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Defense impresses in first MSU football scrimmage
Four interceptions, and eight sacks give coaches plenty to like.
Missouri State’s defense had eight sacks and four interceptions and got a 55-yard fumble return for a touchdown by Terian Washington to stand out Saturday in the Bears’ first intrasquad scrimmage of the spring.
Washington, a senior linebacker, jump-started the defense with the longest play of the day and the first score. He later recorded a sack and knocked down a pass at the line of scrimmage.
Fellow senior Sam Block had a pair of sacks and junior Jimmie Strong ended the scrimmage with an interception.
“The defense played with a lot of energy and enthusiasm,” defensive coordinator D.J. Vokolek said. “They flew around and made plays. I liked the effort and the way they were able to create some turnovers.”
The defense forced five turnovers in all with Wes Stammers, Skylar Smith and James Miller also contributing interceptions.
The first team offense was slow out of the gate with just two completions in Cody Kirby’s first six pass attempts. He then settled in to connect on seven straight completions for 72 yards.
Kirby finished the day 17-for-29 for 157 yards with two interceptions. He was sacked six times by the first-team defensive unit, giving head coach Terry Allen more reason to hail the performance of his defense.
“The defense did an outstanding job, especially the first unit,” Allen said. “They had six three-and-outs against the first offense, and the culmination of more than 100 plays was the interception by Jimmie Strong at the end.”
Stephen Johnston and Mikael Cooper-Falls both scored rushing touchdowns. Johnston and Chris Douglas led with 45 rushing yards apiece with Douglas getting a team-high 19 carries, and Johnston 13.
The Bears will conduct another controlled scrimmage next Saturday before concluding spring drills on April 24 with the Maroon and White game at 1 p.m.