Friday, August 31, 2012

Thoughts from MSU's 17-13 win over Boise State

Say what you will, a win is a win.
Michigan State obviously didn’t look like a well-polished national title contender in Friday’s 17-13 win over Boise State, but I don’t think many expected that.
Bottom line for the Spartans was they got a win over a program that has been in the national spotlight for the better part of a decade and is known for pulling off upsets to open the season.
There are plenty of questions ahead for MSU, especially on offense, but this game was like an NCAA Tournament game, just survive and advance.
Still, there are talking points from the game. Here is what stood out to me.

Andrew Maxwell struggled and has plenty of room to grow
Maxwell was just 22-of-38 for 241 yards in his first start. He had three interceptions and no touchdowns. The first INT was not his fault, but he could take plenty of blame for the other two. Maxwell never got settled in and wasn’t consistent with his ability to lead the offense. Had that first INT been a completion (as it should have been) and not an interception, perhaps he would have had a different performance. The Spartan receivers didn’t do much to help him and he didn’t do much to help them. I suspect he will look much better next week at Central Michigan, but Spartan fans certainly didn’t gain much confidence in his ability to win a game.

Le’Veon Bell is a stud
Bell was everything MSU could have asked for on Friday. 44 carries for 209 yards and two scores. It was impressive for its physicality as much as it was for its results. Bell took a number of hits (perhaps too many) but kept on going. Certainly MSU can’t rely on him that heavily going forward, but it is clear he is willing to take the offense on his back if need be.

The MSU Defense is as good as advertised
Boise State had just 208 total yards of offense but had a chance to win. It was no fault of the defense, which set the tone right away. The MSU line put plenty of pressure on Joe Southwick and never allowed D.J. Harper to get going (15 carries, 8 yards). We don’t know how good the Boise State offense will be, but I suspect the Broncos will never be held to fewer yards than they were tonight. Regardless of what the offense does, MSU should be in every game due to its defense.

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