Offense shines in Mississippi State Football's spring game

Jeff Lebby's offense put on a show in the 2024 Maroon and White game.
Sep 9, 2023; Starkville, Mississippi, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs running back Jeffery Pittman
Sep 9, 2023; Starkville, Mississippi, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs running back Jeffery Pittman / Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

Mississippi State football closed out their 2024 spring practices on Saturday with the Maroon and White spring game. It's been a pivotal spring for the Bulldogs as they move into the Jeff Lebby era. Lebby was ultimately hired for his offensive acumen, and that was on full display in the spring game.

In an Offense vs Defense affair with a modified scoring system, Offense, the Maroon team, prevailed 67-53 over the White team Defense.

Baylor-transfer quarterback Blake Shapen had an incredible day. After a quick three-and-out to open the day, Shapen and the first team offense put on a show. He completed 18-22 passes for 312 yards and three touchdowns, all in the first half.

Shapen's first touchdown came on this 40-yard bomb down the sidelines to UTEP-transfer wide receiver Kelly Akharaiyi.

Akharaiyi had a big day for the offense, as did Louisville-transfer Kevin Coleman. Both of those players looked the part on Saturday. At this point, we should be expecting Shapen and the transfer wideouts to have a big season.

The transfers weren't the only receivers making big plays. State's talented true freshman WRs got the chance to showcase their skillsets. Starkville's own Braylon "Stonka" Burnside made few nice plays, and Mario Craver stood out in a big way working out of the slot.

Here he is hauling in a 60-yard touchdown on a fade from Chris Parson.

In the ground game, Jeffery Pittman looked very impressive with several tough runs and nice burst. He showed he can be a nice complement in the backfield alongside transfer Rashad Amos, who will be joining the team later this year.

Of course, with so much scoring, the defense naturally comes under some scrutiny, and there were certainly plenty of yards to be had by the offense. But there will still some big plays on the defensive side.

JUCO-transfer safety Tyler Woodard foced a goalline fumble of Kevin Coleman to prevent a touchdown early in the game. Linebacker Branden Jennings made a few nice plays, including a sack of Chris Parson. And defensive lineman Deonte Anderson had a great tackle for loss on a third down to force a field goal attempt.

It was a successful spring game for Mississippi State football. State came out of it relatively healthy, and the performance from Jeff Lebby's offense is reason to be excited about this season. Now the attention turns to the transfer portal as MSU will look to continue improving their roster before the fall.