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Payton Thorne, Noah Kim headline quarterback competition during final spring practice

April 16, 2023
<p>Redshirt senior quarterback Payton Thorne (10) warms up before the MSU football spring open practice, held at Spartan Stadium on April 15, 2023.</p>

Redshirt senior quarterback Payton Thorne (10) warms up before the MSU football spring open practice, held at Spartan Stadium on April 15, 2023.

Two years ago, redshirt senior quarterback Payton Thorne broke MSU football’s single-season passing touchdown record. Last season was a bit different, as poor play from him and the rest of his offense resulted in some calling for redshirt junior quarterback Noah Kim to take his place.

While head coach Mel Tucker has said that this offseason has been and will continue to be a fight between the two and sophomore quarterback Katin Houser, Thorne and Kim were the ones leading their respective units. Thorne played with the starters and Kim with the second stringers during the final practice of the spring football season. 

While the practice, which was open to the public, allowed fans to get a taste of Houser letting loose with some projected starters this upcoming season, Thorne and Kim were head and shoulders above the rest of the quarterback room, with Thorne having a solid all-around afternoon and Kim making some of the best passes of the scrimmages. 

“Today was a very productive day for everybody,” Kim said. “Today flowed really well. Guys were paying attention and reciprocating what they learned in the meeting room to the field. We took a big step today ... like we have been all spring, especially for me personally. Just stacking days, getting one percent better every day."

While Kim had a great finish to his day, Thorne got it done both through the air and on the ground throughout the entire afternoon. His most notable drive featured a pass that hit fellow redshirt senior and wide receiver Tre Mosley square in the chest, which allowed him to make a move down the sideline and pick up more than enough yards for a first down. Later, around the 15-yard line, Thorne used his legs to step up in the pocket and then scramble to make a couple defenders miss before reaching the end zone just before time ran out.

When asked about his competition this off-season, Thorne gave a short and simple answer.

“I've just been working on myself and working with my receivers,” Thorne said. “And that's all I can do.”

Tucker reaffirmed after the practice was over that the quarterback battle will not be resolved anytime soon, and will continue to play out over the summer and fall camp.

“That was a practice format and so you see guys getting worked with different groups,” Tucker said. “Getting a lot of reps. We grade everything. By the way, they're competing, it's a very healthy competition. Competition makes us all better. ... I thought we had good work today. Today was very indicative of what we've seen out of those guys.”

With spring football now over with, players will begin their summer workouts before returning to campus in a few months for a new semester and fall practice. 

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