Maroon erased a seven-point deficit and scored 28 points in the first half to defeat White, 34-21, in the Mississippi State spring football game on Saturday afternoon in Davis Wade Stadium.
“We got a lot accomplished that we wanted to get done,” MSU head coach Dan Mullen said. “We got some young players in situations they haven’t been in before. It was a game like situation even though it was a scrimmage.”
Four Bulldog quarterbacks combined for 442 passing yards. Junior Damian Williams completed 14-of-20 passes for 165 yards and two touchdowns, while sophomore Nick Fitzgerald was 10-of-20 for 127 yards and one score for the White team. Redshirt freshman Nick Tiano was 8-of-13 for 99 yards and one touchdown, and he showed his athleticism, rushing for 76 yards on 10 carries.
“What I want to see is how they respond to the downs,” Mullen said of the quarterbacks. “To me it’s about the consistency of play. All of them have the ability to make plays, run the ball, scramble, but they are learning they need to be to a consistent level.”
Sophomore Elijah Staley threw for 48 yards and got into the scoring act catching a 3-yard pass from running back Malik Dear to break a 14 all tie in the second quarter. Dear added six catches for 67 yards and caught a 38-yard touchdown from Tiano with 7:54 remaining in the first quarter.
Sophomore safety Mark McLaurin intercepted two passes in the first half that changed the momentum for Maroon. He picked off Dak Prescott in the second quarter. Prescott, who is preparing for the upcoming NFL Draft, walked onto the field and threw a pass to former Bulldog “Boobie” Dixon, but McLaurin stepped in and returned it 52 yards to the 18-yard line.
Redshirt freshman Jonnas Spivey delivered the big play of the second half, hauling in a Williams pass and racing 82 yards down the far sideline for a touchdown for the White team. Spivey finished with 101 yards receiving.
Senior defensive end Johnathan Calvin finished with a game-high four sacks and eight total tackles. Junior linebacker Kelan Chairs led all tacklers with nine on the day.
The Bulldogs now turn their attention to summer conditioning and will report for preseason camp on Aug. 1. MSU opens the season on Sept. 3 against South Alabama in Davis Wade Stadium.
Mullen, meanwhile, will fly to Boston on Sunday and run in the 120th Boston Marathon on Patriots’ Day Monday.