The Michigan State defense showed off it's strength during the first Spartans scrimmage of the spring.

With several key replacements needed on the offensive side of the ball for the Michigan State Spartans in 2016, it should be no surprise Mark Dantonio’s defense stepped forward in the first jersey scrimmage of the spring.

Leading up to the Michigan State Spartans annual Green-White spring game on Saturday, April 23 in Spartan Stadium, Mark Dantonio held a controlled 151-play scrimmage on Friday in the Duffy Daugherty Football Building indoor facility.

The scrimmage was the eighth practice of the spring season and Dantonio was especially impressed by his defense.

“Defensively, we swarmed to the football and forced a couple of turnovers,” said Dantonio in a released statement.  “The interception return for a touchdown proved to be the difference in the scoring. Andrew Dowell appeared to make plays all over the field.  Riley Bullough and Chris Frey were solid, and Tyriq Thompson is a guy who stood out.”

While happy with his defense, Dantonio also had some good things to saw about a few members of his offense.

L.J. Scott ran hard and broke a couple of long runs,” he said.  “All four (scholarship) quarterbacks got a lot of work.  Tyler O'Connor was crisp, especially on the opening drive.”

The Spartans will hold four practices next week with a second jersey scrimmage being held Saturday.  This the first scrimmage of the spring always sets the tone of how the spring will go.

“It was a competitive scrimmage,” explained Dantonio.  “The energy was good, and there was a lot of hitting.  We went about 150 plays, so we were able to get meaningful reps for a lot of different guys.  There were positives on both sides of the football, and all of the mistakes are correctable.

“With four practices, next week is an important one.  Over these next two weeks, we’ll continue to focus on cleaning up the execution, especially the penalties and unforced errors.”

The annual Green-White game will be held at Spartan Stadium on Saturday, April 23 at 3 p.m. and will be televised live nationally by the Big Ten Network.

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