SAN JOSE -- San Jose State's quarterback competition remains too close to call, but the most encouraging aspect of Saturday's final scrimmage of training camp was the running game.
Jarrod Lawson had 111 yards on eight carries and freshmen Brandon Monroe and Limihai Hifo delivered several powerful runs as the running game produced 206 yards.
Three backs -- Thomas Tucker, Lawson and Monroe -- also combined to catch four passes for 89 yards and two touchdowns.
"I haven't seen clear holes like that in a while," Lawson said. "If our running game keeps being productive like this, it's going to be real hard to stop us."
Monroe, in his first live action since shoulder surgery in the spring, had five carries for 32 yards. His first run was an 18-yarder in which he ran through tacklers. He followed that with a 10-yard run in which he was nearly stopped at the line of scrimmage before breaking free. His biggest play came in the passing game when he caught a 48-yard touchdown from Joe Gray.
"It's been a while," Monroe said. "It's definitely a great feeling to come back strong. The shoulder is feeling really good right now."
Hifo, a true freshman who will likely figure into the rotation, had a 26-yard run as part of a five-carry, 38-yard effort.
"Very encouraging," coach Ron Caragher said. "We want to utilize our backfield. I think we have a group of guys."
The quarterback battle was about as even as it could get.
Senior Blake Jurich completed 11 of 19 passes for 130 yards and one touchdown, a 4-yard pass to Lawson to successfully finish off a two-minute-drive drill to complete his day. He led six drives, and the first three came up empty. But he had back-to-back field-goal drives and then the touchdown.
Gray was 11 of 17 for 123 yards and one touchdown. The Spartans scored on three of his five possessions. One was capped by a 23-yard field goal by Austin Lopez, another by a 2-yard touchdown run from Chris Dadson. There was also a missed 50-yard field goal by Michael Carrizosa. Gray's two-minute drive ended when he was sacked on fourth-and-2 from the 30 as time expired.
"I think missed opportunities are a big part that don't show up in statistics," Caragher said. "But all in all, I think we moved the ball, we moved the chains."
Caragher plans to meet with his quarterbacks either Sunday or Monday morning to inform the starter, with a public announcement coming at Monday's practice.
"I think I have a feel based on the bigger picture," he said. "I'll go back, watch the film and just see if those thoughts are correct. But coming out of it, I thought it was pretty good. Both quarterbacks did a good job."
It wasn't all about the offense. Cedric Lousi, returning to the team after serving a two-year church mission, had three sacks, another tackle for loss and a quarterback hurry that forced an incompletion. Two of his sacks came on the first four plays of the scrimmage.
"I can't tell you the feeling stepping back on the field now after being away for two and a half years," Lousi said. "That first snap, you could tell I was real excited. I took it as if it was a real game. I'm excited to see what's going to happen this season."
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North Dakota at San Jose State, 7 p.m.