Aug. 18, 2012
EAST LANSING, Mich. - Under sunny skies and temperatures in the upper-60s, the Michigan State football team held its second jersey scrimmage of preseason camp Saturday afternoon in Spartan Stadium. Utilizing a modified scoring system, the offense rallied to top the defense, 52-48, in a "situational" scrimmage.
Junior quarterback Andrew Maxwell completed 13-of-24 passes for 212 yards and one touchdown, while junior tight end Dion Sims had 10 receptions for 171 yards and a 12-yard TD grab to lead the offense. Senior Larry Caper and sophomore Nick Hill combined for 84 yards on the ground.
Red-shirt freshman cornerback Arjen Colquhoun, freshman linebacker Jamal Lyles and junior linebacker TyQuan Hammock each collected a team-high seven tackles. Junior cornerback Darqueze Dennard tallied six tackles and two pass break-ups, and freshman cornerback Ezra Robinson added five tackles, including a team-best three for losses (12 yards) and a 7-yard sack.
The defense, which won the first scrimmage last Sunday, 74-54, picked up right where it left off by jumping out to an 11-1 lead after only allowing one first down in the first four series, capped by a Mitchell White blocked field goal.
The offense bounced back to take a 21-14 lead following a 12-play, 68-yard drive that was finished by a 1-yard Caper touchdown run. Maxwell was 4-of-5 passing for 34 yards on the drive, and an 18-yard run by Hill to the 1-yard line set up Caper's score.
The back-and-forth scoring continued all the way until the final plays of the competitive scrimmage.
The offense regained the lead, 29-26, following a Dan Conroy 21-yard field goal that capped an 11-play, 56-yard drive. A 30-yard completion from Maxwell to Sims on third-and-10 from the offense's 40-yard line jumpstarted the drive, which also featured 26 rushing yards from Caper.
Following the field goal, the defense posted two-straight series stops, including an interception by Mitchell White, to reclaim a 32-28 advantage.
The offense momentarily took the lead back at 34-33 after a 71-yard completion from Maxwell to Sims, but the defense didn't allow a first down over the next three series to go up 45-34, as each drive was stalled on a pass break-up. Overall, the defense collected eight PBUs, led by two from Dennard.
Trailing by 11 points, the offense rallied by taking advantage of its opportunities in the red zone, converting two-straight series for touchdowns. After scrambling on first-and-goal, Cook finally found Macgarrett Kings Jr. in the end zone for a 7-yard touchdown, while Maxwell hit Sims for a 12-yard TD three plays later to take a 49-45 lead.
The defense trimmed the lead to one point at 49-48 after forcing four consecutive incompletions from Cook, setting up the scrimmage's final drive.
With the first-team offense taking on the first-team defense, Maxwell sealed the game by guiding his team on a 7-play, 51-yard drive, setting up Conroy's 29-yard field goal on the final play of the afternoon to make the final 52-48 in favor of the offense. Maxwell was 3-of-4 passing for 46 yards on the drive, including a 23-yard completion to Bennie Fowler and an 18-yard strike to Sims.
Michigan State will resume preseason camp with team meetings on Sunday.
SPARTANS RANKED 13TH IN PRESEASON ASSOCIATED PRESS POLL: Michigan State is ranked 13th in The Associated Press Preseason Poll, which was released Saturday morning. The Spartans are also ranked 13th in the USA TODAY Coaches Poll. This marks the highest preseason ranking for the Spartans in the AP Poll since 1979, when they were ranked No. 10. MSU started last season ranked No. 17 in the AP Poll and finished at No. 11.
Second Preseason Scrimmage Recap
Time elapsed: 2:23 (147 total plays)
Rushing: Larry Caper 18-49 and one touchdown (1 yard).
Passing: Andrew Maxwell 13-of-24 for 212 yards and one touchdown (12 yards to Dion Sims); Connor Cook 12-of-27 for 145 yards, one touchdown (7 yards to Macgarrett Kings Jr.) and two interceptions; Tyler O'Connor 6-of-11 for 70 yards.
Defense (solo-assists-total): Arjen Colquhoun 5-2-7; Jamal Lyles 4-3-7 including a half tackle for loss; TyQuan Hammock 4-3-7; Darqueze Dennard 5-1-6 including a half tackle for loss and two pass break-ups; Ezra Robinson 5-0-5 including 3.0 tackles for loss (12 yards) and a 7-yard sack; Max Bullough 1-2-3 including 1.5 tackles for loss (8 yards), a 7-yard sack and a fumble recovery; Mitchell White with a 3-yard interception; Tyler Hoover with a 4-yard interception and a pass break-up.
"The guys played with great emotion on both sides of the football. The defense started fast, but the offense closed well. We played a lot of guys today, especially on defense. We're so deep that we were able to hold some guys out and limit some other guys' reps, and that's a good sign. There were a lot of positives because guys made plays on both side of the football and they all played fast.
"It was a competitive scrimmage, so I didn't have to tweak the scoring and it helps build excitement. You can't ask for a closer scrimmage because the outcome came down to the final two-minute drive. The offense had to convert a third-and-10 to keep that final drive alive and set up the field goal on the final play.
"Andrew Maxwell and Dion Sims really impressed today. They connected for some exciting plays. Andrew looked extremely sharp and made some great throws. Dion is a big-play receiver, and he was very consistent today. Other guys made plays too. We held Le'Veon Bell out, but Larry Caper and Nick Hill both made some guys miss and got vertical. Their yards per carry might not look great, but I really liked the way they ran with toughness.
"As pleased as I am with the way the scrimmage went, I'm equally excited about the new video boards in Spartan Stadium. Those video boards are cutting edge and add a whole new dimension to the stadium experience. These high-def video boards bring the action right to you - it's almost an interactive environment. It's going to be exciting for our fans and players alike. I congratulate our AD (Athletics Director Mark Hollis) and the entire marketing staff on a job well done.
"We're still in camp mode next week, so we'll focus on the task at hand while looking forward a little. Some guys need to transition into becoming scout team players while understanding their role is just as important as being a first- or second-team guy. We also need to expose our first-year players to what the game-week practices look like, so they can become acclimated. It's also important that our players get their legs back underneath them, so we'll begin to tail things off toward the end of the week. The start of classes is just around the corner, so their schedules will change dramatically very soon."
"We had a slow start. In our first series out of the box, we weren't completing many passes and we weren't running the ball very well. So we left ourselves in a lot of third-and-long (situations), and that's not where you want to be against our defense. It's a testament to our guys that they just kept playing and playing. We came back the next couple of series and moved the ball well. We were so successful on third down because we ran the ball well (on the early downs) and left ourselves in third-and-short (situations). If we can be effective in the run game like we expect to be, then that will help our offense tremendously.
"The 11- and 12-play drives give the offense momentum and help wear down the defense a little bit too. When an offense starts sensing that in a defense, it provides a little extra push to keep going and finish the drive. It's a testament to our conditioning that we can sustain those long drives while still playing with the toughness and tenacity that we did at the start of the drive.
"I only got sacked once or twice today, so our offensive line did a great job with our pass protection today. I tried to make sure that we had them called the right way, and man-to-man, those guys really held onto their assignments.
"Dion Sims is a key figure in our offense. When healthy, Dion can be a weapon for us. We've tried to get him the ball more during preseason camp. He can be a big factor in our offense because he can make plays down the field or take a short, dump pass, break a tackle and run after the catch.
"Today's scrimmage is really the last hurrah of preseason camp, in terms of the offense and defense competing against each other. We got a lot a lot of good work in on both sides of the ball these past two weeks. Next week, we start gearing up to Week 1. We have a lot of work to do in a short period of time, but I'm sure we'll be ready.
"The video boards are pretty awesome. They bring a different feel to the stadium. The clarity of the picture is amazing. The play clocks are in different places, but they'll help the quarterback because they're big and bright. So now there's really no excuse for taking a delay of game penalty. These video boards will definitely be a factor this year."