LJ Scott took the handoff, ran to the right side of the field, went around his blockers and pranced into the end zone for an 18-yard touchdown rush Saturday against Indiana.
Five days after being arrested for driving without a valid license, LJ Scott’s touchdown with 1:49 left in the game gave the Spartans a 17-9 lead after the made extra point. The Spartans would hold off a late-game comeback from the Hoosiers to advance to 6-1 on the season and 4-0 in conference play.
Heading into Saturday’s homecoming game against the Hoosiers, head coach Mark Dantonio was left with a decision: to play Scott, who was released on a personal recognizance bond and agreed to a plea deal with the 54B district court, or to bench him.
On Friday, he had made his decision and announced in a statement that Scott resolved the issue and will play, however, his status would be affected.
“I guess the biggest way to say it is young people are going to make mistakes, but they’re my young people," Dantonio said after the game. "It’s like my family, so you’re going to try and take care of those guys, try and usher them forward, and try and help them resolve their issues as best you can. Ultimately, you know, sometimes you’re put in situations where you have to make very tough decisions. However, this was not one of them.”
Scott said that he wasn’t at all embarrassed from the attention he received this week and that he learned to stay focused and not let distractions get involved.
“It was just a miscommunication between me and the secretary of state,” Scott said. “And I’m just glad to have it all cleared up and make sure nothing like that happens again.”
Madre London got the start at running back, but Scott came in for the Spartans’ second drive of the game.
For Dantonio, the decision to play Scott was easy.
“There were extenuating circumstances as to a fine being paid, et cetera, but you know, it’s a long story,” Dantonio said. “If you want 15, 20 minutes, that’s what you get. You get a very long story."
As for Scott's driving ability, Dantonio was wiling to vouch for him.
"I watched him parallel park and all that kind of stuff," Dantonio said. "He did very well.
Scott ended the night with a team-high 87 yards rushing and added two receptions for 15 yards.
After the recent off-the-field issues surrounding the Spartans’ football program, how MSU responds to issues involving its athletes is under the national spotlight.
“I know publicly it’s tough to look at sometimes, maybe, but they’re our players,” Dantonio said. “They’re my players. I’ve got a personal relationship with these guys and their mother and their families. Sometimes you have to make gut calls and look at it in that capacity, and that’s what I did.”