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Defense shows improvement in Northern spring scrimmage

It's a tough dilemma for Montana State University-Northern football coach Mark Samson when it comes to spring scrimmages.

If one side of the football shines, it usually means the other side isn't playing quite so well.

After getting manhandled a week ago, the Lights' defense showed considerable improvement in Sunday's intrasquad hour-long scrimmage at the Northern practice field.

The Lights' defense showed improved tackling, sacked opposition quarterbacks a handful of times and forced four fumbles - one of which Brent Finneman scooped up and ran back for a touchdown.

"I thought the defense played pretty well," Samson said. "They got some turnovers and looked much better than last week. It's good to see them make some strides. Of course, our offense did a few things to help them out."

The fumbles were particularly aggravating to Samson. "We didn't execute as sharp as we did last week," he said. "We can't put the ball on the ground like that."

Northern's offense was far from completely stagnant. In fact, it showed flashes of brilliance in scoring five times. Quarterbacks Kyle Samson and Neill Crandell each threw for a touchdown, while Samson and Tanner Cochrell each rushed for a score.

"We still have some positions that we need to be more consistent at," Samson said.

As with all spring practices, Samson saw plenty of things that must be worked on.

"We have to learn how to be ready to play when they show up at the field," Samson said.

Northern will scrimmage again on April 17 at 10 a.m.


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