Amid investigations, MSU football hosts annual Green and White scrimmage
It was a familiar sight as fans trickled into Spartan Stadium for MSU football's annual spring scrimmage. In a modified version, the Green team played offense while the White team represented the defense. A tight game throughout the day, the White team prevailed over the Green, 33-23.
The circumstances surrounding the game, however, were anything but familiar. The scrimmage came amid investigations around the team after news broke of an alleged sexual assault involving three players and a staff member.
Ahead of Saturday, head coach Mark Dantonio addressed the media in a press conference March 28. There, he wouldn't take any questions regarding the ongoing investigations.
Among the modified rules, the defense would be awarded three points for every five minutes elapsed during the game. The White team would also receive three points for an interception or a turnover on downs, among other rules.
Dantonio took his normal spot in the annual scrimmage, standing around on the field and occasionally hyping up the crowd.
After receiving starts as a redshirt-freshman, quarterback Brian Lewerke received the start for the offense. He announced his return with a bang.
On the first play from scrimmage, Lewerke hooked up with rising sophomore wide receiver Trishton Jackson for 39 yards. It came on a great touch throw to the delight of the Spartan faithful.
Marching down the field, Lewerke continued to shine. As the dust cleared on the offense's first drive, it was a clean seven points as Lewerke was a perfect 4-for-4 on the drive. Coupling Lewerke in the backfield was rising senior running back Gerald Holmes.
At the end of the first quarter, though, the defense took the lead, 9-7. The defensive Spartans forced a turnover on downs to nab the advantage after the first 10 minutes of play.
While Lewerke received a bulk of the playing time in the early going, he made his first blunder of the day on the opening play of the second quarter. The Phoenix, Ariz. native airmailed a receiver as rising redshirt-freshman safety Austin Andrews picked off his teammate.
The highlight of the quarter, though, came from the legs of rising redshirt-junior running back Madre London. He broke through a huge hole en route to a 75-year rushing touchdown, putting the offense up 17-12 at the time.
By the end of the second quarter, the defense in White led the offense donning Green, 18-17.
Among a quiet quarter, it was Jackson who continued his dominant performance after another long reception from Lewerke, this time going for 36 yards. At that point, Jackson had collected seven catches for a whopping 149 yards.
Despite the catch, the defense slowly started to pull away to take the 24-17 lead into the final 10 minutes.
With the deficit growing, however, the offense responded. Rising redshirt-junior quarterback Colar Kuhns found rising sophomore wide receiver/cornerback Justin Layne for the touchdown. A missed extra point, though, would have the offense staring at a slim 24-23 deficit.
With the game in a deadlock, the defense added a quick six points after another five minutes elapsed and an interception by early enrollee cornerback Josiah Scott. The 5-foot-10 freshman picked off a pass from Lewerke, giving the White team the 30-23 lead.
At one point, Jackson made an impressive one-handed grab as the time winded down. The refs called an offensive pass interference, though, to negate the play. In typical spring football fashion, Dantonio overruled the referee to give the offense a chance with less than 30 seconds to go.
It was Scott again, though, this time with a pass breakup to preserve the White team's win. It ended the Spartans' spring scrimmage as the defense won, 33-23, over the offense.