EAST LANSING - Freshman running back Larry Caper took a big step forward in the battle for playing time in a crowded Michigan State backfield, rushing for 74 yards on 17 carries including a 22-yard TD score to lead the Green team to a 45-42 win in the second "controlled" scrimmage at Spartan Stadium.
The former Battle Creek Central star was the most productive of a trio of backs (which included fellow freshman Edwin Baker) who got carries in the scrimmage which was closed to the media.
The post scrimmage statistics gave sophomore Caulton Ray (Brother Rice) 49 yards on 16 carries (2.3 ypc) and Baker 37 yards on 14 carries.
“Three running backs (Caulton Ray, Larry Caper and Edwin Baker) got the bulk of the work this afternoon, and all three cut effectively and ran through some blocks. Each practice, we try to provide three or four backs opportunities
to show us what they’ve got.
This afternoon, those guys did a nice job of getting on the perimeter, so they had chances to make people miss. The other backs had an opportunity to perform in the 40-play scrimmage at the end of this morning’s practice," said head coach Mark Dantonio.
In the quarterback race, Kirk Cousins completed 6-of-13 for 119 yards and a touchdown against one interception, while Keith Nichol completed 7-of-14 for 54 yards.
“Both quarterbacks played pretty well. Kirk Cousins played very well throughout the scrimmage. Kirk threw one pick
in the red zone, but Chris L. Rucker made a nice play on the ball. Keith Nichol had to throw into the wind on the first
series, but he played very well after that. We’re pleased with the way both quarterbacks performed and we really
like the way that they’re competing each practice," he said.
Freshman tight end Dion Sims continued to be impressive according to the stats, catching two balls for 38 yards and a touchdown, while Brian Linthicum caught four passes for 18 yards and Blair White caught three for 66.
“I thought the offense played and executed better today (than it did on Monday)," said Dantonio. "We’re still trying to eliminate
those unforced penalties, and we cut way down on that number this afternoon. Both quarterbacks played pretty well. The quarterbacks threw the ball effectively, and the offense ran the ball better, especially in third-and-short
Defensively, Michigan State was led by Greg Jones who recorded 10 tackles including two for loss and a sack. Eric Gordon chippped in with eight, while corner Chris L. Rucker recorded five tackles and the lone interception of Cousins.
"The defense played well, pressuring the quarterback and creating negative plays. Overall, I thought it was a good scrimmage on both sides of the ball. There was a lot of good hitting out there in the stadium. So it was a good work day for us, and we got a lot accomplished."