The Michigan State offense, behind the strength of their passing attack, won the first offense-defense Spring scrimmage by the score of 27-25. The defense was spotted 25 points at the start, a different scoring system from the past, I believe, and that lead held until the 2nd to last series of the scrimmage, when the offense finally pulled ahead.
The full release from MSU is here, let's dig as far into the limited information as we can.
Connor Cook: 15/21 (71.4%), 187 yards (8.9 yards per attempt), 2 TDs, 1 INT.
The accuracy obviously stands out here. A completion percentage of 71.4% was surpassed in just one of Cook's 13 starts last year, and only four of his starts cracked 62%. Makes a nice play rolling out and communicating with Arnett to find a hole in the zone (1:42 in the embedded video above) for a TD. Cook's yards per attempt is slightly misleading as 38 of those yards came on a screen pass play (0:29) to Jeremy Langford, but it does seem like Cook did a good job of waiting, letting the blitz get up field, and then throwing the pass. Also, like, a successful screen play (check out Travis Jackson [I think?] throwing a 2 for 1 block to spring Langford into open field)! Throws a bit of a suicide ball (0:44) targeting R.J. Shelton that was easiily picked off by the waiting Drummond
Tyler O'Connor: 10/15 (66.7%), 132 yards (8.8 yards per attempt), 1 TD, 0 INT.
A perfectly capable performance out of the likely back-up this year. Drops a nice pass into the path of Jakubik downfield (1:14). Also threw a 9 yard TD to Burbridge to 'win' the scrimmage.
Not mentioned in the boxscore, not a great sign. Some explanation of why though, comes in the video where he hands off to Nick Tompkins who is immediately tackled by Chris Frey for a loss (1:04), then takes a shotgun snap, is immediately pressured by Evan Jones and then 'sacked' by Frey (1:09), and is pressured and 'sacked' again almost immediately by Shane Jones (1:23). I don't think our 3rd string OL is very good, but well, who's is?
DeAnthony Arnett: 5 catches for 67 yards (13.4 yards per catch), 1 TD.
Led the team in both catches and receiving yardage. Showcases a lovely little bit of agility to free himself for some yards after the catch (0:13). As mentioned above, caught one of Cook's two TDs.
R.J. Shelton: 4 catches for 23 yards (5.75 yards per catch)
Maybe a little surprisingly the 2nd most catches in this scrimmage. Cook's INT shows he's running at least some of his routes a little further down-field, but the low YPC number also indicates he's still likely doing the bulk of his work with 3-7 yard screens.
Jeremy Langford: 3 catches for 51 yards (17.0 yards per catch), 1 TD
Good stuff. Showed burst on his TD.
Aaron Burbridge: 3 catches for 36 yards (12 yards per catch), 1 TD
Also good stuff. No video, but seemed to be O'Connor's go-to guy.
Trevon Pendleton: at least 1 catch for 15 yards, 1 TD.
Full-back sneaking out of the backfield: still unstoppable.
Grabbed an easy INT, but positioned himself well to do so.
2 'sacks', seems they came against back-ups (or back-ups to back-ups) but still impressive for a true freshman.
2 'sacks' for 13 yards, easily beats his man and Nick Hill to down Cook (1:30), Seems to apply pressure or draw possible flags all over the place throughout other spots in the video. Very excited to see more of him this year.
5 yard 'sack'. Moar Bulloughs.
Jeremy Langford: 3 rushes for 15 yards, (5.0 yards per carry)
A very limited, but solid, performance from him on the ground.
Nick Hill: 10 rushes for 53 yards (5.3 yards per carry).
Showed the big play ability he flashed last year (a 30 yard carry) and the underwhelming stutters of previous years (an average of 2.6 yards on his other 9 carries). Remember Delton Williams is out injured.
As mentioned above, gets immediately met in the backfield on his only visible carry. Hard to draw much from that.
9 yard tackle for loss indicates MSU's safeties are still flying downfield in run and screen support and also that someone on offense prob got in a hole and kept on digging. Tied for team lead in tackles, with six.
Forced fumble. tied for team lead in tackles.
A TFL, 5 total tackles.
Evan Fisher hits a 50ish yard field goal (0:55), for, well, whatever that's worth.
The standard line is you expect and want your defense to be ahead of your offense in Spring camp, so maybe this is a reason to freak out about the losses of Lewis, Dennard, Bullough, and Allen, but uh, probably not. The real key to Spring practices is you really don't want to be too successful at one side of the ball or the other, so this result seems to fit that ideal instead.
If this year follows past years, there's a 100% chance the defense will win the second scrimmage, by hook or by crook, so don't be surprised if the passing numbers don't look so good next time. Most importantly, it doesn't sound like anyone got injured today, which is the real victory. Basically, you can sort of tell how the scrimmage went based off of whether your head coach says "we have to continue to get better." (bad) or "we have to continue to get better, but [some positive statement]." (good). Today?
There's no question that we have to continue to get better, but there's also no question that we've got some guys that can make some plays.
I'm gonna count this one as a good sign.