Offense Defeats Defense in First Preseason Jersey Scrimmage, 47-30

Spartan quarterbacks combine to throw for six touchdowns.


EAST LANSING, Mich. – Led by a potent passing attack, the offense topped the defense, 47-30, in the first jersey scrimmage of preseason camp Saturday. The scrimmage, which utilized a modified scoring system, was 183 plays long (including special teams) and lasted three hours under partly cloudy skies and temperatures in the low-70s. The first half of the scrimmage was held at the John and Becky Duffey Practice Field, while the second half took place in Spartan Stadium.


Junior quarterback Connor Cook took a majority of the snaps with the first-team offense and completed 16-of-24 passes for 214 yards, including a 42-yard touchdown to senior Keith Mumphery on the first series.

Sophomore Tyler O’Connor saw most of his action against the second-team defense and was also 16-of-24 passing for 246 yards, including a 19-yard TD to junior DeAnthony Arnett. Playing mostly on the second-team offense, red-shirt freshman Damion Terry threw for 288 yards and four touchdowns while hitting on 13 of his 18 pass attempts, which also included an interception.


The receiving corps was led by Arnett, who hauled in eight catches for 167 yards and two touchdowns.  Junior Andre Sims Jr. had six receptions for 132 yards, including a 42-yard TD catch from Terry. Sophomore Matt Macksood recorded four catches for 76 yards, including a 57-yard touchdown, while senior Tony Lippett had four receptions for 67 yards.


Defensively, senior safety Kurtis Drummond collected a scrimmage-high 10 tackles, including a 2-yard loss. Second-teamers Jon Reschke and Mark Meyers each recorded nine stops. Sophomore linebacker Riley Bullough had eight tackles, including 1.5 for losses (4 yards) and a pass break-up, while freshman linebacker Chris Frey posted seven stops with 1.5 sacks (7 yards).


Junior linebacker Darien Harris had six tackles and recorded an interception, and junior defensive end Shilique Calhoun delivered two tackles for loss (10 yards), including a 7-yard sack, with four tackles overall.


The defense was spotted 27 points, but the offense struck quickly with touchdowns on two of its first three possessions, as Cook hit Mumphery for a 42-yard touchdown and O’Connor tossed a 19-yard TD to Arnett in the end zone.


Two series later, Terry found Macksood for what appeared to be a short gain, but Macksood broke two tackles and scampered 57 yards down the sideline for the offense’s third touchdown of the day.


Following a 42-yard field goal by Michael Geiger and a 49-yarder from Cronin on back-to-back possessions, the team headed over to Spartan Stadium for the remainder of the scrimmage. Overall, Geiger made five of his six field-goal attempts, including a 52-yarder, while Cronin was 3-of-5.


On the first series in Spartan Stadium, the first-team defense held the first-team offense to just one first down, but the second-team offense responded on the next possession with a 9-play, 75-yard drive, capped by Terry’s 8-yard scoring strike to junior tight end Paul Lang.


Terry also connected on a 42-yard TD to Sims and a 23-yard TD to Arnett in the second half of the scrimmage at Spartan Stadium.


The first-team defense didn’t allow a touchdown in the second half and allowed just one scoring possession, as Geiger made a 52-yard field goal.


Michigan State will return to practice Sunday afternoon for its 10th workout of preseason camp.


First Preseason Scrimmage Recap

Time elapsed: 3:00 (183 total plays)

Stat Leaders
Passing: Damion Terry 13-of-18 for 288 yards, four touchdowns (57 yards to Matt Macksood; 8 yards to Paul Lang; 42 yards to Andre Sims Jr.; 23 yards to DeAnthony Arnett) and one interception; Tyler O’Connor 16-of-24 for 246 yards and one touchdown (19 yards to Arnett); Connor Cook 16-of-24 for 214 yards and one touchdown (42 yards to Keith Mumphery).


Rushing: Madre London 14-51.


Receiving: DeAnthony Arnett 8-167 (2 TDs); Andre Sims Jr. 6-132 (1 TD); Matt Macksood 4-76 (1 TD); Tony Lippett 4-67; Keith Mumphery 2-57 (1 TD).


Defensive leaders (solos-assists-total): Kurtis Drummond 1-9-10 including a 2-yard loss; Jon Reschke 2-7-9 including 1.5 for loss (2 yards); Mark Meyers 1-8-9; Riley Bullough 1-7-8 including 1.5 for loss (4 yards) and a pass break-up; Chris Frey 1-6-7 including 1.5 sacks (7 yards) and a pass break-up; Darien Harris 2-4-6 and an interception; Mylan Hicks 2-4-6 including a 9-yard sack; Shilique Calhoun 2-2-4 including two for loss (10 yards) and a 7-yard sack.


Mark Dantonio Post-Scrimmage Quotes:

“The offense probably played as good as it ever has in a first scrimmage. The passing game produced a lot of big plays. All three quarterbacks played really, really well. They were very accurate, and the receivers caught the ball (in traffic). I continually say if a guy’s open, it’s one thing, but if you make the 50-50 catch with someone hanging on you or after taking a hit, that’s impressive. Everybody got in on the action, and the offense won the scrimmage. We were a little disappointed in the (number of) penalties, but that’s going to happen in the first scrimmage usually. We went 3 hours and got some 130-to-140 plays in from scrimmage. We came away impressed by our offense.


“Defensively, the ones played okay. Maybe not as well as they have (in the past), but our twos have to play better. Give a lot of credit to the (offensive) guys for making the plays.


“We limited Jeremy Langford’s carries at running back, because we wanted to see what our younger guys could do. Nick Hill did a nice job.


“DeAnthony Arnett had a great scrimmage, but it seemed like everybody came up big in the passing game. Keith Mumphery had a big play early in the scrimmage (turning a short reception into a 42-yard scoring play). Tony Lippett produced some big plays and so did Tres Barksdale, but DeAnthony definitely stood out. He made three big plays (20-plus yards), with two going for touchdowns.


“The offense faced a lot of third-and-long situations, and it converted on a number of occasions. Again, I go back to our quarterbacks because they were extremely accurate and moved well in the pocket. You know we brought pressure on defense, but it’s another positive to say the quarterbacks were protected very well.


“Next week is the grind. It’s that time when everybody’s sort of had it with football a little bit, so we’ve got to press forward. We’ve got a 2-a-day on Monday. We’ve got to do some things on special teams. We didn’t work on special teams as much as we wanted to today. We need to see improvement from our young players. They’ve had their first scrimmage in Spartan Stadium, so now we need to see which guys are going to take the next step to advance. We’ve got to stay healthy, continue to input things and strive for consistency. We need to come back and have another great scrimmage next week.”

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