Offense Edges Defense, 32-30, in Green-White Spring Game
EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Utilizing a modified scoring system, the White (offense) defeated the Green (defense), 32-30, on Saturday afternoon for the Green-White spring game, presented by McLaren Health Plan, in Spartan Stadium. The game was played in chilly conditions, with temperatures in the 20s most of the day.
"I've got to watch the film and see how we played, but I thought everybody had an opportunity to play in the game and that's important all the time, that everybody gets an opportunity to show something," said MSU head coach Mark Dantonio. "The fan support was great. I appreciate the fans coming out. It was a good crowd. They got into it a little bit.
"The offense came back at the end, but I'm always going to make that game tight, try and put pressure on people to make a play at the end of the football game, so that's what we try to do."
The game went down to the wire, as the offense rallied for a late score to win, 32-30. Redshirt freshman quarterback Rocky Lombardi found Darrell Stewart in the back of the end zone for an 18-yard scoring strike with 11 seconds to play in the fourth quarter to cap the comeback.
Four quarterbacks saw action for the Spartans, including returning starter Brian Lewerke, who completed 7-of-12 passes for 82 yards and one touchdown. Lombardi was 10-of-22 for 135 yards and one TD, while early enrollee Theo Day was 5-of-10 for 52 yards. Mickey Macius also saw time under center, completing one pass for 32 yards.
"I thought Lewerke played very well at the beginning of the game," Dantonio said. "We pulled him out after a quarter and a half or so, but he was crisp. He was on target. He played very effectively."
Stewart had four catches for 69 yards, including two touchdowns. In addition to his game winner, he also hauled in a 30-yard TD from Lewerke at the end of the first half. Sophomore Cam Chambers led all receivers with five receptions for 50 yards.
On the ground, sophomore Alante Thomas led all rushers with nine carries for 73 yards, including a late 4-yard touchdown that cut the defense's lead to 24-23 late in the fourth quarter. Prior to his TD run, Thomas had a game-long 53-yard scamper that set up his score. On the ensuing two-point conversion, sophomore running back Connor Heyward passed the ball to Lombardi in the end zone as the offense took a 25-24 lead.
Heyward had 12 carries for 48 yards, including his own 6-yard TD in the second quarter for the offense's first points of the game.
Defensively, senior safety Khari Willis and senior linebacker Grayson Miller each had seven tackles, while senior safety Matt Morrissey and junior linebacker Brandon Randle had five stops apiece. Junior defensive tackle Mike Panasiuk recorded four tackles, including a sack.
Sophomore cornerback Josiah Scott picked off a Day pass in the third quarter that put the defense up, 21-14.
"There's very good carryover from last season -- there's a lot of confidence," said Dantonio, as the team returns 19 of 22 position starters. "That's always fun to coach people like that."
Earlier in the day, more than 700 kids attended this year's football youth clinic, held inside the Duffy Daugherty Football Building.
"They come in with so much energy," said Stewart at the clinic. "They're so happy to be here. It's a blessing to be able to affect someone so young. They're just coming out here to have fun and be excited. That's the best feeling for me, just seeing those smiles on their faces."
Michigan State concludes spring ball with its 15th practice on Tuesday.