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Miss. State scrimmage shows mixed results

By By Tony Krausz/assistant sports editor
April 4, 2004
STARKVILLE Mississippi State University showed the ability to both create and make turnovers in its first football scrimmage of the spring.
The Bulldog defense intercepted four passes during the near two-hour scrimmage, twice picking the ball off on deflections at the line of scrimmage.
Aries Nelson threw three interceptions, and Omarr Conner threw one. The two sophomore quarterbacks rotated series with the first team throughout the scrimmage.
Conner finished the day completing 6-of-15 passes for 77 yards, and Nelson went 8-for-23 for 40 yards.
The offense failed to score a touchdown and the closest the ball came to the end zone was the 16-yard line near the end of the scrimmage. The offense gained 244 yards.
Both quarterbacks and center Brian Anderson struggled to connect smoothly on the snap, with both signal-callers dropping numerous snaps.
After a slow start, MSU's running game was able to crack through the defense for some big runs.
The Bulldogs rushed for 127 yards on 83 carries, with Fred Reid leading the way chalking up 72 yards on 13 carries. Freshman halfback Jason Jude ran for 64 yards on 14 carries, and Carlton Rice rushed for 45 yards on 19 carries.
Jerious Norwood had seven carries for 20 yards. The junior back left the field early in the scrimmage after getting poked in the eye.
Norwood wore a patch over his eye at the end of practice, but Croom said the 192-pound back will be fine and was kept out of the scrimmage just as a precaution.
Along with showing it can create turnovers, the defense showed a proficiency to be able to get to the quarterback.
The Bulldogs recorded 12 sacks, led by Avery Hannibal's three for 15 lost yards. Andrew Powell had two sacks, and Rico Bennett, Roosevelt Tate, Clarence McDougal, Deljuan Robinson, Stephen Arant and David Heard each had one.
Linebacker Jeramie Johnson led MSU in tackles with 10, and defensive tackle Andrew Powell recorded nine stops. Hannibal, Marvin Byrdsong and Brad Horton each had eight tackles.
Corey Clark, Willie Evans, Eric Fuller and Johnson each had one interception.

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