April 20, 2013
EAST LANSING, Mich. - The White defeated the Green, 24-17, in the annual spring game at Spartan Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
"I thought it was competitive game," said Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio. "I think our guys come to play and compete and have fun with it. We split it up. We don't make it `ones' versus everyone else, so it does get split up."
But the difference in the game was turnovers.
With the White trailing 3-0 late in the second quarter, sophomore safety Chris Laneaux picked off a Tyler O'Connor pass and ran it back 25 yards for a touchdown at the 3:00 mark. Just over one minute later, senior linebacker Kyler Elsworth returned a fumble 41 yards for a score, quickly putting the White on top, 14-3.
"I think what you saw is how important turnovers are and how they can cut into plays on one side, in terms of the White team, and the number of plays that you have," said Dantonio. "When you return two turnovers for a touchdown, that's like a yahtzee deal. Your plays are going to be limited, but at the same time you get 14 points."
The Green responded with a five-play, 75-yard drive before the end of the half, as Cook found Arnett in the end zone for a 22-yard touchdown, cutting its deficit to 14-10.
In the third quarter, Nick Hill finished off a seven-play, 64-yard drive with a 7-yard TD run, giving the Green a 17-14 advantage.
The White tied the game at 17 on Kevin Muma's 30-yard field goal with 6:11 left in the fourth quarter.
After the White forced a three-and-out on the next series for the Green, Maxwell found Troup on the next play for the White, a 46-yard completion for a touchdown with 4:34 left in the game.
"At halftime, we were able to regroup ourselves; I was able to regroup myself," said Maxwell, who finished the game 9-of-20 passing for 110 yards. "The way we finished is what we're working for, what we hope to have all game. We had that drive that ended in the field goal and then obviously when (AJ) Troup took the hitch to the end zone, that's obviously a huge play and something that we needed. So we finished well and that's what we're proud of."
In the final minutes, the Green drove all the way down to the White 22-yard line, but the White defense forced three straight incompletions. Denzel Drone sealed the victory for the White by sacking Cook for a 20-yard loss on fourth down.
Playing for both teams, O'Connor finished 3-of-7 passing for 59 yards and two interceptions.
Red-shirt freshman Riley Bullough led all running backs with 11 carries for 46 yards. Bullough was a tailback for the Green and also played middle linebacker for the White. For the White, red-shirt freshman Nick Tompkins rushed for 43 yards on just four carries (10.8 avg.), including a game-high 30-yarder, while junior Jeremy Langford collected 31 yards on 10 attempts.
Sophomore Aaron Burbridge paced the wideouts with five catches for 113 yards for the Green. Senior Bennie Fowler hauled in four receptions for 84 yards for the Green, including a 63-yard pass from Cook in the second quarter that set up Arnett's touchdown catch before the half.
Senior Keith Mumphery led the White with five receptions for 40 yards.
"We had some guys make some big plays," said Dantonio. "(DeAnthony) Arnett got involved and made some big plays; I was happy to see that. (Bennie) Fowler from what I saw and (Aaron) Burbridge made some big plays as well. So those three receivers on the Green side did really well. I thought Riley Bulluogh did a nice job running with the ball. We threw some things in there from an offensive play calling stand point that were nice to see."
Defensively, White team linebacker Taiwan Jones tallied a game-high 11 tackles, including 1.5 for losses (3 yards). Drone posted 2.5 tackles for loss (32 yards), including two sacks (31 yards). Red-shirt freshman cornerback Ezra Robinson also recorded an interception.
"I wanted to see the guys play hard; I didn't want to see the guys tag off on people too much," Dantonio said. "I wanted to see guys play through the whistle and I think we saw that. I wanted to see guys play smart and keep our quarterbacks safe. But what you saw was active. There were a couple of guys take a couple of hits...I wanted them to have fun and I think they did that."