Spartans Defense Holds Jersey First

In the first preseason jersey scrimmage of camp 2010 is in the books as the defense held on to defeat the offense 95-89.

The Spartans looked to maximize their workload on Monday and did so by having a very productive day with two separate sessions and close to 200 plays. Spartans head coach Mark Dantonio was very pleased by the effort in both sessions.

"We got 85 plays in this morning and another 90-plus plays this afternoon, so it was a productive day. The guys played hard all day and really competed."

Standouts on the day for the offense were freshman running back Le'Veon Bell who rushed for 50 yards on 12 carries including a 10-yard touchdown run. Not to be left behind by the freshman, Larry Caper chipped in for 47 yards on 16 carries including a 1-yard score.

Quarterback Kirk Cousins went 26-of-42 for 306 yards and three scores, but also threw two interceptions. On the end of two of Cousins' touchdown passes was B.J. Cunningham who pulled down tosses of 11 and 4 yards. For the day, Cunningham had seven catches for 65 yards. Bell also pulled down an 11-yard pass for a score completing a great day.

Cunningham was joined by Keshawn Martin who pulled down eight catches for 83 yards.

Coach Dantonio stressed afterwards he was happy with some of the things he saw from the Spartans offense, but felt turnovers were costly to the offense chances of winning the day events.

"Turnovers proved to be the difference today. On one hand, you stress to the offense the importance of protecting the football, and on the other hand, you emphasize the importance of creating turnovers on defense. So in a scrimmage situation, you want to focus on the positives. The offense did some good things this afternoon, especially coming off the 3-yard line with a 14-play drive and Kirk Cousins making throws down the field with his receivers. We also ran the ball with some effectiveness with Larry Caper, Edwin Baker, and Le'Veon Bell. Nick Hill did some good things when given the opportunity, and Jeremy Langford had a nice touchdown run this morning. A number of receivers caught the ball well. Keshawn Martin continues to make big plays. B.J. Cunningham and Mark Dell played with consistency, while Keith Mumphrey and Donald Spencer made some plays in the passing game.

While the offense had their moments, the defense led by senior Greg Jones did their thing. Jones posted 12 total tackles with six being for losses including four sacks.

The one player who showed what Spartan fans missed was cornerback Johnny Adams who had seven tackles to go with two pass break-ups and one interception.

Linebacker Chris Norman also showed he is working to keep some distance from him and the challenges he's facing on the depth chart with 11 tackles including a sack.

Along the line, Kevin Pickelman posted seven tackles and defensive end Denzel Drone continues his impressive camp with seven tackles including a sack.

Dantonio was happy with what he saw, but worried about getting the most out of some of the other members on the defense.

"Defensively, we ran to the football, consistently pressured the quarterbacks, and came up with some turnovers. Greg Jones look great today; he made plays all over the place. We need to figure out how we are going to work Max Bullough and William Gholston into certain situations. They're both good football players and we want to make sure that we put them into situations where they can contribute on a consistent basis because you don't want to just take away a guy's year (of eligibility). Those guys can play and have an impact."

While there are still several days ahead until the start of the season, the Spartans staff seemed pleased with the effort and results shown in the first jersey scrimmage of camp.


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