Cousins Sharp In MSU Spring Game
April 30, 2011
EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Trick plays, weird formations and a ringer from the basketball team were no match for the smooth efficiency of Kirk Cousins.
Cousins went 22 of 29 for 285 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Green team to a 24-10 win over the White team in Michigan State's spring game Saturday. The White team pulled out all the stops -- even lining basketball player Draymond Green up at wide receiver at one point -- but Cousins was too sharp. His team never trailed.
"I didn't have good scrimmages earlier this spring. I've never played well in scrimmages, period, for whatever reason," said Cousins, the soon-to-be senior who led the Spartans to a share of the Big Ten title last season.
"It was good to get out here in a game-type setting and play well."
Of course, this was only so much of a game-type setting, with shortened quarters and kick returns halted before too much contact.
Back-up quarterback Andrew Maxwell went 9 of 21 for 120 yards for the White team, including a 38-yard touchdown pass to Keshawn Martin in the fourth quarter. Martin also lined up in the shotgun and took an occasional snap himself, part of a gadget-filled game plan that had mixed results.
At one point, Maxwell was out wide before taking a pitch and throwing a pass, although that play was called back for a penalty. There was also an odd, unbalanced formation that included only one lineman to the left of the center and five to his right.
In the second half, Maxwell lined up at receiver and ran a deep route over the middle, but Martin's pass was broken up.
"When you get the ball in Keshawn's hands, good things happen," said offensive line coach Mark Staten, who coached the White team. "That throw to Maxwell, we actually put that in a minute before he went out there for that exact play, so that wasn't something that we've been majoring in."
In the third quarter, Green lined up at tight end for the White team and jumped for a false start. The 6-foot-7 basketball player moved out wide for the next play. Maxwell's short pass sailed over his head, but defensive back Johnny Adams, who is 8 inches shorter, held Green for a penalty.
Coach Mark Dantonio said Green came to practice Thursday and caught some passes in preparation for his cameo appearance.
"We got him in a couple plays," said Dantonio, who wasn't affiliated with either team for the scrimmage. "He just asked that he not be tackled."
Tight end Dion Sims caught touchdown passes of 2 and 42 yards from Cousins.
"I know our coaches have oftentimes thought about playing him at left tackle if he was willing to do it, because he's just so smooth and so athletic and so big," Cousins said. "He wants to be a tight end, and he absolutely has the hands and the mobility to do that as well."
Arthur Ray Jr., an offensive lineman for the White team who was treated for cancer in his left leg four years ago, was on the field for a couple plays early in the fourth quarter and received a nice ovation has he headed back to the sideline. Ray underwent chemotherapy shortly after signing with the Spartans in 2007, and a subsequent infection postponed his comeback until now.
"He's a tremendous young man. We didn't want to put too much on him out there -- we didn't want to get him mixed up in the middle," Staten said. "He's had a couple live snaps in the spring so far -- controlled for the most part. It was good to just get him out there. He's an inspiration to anybody that walks, that breathes, that talks, because of what he's come back from."
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