Purple edges White, 13-10, in Spring Game

Sophomore quarterback Matt Mauck connected with freshman Guy Harper for a 63-yard touchdown strike late in the fourth quarter of Saturday's Spring Game that lifted the Purple squad in a come-from-behind victory over their White counterparts in Tiger Stadium before a paid crowd of 28,658.<br><br> The split-squad scrimmage capped the spring practice period for the Tigers, though the game may have raised more questions than it answered.

White team quarterback Marcus Randall left the game midway through the second quarter with an apparent knee injury. The extent of the injury was unclear after the game, but LSU head coach Nick Saban said there appeared to be some ligament damage in Randall's right knee.

With about six minutes to play in the second quarter, Randall dropped back to throw and appeared to plant his back foot before his head snapped back in pain and he crumpled to the ground untouched. He was assisted to the locker room with an ice bag taped to his knee and will undergo an MRI test later Saturday evening to determine the extent of the injury. He left the game after completing 2 of 7 passes for 11 yards and was replaced by sophomore Rick Clausen.

It wasn't a very good day for quarterbacks, to be sure. Before his fourth-quarter strike, Mauck was having a very sub-par day, tossing five interceptions, taking two sacks and reaching the opponent's red zone only twice. He often telegraphed his throws and seldom looked away from his primary receiver.

In his defense, however, he was playing without the first-string receivers and did settle down and improve over the late stages of the game. Mauck finished 20-for-42 for 241 yards and a touchdown, while two of his interceptions came on balls tipped by receivers and one on a blown route.

The 63-yard touchdown pass accounted for the majority of Harper's 84 yards, and he was closely followed by sophomore running back Shyrone Carey, who nabbed three catches for 46 yards by lining up as a slot receiver. Jerel Myers led the White team with two receptions for 28 yards.

White team running back Joseph Addai was the leading rusher for the afternoon, carrying the ball eleven times for 65 yards. Elice Parker led the Purple team on the ground with seven carries for 55 yards.

The defense made a good showing for both teams during the game, with the secondary showing improvement over last year's squad and much more intensity than last week's scrimmage. Norman LeJeune led the White squad with eight tackles, three deflected passes and one interception, while Dorsett Buckels contributed eight stops - including a tackle for a 4-yard loss - and an interception.

Demetrius Hookfin and Damien James each made six tackles for the Purple team.

John Corbello put the White team on the scoreboard first with a 46-yard field goal with 4:19 to play in the first quarter. Chuy Gutierrez answered with a kick of his own for Purple, booting a 43-yarder with just over eight minutes to play in the half.

White jumped back on top with just 49 seconds to play in the half when cornerback Corey Webster snagged an errant Mauck thrown and scampered 72 yards with the interception for a touchdown. According to Saban, the receiver thought a running play had been called and failed to run his route, allowing Webster to catch the ball cleanly in the open field. At the halftime break, White led 10-3.

An uneventful third quarter saw no scoring take place, although a Purple threat in White's red zone was erased when Donovan Grayson came away with a tipped ball thrown by Mauck for an interception at the 17-yard line.

Gutierrez got his team within four, 10-6, with eight minutes to play in the game on a 27-yard field goal that capped a 10-play, 60-yard Purple drive. White was forced to punt on its next possession, and Purple took control of the ball at its own 34-yard line with 4:17 to play in the game.

Ryan Gilbert rushed for two yards on first-and-ten before Mauck found Harper for an 11-yard gain to the Purple 47. An incomplete pass and a White holding call set up the only offensive touchdown of the game when Mauck found a wide-open Harper racing along the right sideline for the game-winning score. Gutierrez added the PAT for a 13-10 lead with 2:39 left in the game.

White would not cross midfield for the remainder of the game, and Purple closed out the contest with a missed Gutierrez field-goal attempt.

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