It was not a very good day for the Mississippi State offense in Saturday's spring football game. The White defeated the Maroon 21-10 before 16,630 fans at Davis Wade Stadium in Starkville.
New defensive coordinator Todd Grantham watched his players perform well. He's the Bulldogs fourth defensive coordinator in the last four years. How good was his defense. Junior quarterback Nick Fitzgerald, who led the SEC in total offense in 2016, tossed four interceptions on the day and no touchdowns. Fitzgerald did rush for a TD, a 5 yard run in the second quarter that tied the game 7-7.
Freshman defensive back Cameron Dantzler of Hammond, Louisiana excelled. He came up with two interceptions of Fitzgerald, the first one was run back 81 yards for the games first touchdown. Deion Pope returned an interception for 20 yards and Brian Cole picked off Fitzgerald and ran the ball back 54 yards for a White touchdown.
Running back Nick Gibson led the ground game. He had 112 yards rushing on 17 attempts, netting 6.4 yards per rush. Aeris Williams had 56 rushing yards on 9 attempts.
Todd Reggie had 4 receptions for 51 yards and Gabe Myles hauled-in 4 catches for 50 yards.
True-freshman quarterback Keytaon Thompson connected on 6 of 20 pass attempts for 80 yards.
Coach Dan Mullen said, "Saw some guys make some plays in their first chance. An opportunity to do that out here, really playing in front of the crowd. Saw some missed opportunities. Next time we come out here and play in front of a crowd, it's for real so we have to start making those plays. We were able to run the ball. They were doing it without two starting linemen, both starting tight ends are gone, three starting wide outs didn't play today. We kind of limited the number of weapons out there. But, I got to see some things that I thought were pretty good"
Mark McLaurin and Erroll Thompson both had 8 tackles apiece to lead the White team. Tim Washington added 7 stops and Brian Cole had 6 tackles. Josiah Phillips led the Maroon Tide with 6 total tackles and Grant Harris had 5 tackles.
The only offensive touchdowns were the 5 yard run by Fitzgerald and a 1 yard run by Dontavian Lee.
Grantham's defense forced six turnovers on the day.
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