Late Saturday morning and into early afternoon, Mississippi State football held its first scrimmage of the spring, this one in Davis Wade Stadium (which is coming along nicely, by the by).
As discussed before in this space, Dan Mullen and the coaching staff put a good deal of emphasis on scrimmages, considering it the chance for players to make a statement and show what they can do.
Both the first and second team offenses opened with quick touchdowns, but after that initial action, the first team defense had a mostly dominant day.
With Josh Robinson out, sophomore Ashton Shumpert and senior Nick Griffin rotated as the first team running backs, both with success.
Griffin, in fact, may have been the star of the day, as his spring continues to be impressive now that he’s finally healthy. The big man ripped off a 53-yard touchdown run against the first team defense late in the scrimmage, part of his total 74 yards on 11 carries, including two touchdowns. Shumpert chipped in with 61 yards on 12 carries.
Sophomore Brandon Holloway – the speedster new to the backfield – was extremely impressive when he got out in the flats and near the sideline. Two of his jukes were particularly fun as he sped up the right sideline. Total, he had 67 yards on 15 carries.
Amongst the pass catchers, senior tight end Malcolm Johnson and sophomore receiver Fred Brown, running with the first and third teams respectively, were the standouts. Both had over 100 yards, with two touchdowns for Brown and one for Johnson on his six catches.
Tight end Gus Walley (5-67) and receiver Jeremey Chappelle (4-52 with a touchdown) had nice lines, as well. Freshman receiver Gabe Myles, who recently switched from cornerback, has been up and down as the spring goes, but the scrimmage was a good one for him, catching three passes, including a wide-open 40 yard touchdown from Damian Williams.
Williams, Dak Prescott and Nick Fitzgerald combined for six touchdowns, two apiece. Very unofficial numbers, but the trio were all in roughly the same range, completing somewhere around 60 percent of their passes, give or take.
Defensively, freshman linebacker Dez Harris continued his impressive spring, registering 9(ish) tackles, a pass break up and pick six off Williams.
Senior corner Jamerson Love took on a blitzing role, picking up three tackles for loss, while sophomore linebacker Richie Brown chipped in with two of his own.
Junior defensive end John Harris racked up three sacks and five tackles for loss with the third team, a big day.
Other noteworthy numbers: defensive end Trent Simpson had a pair of sacks, and defensive back Deontay Evans had two pass break ups.
Special teams wasn’t tracked particularly closely, but the defense did pick up two field goal blocks, while Justin Cox and Will Redmond both had impressive kick returns.