Friday, April 19, 2024

MSU soars over Eagles

Spartan runners emerge in victory

September 3, 2002
Senior tailback Dawan Moss, left, and sophomore tight end Jason Randle celebrate following a touchdown by Moss during thier game against Eastern Michigan Saturday at Spartan Stadium. The Spartans routed Eastern 56-7. —

Coming into the season, MSU head coach Bobby Williams had questions about his team’s running game.

He got answers during the Spartans’ 56-7 win over Eastern Michigan on Saturday.

“I was happy the way the offensive line really established the line of scrimmage,” he said. “And then the way Dawan Moss ran the ball, he made some big plays. He didn’t have a whole bunch of carries, but this was more than he’s been accustomed to and he played very well.”

Moss, a senior tailback who blocked for former MSU star T.J. Duckett as a fullback last season, rushed for 136 of the Spartans 312 rushing yards.

Moss showcased the entire package, demonstrating big play ability and power.

Of his 12 rushing attempts, four were for 10 yards or more, including a 50-yard touchdown run that gave MSU a 14-0 advantage in the second quarter.

“I just saw a gaping hole,” he said of his first touchdown of the season, “and when I saw it, I hit it.”

The 5-foot-10, 236-pounder used his power to get into the end zone for his second score of the game.

On second and one from Eastern’s 5-yard line, Moss took the hand-off from junior quarterback Jeff Smoker - halfway through the run he was met by Eastern Michigan safety Jamie Manor - and carried the ball and the Eagle defender into the end zone for the third-quarter touchdown.

Moss shouldered the load for almost the entire first quarter before freshman tailback Jaren Hayes got some action. The 5-foot-9, 180-pound tailback provided a change of pace with his quickness.

Hayes’ first career carry went for 14 yards on a lead play.

“I was looking for the cutback, and the cutback was there,” he said. “I saw a hole, and my eyes just got real big.”

His second run also went for 14 yards. Hayes finished with 10 carries for 83 yards and a touchdown, a one-yard effort that capped off a seven-minute drive.

Freshman tailback David Richard made his Spartan debut in the third quarter with five consecutive bruising runs.

Then, Richard displayed vision, power and speed on a 38-yard touchdown run.

Richard bounced an isolation play to the outside, plowed through an Eagle defender, stiff-armed another and then sprinted to the end zone for his first career touchdown.

Williams said he was happy to see Richard, who’s been nursing a groin injury, run well.

“This past week he got healthier and was able to do some things,” he said. “It was encouraging to see him break some runs and be a physical runner.”

Williams said opposing teams can expect to see more of the same for the rest of the season.

“We‘re going to play Moss, Hayes and Richard,” Williams said. “We’re going to need all three of them to make this run.”

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