MINNEAPOLIS — It definitely wasn’t the season the Michigan State Spartans had hoped for or expected, however, MSU (6-6, 3-5) was able to finish the regular season on a good note with a 26-10 victory over the Minnesota Golden Gophers (6-6, 2-6) on the road.
Le’Veon Bell ran all over the Minnesota defense as he rushed for a career-high 266 yards and a late touchdown which helped put the game away for MSU. Tonight’s game was Bell’s third 200-yard game this season, and his 1, 648 rushing yards on the season places him second, passing Javon Ringer, on the single-season rushing total list for a Spartan running back.
While Bell and the O-line of the Spartans were clearly the focus tonight, MSU quarterback Andrew Maxwell had a forgettable game. He went 13-of-29 for 143 yards, a touchdown and two interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown. However, the junior quarterback had a great drive in the second quarter to give Michigan State the lead once and for all. On that drive, Maxwell went 5-of-7 for 74 yards and ended it with a 40-yard touchdown pass which was intended for Tony Lippett on a short route but found its way into the hands of Bennie Fowler who took it to the house.
Fowler, the Spartans leading receiver tonight, finished the game with seven catches for 101 yards and a touchdown.
I wasn’t what the doctor ordered, but MSU head coach Mark Dantonio found a way to get his team bowl eligible. (AP PHOTO)
On the other side of the ball, the Spartans may have had their best performance all season.
Michigan State held the Golden Gophers to only 96 total yards, four of which came via rushing.
Minnesota true freshman quarterback Philip Nelson had a tough outing against the MSU defense as he was 10-of-23 for 61 yards with three interceptions. MSU senior defensive back Johnny Adams did everything in his power to make sure that his college career didn’t end in Minneapolis, as he was on the receiving end of two Nelson interceptions.
Corner Darqueze Denard and safety RJ Williamson both added an interception as well.
Junior linebacker Max Bullough led the Spartans with seven tackles, and defensive linemen William Gholston and Micajah Reynolds both recorded a sack.
Adams wasn’t the only senior on this team who didn’t want his career to come to an end today. Kicker Dan Conroy, who has been a huge disappointment all season, went 4-for-5 on the day including a 48-yard field goal in the first quarter.
Unfortunately for the Golden Gophers, not only did they lose at home, but their head coach Jerry Kill suffered a seizure at halftime and didn’t come out for the second half. According to sources, Kill was not hospitalized and is at home.
It’s not official what bowl game the Spartans will be heading to, but rumor has it (word to Adele) that MSU will be playing a Big 12 team in the 24th annual Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl on Dec. 29 in Tempe, Ariz.