, even if it's third-and-long, we don't necessarily have to get a first down."
As for Russell, it wasn't his best day: He was 15 of 26 for 210 yards, a TD and an interception. He had a pair of 37-yard strikes to Ricco Sanders, and he hit Malcolm Johnson for a 14-yard touchdown in the second quarter, capping a four-play, 65-yard drive.
Russell faced a lot of pressure early, particularly from defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, who had two tackles and a sack. The Maroon defensive front was stacked with Cox, Josh Boyd and Sean Ferguson, and the group gave the White offensive line a bit of trouble.
"They're experienced veteran players, they should dominate against people - unless they're going against the ones, they should dominate," Mullen said.
Relf was 4 of 8 for 68 yards. Ballard, the Bulldogs' top rusher last year, had 22 rushing yards for the Maroon, while Robert Johnson, a redshirt freshman, made seven catches for 74 yards and a TD.
For the White, Sanders had four catches for 96 yards, while Chad Bumphis made six grabs for 48 yards. Adrian Marcus led the rushing attack with 33 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries.
Senior kicker Derek DePasquale hit two field goals, of 54 and 47 yards, for the White, and Mullen had praise for the entire special teams unit.
MSU isn't done with its spring work just yet. It will hold a closed practice Monday to address some fundamentals and individual work.
As the spring period comes to a close, Mullen feels good about the progress the team has made since a 52-14 win over Michigan in the Gator Bowl.
"We have got to pick up right where we left off in the summer," the third-year coach said. "We can't take a step back when we show up here Aug. 4, we have to be right where we are today, if not even better."
Contact Brad Locke at 678-1571