Notes from Michigan State's second scrimmage

August, 22, 2009
8/22/09
4:02
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

Sorry this is coming in a bit late, but Michigan State held its second controlled scrimmage Friday afternoon, running through 99 plays at Spartan Stadium. The scrimmage was closed to the media, but Michigan State released the statistical leaders from the session.

A few notes:

  • True freshman Larry Caper led the running backs with 14 carries for 68 yards and a touchdown. Both Caper and classmate Edwin Baker (32 yards) were featured in this scrimmage, while Caulton Ray again finished among the leading ball carriers with 37 rush yards. Maybe Ray's stock continues to rise in the running back race.
  • Head coach Mark Dantonio praised his quarterbacks and said the offense executed better than in Monday's scrimmage, though the numbers don't really bear it out. Quarterbacks Keith Nichol and Kirk Cousins combined to complete 13 of 27 pass attempts for 173 yards with a touchdown and an interception (both thrown by Cousins).
  • Senior Blair White led the receivers with 66 yards on three catches, while true freshman tight end Dion Sims continued to contribute with the lone touchdown grab.
  • Star linebacker Greg Jones led the defense with 10 tackles, including two for loss and a sack. Cornerback Chris L. Rucker picked off Cousins in the red zone. Dantonio also singled out defensive lineman Oren Wilson for his play.

"Both quarterbacks threw some strikes today," offensive coordinator Don Treadwell said. "In fact, Kirk and Keith each completed a throw with the defensive back draped all over the receiver. Those two guys know how to compete, and they continue to make our jobs tough in the evaluation process."

Defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi said the Spartans used several players in the scrimmage who hadn't played much before (i.e. freshmen).

"The tackling was a little bit better earlier in this scrimmage than the first one," Narduzzi said. "We saw some huge hits out there, and that's one of the things we like to see in our defense."

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