Defense Tops Offense in Green-White Spring Game, 42-26

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EAST LANSING, Mich. – Utilizing a modified scoring system, the Green (defense) defeated the White (offense), 42-26, on Saturday afternoon for the Green-White spring game, presented by McLaren Health Plan, in Spartan Stadium. The game was played under sunny skies and temperatures in the low-50s with winds nearing 20 mph.

“First off I want to say, the crowd, everything out there today from the Izzo Legacy walk to our youth clinic to the game itself, I thought it was a great outpouring of Spartan Nation a little bit,” said MSU head coach Mark Dantonio. “The crowd was into it a little bit, so that was good to have some crowd noise out there.

“We try to play everybody in the spring football game, which is what we did to give everybody an opportunity to do something in that football game. I think it's important because everybody has to bring value, to have that opportunity to play in front of a crowd, to put a little more pressure on them as players.”

Senior wide receiver Darrell Stewart led the offense with five catches for 82 yards, including touchdown catches of 10 yards from Brian Lewerke and 31 yards from Rocky Lombardi. Sophomore Jalen Nailor added four receptions for 42 yards.

Quarterback Brian Lewerke was 14-of-20 passing for 181 yards, two touchdowns and one interception, while Rocky Lombardi was 9-of-22 for 119 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Lewerke found Stewart in the end zone in the first quarter, while Lombardi’s TD pass to Stewart came in the second quarter. Lewerke also hit Connor Heyward on a 50-yard screen pass for a touchdown in the fourth quarter. Heyward had 79 all-purpose yards on the afternoon (55 receiving, 24 rushing).

“I thought (Brian) Lewerke played well, I thought he threw the ball effectively into some tight windows in the wind,” said Dantonio. “His arm strength is good – doesn't mean it's going to be on the money all the time – but his arm strength is good and he looks healthy.”

In the backfield, freshman running back early enrollee Anthony Williams had 26 yards on nine carries and three catches for 19 yards, while sophomore running back La’Darius Jefferson had nine carries for 24 yards.

Junior placekicker Matt Coghlin battled the wind to connect on field goals from 30 and 24 yards out.

Redshirt freshman linebacker Chase Kline led the defense with eight tackles, while junior defensive end Jacub Panasiuk recorded seven stops. Joe Bachie, Dominique Long and Tyriq Thompson each tallied six tackles.

Sophomore cornerback Shakur Brown had three pass break-ups to lead the secondary. Junior cornerback Josiah Scott had a diving interception in the second half and redshirt-freshman defensive end Zach Slade picked off a pass and returned it 45 yards before getting tracked down. Slade also had a fumble recovery.

“First of all, I hope they continue to play like that,” Dantonio said of the defense, which has been ranked in the FBS Top 10 the past two seasons. “We play a lot of press coverage, we play a lot of quarters coverage, and a lot of man coverage, so that's not earth shattering, people know that about us. The windows are going to be tight to throw the ball into.”

Earlier in the day, approximately 1,000 kids attended this year's football youth clinic, held on the John and Becky Duffey Practice Fields.
“I love this part of the year, every time, because the kids bring so much energy,” said defensive tackle Raequan Williams. “You realize how much light you can bring to people, so I love doing this.”
Michigan State concludes spring ball with its 15th practice on Tuesday.