Junior quarterback Tyler Russell capped his spring looking very much in command this past Saturday in Mississippi State's annual Maroon-White spring game.
Russell finished 24-of-43 for 312 yards and two touchdowns in leading the Maroon to a 33-22 victory over the White before an announced crowd of 22,604. It's obvious the Bulldogs have tweaked their offense to take advantage of Russell's ability to throw the ball from the pocket, and they threw it quite a bit this spring. The concern is going to be protecting Russell, who was sacked five times in the spring game. Guard Tobias Smith was still recovering from knee surgery this spring, and he will be one of the Bulldogs' leaders up front in the fall. They're still searching for the right combination in the offensive line and also trying to develop some depth.
There's no shortage of depth at running back. Redshirt freshman running back Josh Robinson ripped off a 55-yard touchdown run. Junior LaDarius Perkins had 55 yards on seven carries, including an 11-yard touchdown run -- all in the first half. Redshirt freshman Nick Griffin also showed up this spring. Perkins may be the starter going into the season, but he's going to have plenty of competition.
Russell was able to spread the ball around this spring, and this should be the best group of receivers and tight ends the Bulldogs have had under Dan Mullen. Even All-SEC cornerback Johnthan Banks lined up at receiver in the spring game and caught a 17-yard pass. Sophomore Jameon Lewis led the Mississippi State receivers with 10 catches for 144 yards and a touchdown, and redshirt freshman Joe Morrow continued to impress with six catches for 97 yards, including a 17-yard touchdown pass from Russell. The 6-foot-4, 205-pound Morrow gives the Bulldogs a bigger threat who will be a tough matchup for teams down the field.
True freshman defensive tackle Quay Evans had three sacks (all in the first half), and could very well open the 2012 season as a starter. Sophomore linebacker Ferlando Bohanna had a game-high eight tackles.
The game was played on a 55-yard field because a stage was set up in one end zone for a concert following the game.
Fans can read more about the Bulldogs' spring game here.