April 25, 2009

QBs star as White tops Green in OT, 38-37

Saturday's Green and White game was a coming out party for the Michigan State passing game. With quarterback Kirk Cousins (29-43, 357 yards and 4 TD's) and Keith Nichol (20-28, 357 yards, 4 TD's) combining for 714 yards and 8 touchdown passes and no interceptions; the Spartan passing game looks to be a major strength as they the Mark Dantonio's troops wrapped up spring camp with the White Team prevailing, 38-37, in overtime.

Cousins and Nichol connected with 19 different receivers on the afternoon. Touchdowns were caught by seven different players; including redshirt freshman Myles White, who caught two passes for 86 yards, including a 39-yard touchdown from Nichol with 50 seconds left in regulation to give the Green team a short lived 31-24 lead.

"It was supposed to be a comeback (route) but Ross (Weaver) sat on the route and was waiting for it. We had been running that play for a while now. When I saw that Ross was sitting, I kind of adjusted the route and went to a go. At first I didn't think Keith saw me, but then he put (the ball) in the right spot at the right time between two defenders. And I just kind of went up and the ball was right in my hands. I thought at first that the referees didn't think it was a touchdown, so I raised the ball in the air and said 'I caught it! I caught it!' I was really excited. I got really hyped. It was a great throw by Keith so I'd give all the credit to him really."

The lead was short lived because the Green Team and their hurry up offense scored their fourth touchdown of the afternoon on a seven-yard pass from Cousins to tight end Charlie Gnatt as time expired in regulation.

Both teams scored a TD in overtime, with the White Team's victory coming when Cousins' two-point conversion pass was broken up in the end zone to end the game, 38-37.

White and Nichol spent time last year playing the parts of the Spartans' weekly opponents as members of the scout team.

"I worked with Keith on the scout team last year, so we kind of got acquainted that way," White recalled.

And it was their scout team duo who gave the underdog White squad the chance at overtime, which resulted in an upset victory and a steak dinner.

"(Both teams) had been talking trash ever since we got drafted the other day," White laughed. "The Green Team was supposed to blow us out, according to them. So it was great to play like we did. Toward the end it kind of got intense like a real game as we went back and forth."

So does White have any idea who the frontrunner for the starting QB job is at this point?

"Kirk and Keith, they are both playing so well," White said. "We are going to have to wait until fall to find out. One guy will play well one practice and the other guy will do well the next practice. It has been back and forth the whole time. I worked with Keith a lot last year, but I work with both guys all the time now, so there is no favoritism for myself with either guy.

"Both quarterbacks can make plays and keep a play alive," White continued. "So Coach Treadwell always teaches us to stay on the move and keep trying to find an open area so that the quarterback can get us the ball. If he scrambles, just try and adjust your route to help them. We are doing a pretty good job to get adjusted to him. I think all the receivers did pretty well today."

It is clear that from the quarterback spot on down the roster, year three of the Mark Dantonio regime shows a Spartan team with more depth, more talent and more heavy competition for playing time at a number of different positions. It is a position that every program hopes to reach during spring camp. Because when a team does attain that benchmark, success during the regular season is usually the result.

"Everyone wants to play," White said. "No one wants to sit the bench. We are all competing because there are no locked down spots at all. So today, everyone was just trying to earn a spot and make an impression. All fifteen practices this spring, everyone showed up and worked. Spring ball was really great because of that competition."

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