Mississippi State planned to start true freshman Garrett Shrader at quarterback against Louisville in the Music City Bowl.
But now there has been a change of plans — reportedly under ugly circumstances.
MSU head coach Joe Moorhead confirmed Thursday that it will be Tommy Stevens, a senior graduate transfer from Penn State, who will get the start. Why the change? According to Moorhead, Shrader suffered an “upper body injury.”
There were no other specifics given from Moorhead. According to a few outlets, however, Shrader was injured during practice on Friday as a result of an altercation with a teammate. Per 247Sports.com, Shrader and a defensive player had a “confrontation stemming from an in-practice drill” that resulted in “some orbital bone damage” for the quarterback.
The Starkville Daily News is reporting that the other player involved in the altercation was linebacker Willie Gay.
As first mentioned by @PJ247Sports, Mississippi State QB Garrett Shrader isn’t expected to play on Monday. Multiple sources have told the SDN Shrader and LB Willie Gay were involved in an altercation at practice Friday and Shrader was injured. Joe Moorhead to speak later today.
— Joel Coleman (@JoelTColeman) December 26, 2019
With Shrader out, Keytaon Thompson will back up Stevens for Monday afternoon’s game in Nashville, Moorhead said. Moorhead also told reporters that no players are suspended for the game.
Shrader threw for 1,170 yards, eight touchdowns and five interceptions while completing 57.5 percent of his passes. He also rushed for 587 yards and six scores in his four starts. Stevens, who played at Penn State when Moorhead was the Nittany Lions’ offensive coordinator, made eight starts and threw for 934 yards, nine touchdowns and five interceptions. He added 310 yards and three scores on the ground.
Both players have dealt with an assortment of injuries throughout the season. A rib injury sidelined Stevens in the Egg Bowl against Ole Miss and Shrader was able to lead MSU to a victory that clinched bowl eligibility. Moorhead’s job status was in flux entering that game, but the school opted to keep him on for another year following the victory.
The Bulldogs have a 14-10 (7-9 SEC) record in two seasons under Moorhead.
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