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Football reserves get final shot in scrimmage


David Miller



STARKVILLE -- Mississippi State''s football team had it''s last go Thursday at letting the youngsters run the show.  


As has been a theme this week, the Gator Bowl-bound Bulldogs have handed many of the first- and second-team snaps to freshmen and second- and third-team players.  


On Thursday, the No. 21 Bulldogs went under the lights at Davis Wade Stadium for the final time this year in an intra-squad scrimmage that capped a week''s worth of open practices.  


MSU''s future starters and contributors received the bulk of repetitions in the White Team''s 30-12 win. 


All of MSU''s starters were held out of competition. Redshirt freshman Dylan Favre scored all five of the White Team''s touchdowns, impressing with three touchdown runs and four fourth-down conversions.  


Favre showed his fun-loving nature by diving into the end zone on one of his touchdown runs and high-stepping across the goal line after a darting touchdown run up the middle.  


Favre was 15 of 20 for 174 yards and two touchdowns. He added 41 rushing yards on five carries and didn''t have a turnover.  


Favre guided the White Team to scores on its first five drives.  


While coach Dan Mullen was pleased to see Favre enjoying the moment, he cautioned reading too much into Thursday''s scrimmage. 


"I don''t think he can get away with that stuff if this was an SEC game," Mullen said. "That''s stuff he''s going to have to learn and develop. He''s a play-maker. You can see his excitement. He loves to play the game, and that''s really important." 


Favre wasn''t the only young player to make an impression, as freshman receiver Malcolm Johnson had four catches for 63 yards for the Maroon team. Classmate Jameon Lewis had six carries for 70 yards for the White team. 


Running back Nick Griffin -- hailed by teammates Vick Ballard and LaDarius Perkins as next season''s breakout runner -- had 12 carries for 45 yards. 


"Nick Griffin has really picked it up," Perkins said earlier this week. "When you think about what we have coming back and guys like Nick coming in next year, the future looks bright." 


Redshirt freshman quarterback Tyler Russell was 10 of 17 for 110 yards and a touchdown. 


Mullen hopes the extra practices during preparations for the teams game against the University of Michigan on Saturday, Jan. 1, will translate into a smooth spring practice.  


"It''s huge," Mullen said. "You''re two-and-a-half months out (from spring ball), so you''re hoping it''s building a foundation for them to go into this offseason and go into spring ball. Two-deep guys are ready to stop rolling, not just your older guys." 


Today, the Bulldogs begin game-planning for Michigan (7-5). The team will hold practices through Thursday, which will give the Bulldogs the same amount of time of a game week before they head home for Christmas.  


When the Bulldogs get to Jacksonville on Dec. 27, they''ll repeat the same practice routine.  


"The whole focus changes coming (today)," Mullen said. "We haven''t done much. We haven''t done a scouting report. We''ve just kind of worked on our skills and development. (Today) we start our scouting report."



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