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Thursday, October 2, 2014


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Offense posts huge numbers in first preseason scrimmage




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Junior quarterback Connor Cook participates in practice drills Aug. 2, 2014, at the practice field outside Duffy Daugherty Football Building. Danyelle Morrow/The State News



If a preseason scrimmage is a reliable indicator of how the upcoming regular season will turn out, it seems as though the offense is destined to avoid the early struggles of the 2013 unit.

The quarterback trio of redshirt freshman Damion Terry, sophomore Tyler O’Connor and junior Connor Cook combined for six touchdowns in a 47-30 victory over the defense in the first preseason jersey scrimmage.

Terry, who Dantonio wasn’t sure would receive snaps on Friday, led the second-team offense with 288 yards, completing 13 of 18 passes, four touchdowns and an interception.

Cook mostly took snaps with the first-team offense and finished with 214 yards and a 16-of-24 completion rate, and O’Connor finished with 246 yards and a touchdown, taking snaps against the second-team defense.

“The offense probably played as good as it ever has in a first scrimmage,” Head Coach Mark Dantonio said, whose quotes were released by MSU athletics after the game. “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).”

The scrimmage uses a modified scoring system and was 183-plays long. According to MSU athletics, the first half was played at the John and Becky Duffy Practice Field, and the second half took place at Spartan Stadium.

Junior wide receiver DeAnthony Arnett had a team-high eight receptions for 167 yards, bringing home two touchdowns. Senior wide receiver Keith Mumphrey and sophomore wide receiver Matt Macksood also caught touchdowns.

" DeAnthony Arnett had a great scrimmage, but it seemed like everybody came up big in the passing game,” Dantonio said. ” 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.”

On the defensive end, senior safety Kurtis Drummond had 10 tackles, junior defensive end Shilique Calhoun had a sack, and junior linebacker Darien Harris had an interception.

“Defensively, the ones played okay,” Dantonio said. “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”

The Spartans will return to practice on Monday.

“Next week is the grind,” Dantonio said. “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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