STARKVILLE Mississippi State went through its second fall scrimmage on Saturday night under the lights of Davis Wade Stadium.

MSU coach Joe Moorhead left the second scrimmage pleased with the competitive nature in which his team performed.

“Anytime you have an intrasquad scrimmage, what you want to see is a great level of effort, an increased understanding of the scheme and improved execution,” Moorhead said. “You want both sides of the ball to be competitive and see special teams do well. I thought for the most part the kids had great urgency and knew what they were doing for the most part. We’ll get those things cleaned up. I thought it was a heck of a competitive practice.”

Moorhead mentioned that he liked the way the ball was spread around on offense. Running back Kylin Hill ripped off some big runs in limited action as did true freshman Lee Witherspoon, who scored a touchdown.

Defensively, true freshman cornerback Martin Emerson Jr. came up with the lone turnover with a sideline interception.

Moorhead was also encouraged by the play of his quarterbacks. Graduate transfer Tommy Stevens and junior Keytaon Thompson continue to compete for the starting job.

“Both of them are taking positive steps forward,” Moorhead said. “I think they’re pushing each other and making each other better. I also the think the young guys – particularly Garrett (Shrader) – are taking nice strides. (Shrader) had another nice scrimmage.”

The Bulldogs had hoped to have their initial scrimmage in the stadium as well last week but were unable to due to rain. A third and final scrimmage of the fall is scheduled for Wednesday in the stadium.

Missing persons

Defensive tackle Kendell Jones (upper body) and linebacker Willie Gay Jr. (lower body) both missed Saturday’s scrimmage with injuries. Neither are expected to be out long term.

Devonta Jason is currently not in camp with the team. Moorhead stated that the sophomore wide receiver is back home in New Orleans with his mother dealing with some personal matters.

“We talk to him on a daily basis and we’ve given him a time frame of when we want to address it and see where he’s at mentally,” Moorhead said. “Year 21 of being a husband and a father of young kids, sometimes we lose sight of the emotional component and get caught up with playing time and depth charts.

“Kids have problems that are outside the white lines. We’re doing everything we can to support him. It doesn’t have anything to do with football. If I have a young man sitting across from me, I’d want someone to treat him like my own son. We’re giving him support and want him to be here. The decision he makes, we’re going to stand behind him.”

Running back signee Kareem Walker has still not enrolled and the Bulldogs have not heard anything from the NCAA on the appeal for a sixth-year of eligibility for graduate transfer punter Corliss Waitman.

logan.lowery@journalinc.com Twitter: @loganlowery

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