LJ Scott bounces back after fumbling issues against Bowling Green
In last week’s 35-10 win against Bowling Green State University, the Spartans fumbled the ball a combined four times, losing three of them.
Out of those three lost fumbles, LJ Scott accounted for two.
On Saturday against the Broncos, Scott didn’t let the ball hit the ground once.
Scott said he tried to put the fumbles last week “behind him.”
“As far as individually, I knew I had to step up and bounce back for the team,” Scott said.
Scott did bounce back against Western Michigan University, rushing for 86 yards on 18 attempts and a touchdown while also bringing in three catches for 25 yards and a touchdown.
Early in the fourth quarter, the Spartans were faced with a fourth-and-1 and decided to go for it, after Western declined a penalty that would’ve given the Spartans a third-and-16 situation.
Who did they lean on? LJ Scott.
At least, Scott convinced them to lean on him.
Scott said he was in head coach Mark Dantonio’s ear, telling him he should he get the ball since they “practice it all week."
Scott was ready, as he not only got the first down, but busted loose and picked up 44 yards.
After that, Scott was the running back in the Dantonio and Co. leaned on, letting Scott rush nine more times compared to other running backs Gerald Holmes and Madre London, who combined had two rushing attempts in the fourth quarter.
Co-offensive coordinator and running backs coach Dave Warner, said Scott has proven “over a long haul that he can be guy that can carry the ball for us, 20-25 times,” especially when closing out games.
“We felt like we wanted to get him going today,” Warner said. “It’s just a feeling over years, that LJ is a guy that when it comes down to that we feel like we can hand the ball to him.”
Quarterback Brian Lewerke said he figured they would be handing the ball off a lot going into the game, because of what he saw on film.
“Their DB’s were just very good so they might shut down the pass a little bit, so I think we did a decent job of pounding it down the middle,” Lewerke said. “Obviously we still have a lot of trust in LJ, he didn’t fumble this week. He obviously found the hole on that fourth-and-1 that was awesome.”
After last week’s fumbling debacle and losing one fumble this week, Warner said fumbling like this is “obviously unacceptable.”
“Our success around here has been built on turnover ratio, throughout the years,” Warner said. “We stress the heck out of it, we always have.”
Scott wasn’t the only to have turnover issues early on this season, as Lewerke also fumbled in the Spartans game against Bowling Green last week and muffled a snap against the Broncos.
Head coach Mark Dantonio said the cause of the recent fumble troubles is because players “are trying to make a play.”
“Hunter Rison was trying to make a play, he gets hit … both hands over the ball and he’s trying to go forward and the ball gets ripped out," Dantonio said. "He’s a freshman and he’s going to learn. Those are frustrating things when you’re sitting there on the sideline.
Even with these growing pains, Warner said increasing confidence and keeping that confidence on both sides of the ball is key.
Dantonio echoed Warner and said “we’re excited to play and excited for each other.”
“We get in that locker room after the game and sing that fight song, it’s exciting,” Dantonio said. “There’s no just singing it, it’s real.”