Running back Josh Robinson attempts to break a tackle during Friday night's scrimmage. (Photo by Michael Wardlaw, SDN)
Playmakers make plays when the lights are on.
On Friday night, there were Mississippi State Bulldogs making plays all over the football field in their second scrimmage of the spring.
The Mississippi State offense opened with a fast start scoring on its first two possessions.
Tyler Russell led 75 and 80-yard drives for touchdowns. His first scoring toss went to Malcolm Johnson on a 29-yard strike.Â Freshman running back Josh Robinson plunged in from 2 yards out for the second score.
âYou get in these situations so youâve got to come out here and make plays," said Russell, who was 16-of-33 for 310 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions. "Malcomb Johnson, Joe Morrow, Brandon Hill, they really showed out (Friday). Everybody played good, but it wasnât good enough to win and thatâs one thing weâve got to work on.â
The Bulldog defense quickly decided to accept the challenge from the offense and began to make plays.Â It began to force three-and-outs with regularity by applying pressure on the quarterbacks.
âWe have an offense that executes at a high level," MSU defensive coordinator Chris Wilson said. "The one thing Iâve learned is that youâve got to give really good guys credit. One thing Tyler can do is soften you up because he can really throw the football. If you step up and load the box on him, heâll pick you apart at times.â
The one guy Russell couldnât fool was Darius Slay.Â The defensive back had three interceptions in the scrimmage for the Bulldogs
âAt times (Friday night), I did a pretty good job playing with him, but right there at the end he fooled me,â said Russell. âHe dropped back and I thought I had a big gain and then I saw him come out and catch the pick.â
Joe Morrow also had a solid evening for the offense with three catches, including a 82-yard scoring strike from Russell.
âThe defense played good, but we had our opportunities and thatâs whatâs upsetting,â said MSU offensive coordinator Les Keonning. âIf we had walked out there in an SEC deal, weâd be upset because of the opportunities. The defense played well but weâve got to be able to take it consistently and move the football.â
Overall, the stingy MSU defense forced five turnovers, four interceptions and one fumble recovered for a 42-yard touchdown from Taveze Calhoun.
âWe are really still in the process of defining who we are going to be,â said Wilson. âThe really nice thing is that we have some depth. A year ago we really didnât have that much and gets me excited.â
Stateâs head coach Dan Mullen wasnât on hand for the Bulldogs scrimmage as he and Megan welcomed the birth of their daughter Friday afternoon.
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