September 6, 2017
Quarterback Brian Lewerke led a commanding opening drive in the Spartans’ season opener against Bowling Green on Saturday, however, it ended in agony.
Lewerke took the Spartans to the 1-yard line, but a handoff to junior running back LJ Scott at the 1 promptly ended an assertive offensive drive as Scott was hit by a Falcon defender, which freed the ball from his hands. The Falcons then recovered, eliminating what was an impressive drive for the Spartans.
LJ Scott would fumble once more on Saturday, with the Falcons once again gaining the advantage and running the loose ball into the end zone for a touchdown.
Scott’s fumbles are no unknown complication, though.
Last season, a fumble by Scott against Wisconsin resulted in a turnover and a touchdown by the Badgers.
Despite the turnovers, MSU head coach Mark Dantonio remains confident in Scott’s ability as a running back and isn’t concerned with his recent fumbles.
“I think LJ is a proven commodity, first of all, like the rest of our running backs,” he said. “They are guys that have carried the ball a lot. They have gained the yards and played against good competition and made plays and been consistent. So, you know, it happens.”
The third-year running back started in Saturday’s 35-10 over the Falcons, recording 39 yards rushing on 15 attempts.
Among the running back trio of Scott, Gerald Holmes and Madre London, Scott’s 39 yards rushing was the least of the three-man group.
“He’s more frustrated than I am,” Dantonio said. “And now, we just move on. So, obviously, you can’t do that on a consistent basis, but I don’t really worry about him. I don’t worry about that being a problem with him, and I think he’s a very good running back, and I think he’s got talent and he’ll be confident, and he’ll be excited to play.”
Scott, a native of Hubbard, Ohio, has recorded 1,732 yards rushing on 345 attempts in 27 career games.
Scott entered the 2017 season with 1,693 rushing yards, which is the fifth most by a Spartan through their sophomore season in MSU history.
“I still think LJ is an outstanding running back, and we’re going to give him the ball,” Lewerke said. “I don’t think there’s any separation.”
In spite of the fumbles, Scott, who underwent two surgeries in the offseason to heal the numbness he was enduring in his shoulders, is still listed as one of three starters at the tailback position entering Saturday’s game against Western Michigan.
There likely won’t be three running backs in the backfield to start against Western Michigan, but the team is still confident in Scott’s playmaking ability.
“LJ’s (fumbles), that’s just a fluke for him,” Lewerke said. “That won’t happen again, I don’t feel like.”