Found September 22, 2012 on isportsweb.com:
PLAYERS: Andrew Maxwell
TEAMS:

East Lansing, Mich— It sure wasn’t pretty, but the Michigan State Spartans were able to avoid a major upset, as they defeated the Eastern Michigan Eagles 23-7 in Spartans Stadium.

The Spartans were led by none other than Le’Veon Bell, who rushed for a career-high 253-yards and a touchdown.

Spartans kicker Dan Conroy went 3-of-4 and was the only point scorer for Michigan  State until Andrew Maxwell connected with Dion Sims on a 10-yard pass with a little over 7 minutes left in the game.

Eastern Michigan went into the second-half with a 7-3 lead over the Spartans, and held the Michigan State passing attack to only 31 yards.

Spartans quarterback Andrew Maxwell didn’t get any help from his struggling receiving corps, which dropped six balls in the first-half, one less drop than their loss last week to Notre Dame.

“We need to play more consistent,” MSU head coach Mark Dantonio said. “Players make plays, plays don’t make players.”

Consistency is one thing that the Spartans can’t find from their passing attack. If it’s not a dropped ball, it’s an overthrow. If it’s not an interception, it’s a fumble.

Le’Veon Bell continues to carry the Spartans to victory.

“Whether it’s dropping balls or turnovers, we have to eliminate those,” Bell said. “We have talented guys on the outside, those guys just have to make those plays. I have to make plays.”

Clearly, Bell was being modest being that he is the Michigan State offense. Bell carried the ball 36 times, and after a few mishandles on punt return by Nick Hill, he took over those duties as well.

“A guy puts the ball on the ground; you have to put someone back there to field the punts,” MSU offensive coordinator Dan Roushar said. “Le’Veon stepped up and did a good job.”

Dantonio wasn’t overly pleased with the rest of the Spartans performance, especially the passing game.

“You have to catch the ball,” Dantonio stated. ” Throwing and catching. If there’s nothing wrong with the route and the ball is there you have to catch it. I hate to lay it out there like that but that’s just the way it is.”

The concern for the Spartans has come from those guys on the outside, as they have struggled to make plays for the MSU offense all season.

The leading wide receiver for the Spartans today was sophomore Keith Mumphrey, and he only had three catches for 21 yards. Junior Bennie Fowler had four catches for 19 yards, and sophomore Tony Lippett had two catches for 15 yards.

“We’re going to keep getting better, we still have a lot of young guys and inexperienced guys, and they’re going to keep getting better,” Bell said about his receivers.

One guy that Maxwell can rely on is tight end Dion Sims. While the young receivers struggled for the Spartans, Sims finished the game strong after being non-existent in the first-half. He had six catches for 112 yards and a touchdown, but more importantly he has stepped up as the playmaker for the Spartans passing attack.

When Maxwell was asked how big of a lift did Sims give him today, he responded: “That’s something that he does. That’s one thing he did against Boise State, and that’s the kind of player he is.”

Fowler, who has had struggles of his own, praised the play of Sims.

“Great hands, great route running ability,” Fowler said. “He makes the big plays so he’s going to take a lot off the receivers and he opens up a lot of things.”

There aren’t many positive things to take out of the Spartans 16-point win against the Eagles, but Maxwell think that this game will help Michigan State going forward.

“We battled back, and we trusted each other,” Maxwell said. “We are going to grow closer as a team because of that.”

Michigan State is heading into Big Ten play next week, as they host the Ohio State Buckeyes. While Maxwell believes this team will grow, I just don’t see it happening any time soon.

While many might see Bell’s performance today as a positive, I think it’s evident that it’s a negative for the Spartans as a team.

Games like today are the ones where inexperienced players like Maxwell, Fowler, Mumphrey, and Lippett are supposed to get reps and build chemistry. When you struggle against teams of EMU’s caliber, ranked 116th in the country in total defense, you can’t improve on your weaknesses, you have to go to your “bread and butter” every play and that won’t get these inexperienced players any better.

It’s unfortunate at this point in the season that there has not been a standout receiver, and with games against Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, and Boise State, you would think that someone would become that guy on the outside.

Instead of improving chemistry and building as a unit going forward, the Michigan State offense is still having tryouts at the receiver position. Throughout Big Ten play you will continue to see numerous receiver combinations until someone separates themselves from the pack.

Bell and Sims can’t be the only playmakers on this offense. The Spartans need speed down the field speed to stretch defenses so that Bell can continue to breakdown defenses. If the Spartans can’t spread the field, then defenses will stack the box and contain Bell, which will leave kicker Dan Conroy and punter Mike Sadler very busy.

THE BACKYARD
BEST OF MAXIM
RELATED ARTICLES

MSU Vs. Eastern Michigan Recap

On Saturday, Michigan State defeated Eastern Michigan 23-7 in a game in which Andrew Maxwell, Le’Veon Bell and the MSU offense couldn’t string together at touchdown drive until the 4th quarter. So, why did the Spartans beat the Eastern Michigan Eagles? Le’Veon Bell powered through for 36 carries, 253 yards and 1 TD. Eastern Michigan has an awful rush defense, but everyone knew...

Michigan State Vs. Eastern Michigan Preview

This week, Andrew Maxwell and the Michigan State Spartans are taking on the 0-3 Eastern Michigan Eagles at 3:30 PM on Big Ten Network. Last week, in my Notre Dame preview, I stated that one of the keys to the game was the Spartans offensive line. Wow, did I nail that one right on the head. The O-Line collapsed and MSU got crushed. Anyways, on to the game preview. In the Q&A...

Mark Dantonio’s Post Game Interview

After the Eastern Michigan Vs. Michigan State game, Mark Dantonio took the podium for the weekly post-game interview. If you’ve seen any Dantonio Post-Game interview, you’ve probably seen him calmly answer questions. Not here. In this interview, Dantonio was short, snarky, mean, and looked just flat out infuriated. For a good reason- MSU looked awful against Eastern Michigan...

Spartans Shut Off Media Access For The Week

The Michigan State Spartans announced on Monday that the Spartan football players and assistant coaches will not be available to the media for the week of the Ohio State game. This is not very surprising, for a few reasons. NEXT QUESTION. Why did they do this? Mark Dantonio is full of anger Coach D, in his press conference, was visibly irate. You knew that he was so angry with his...

Mark Dantonio goes ‘next question’ on reporters in brief press conference (Video)

Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio must have been pretty dissatisfied after his team’s 23-7 win over Eastern Michigan on Saturday, because he gave mostly terse answers to the media in his postgame news conference. The entire press conference last about two and a half minutes. It featured an opening statement from Dantonio, and then one semi-involved response to a question. After...

Video: Mark Dantonio’s Cranky Press Conference After Win Over Eastern Michigan

Mark Dantonio had every right to be frustrated with his Michigan State team's effort following a shaky 23-7 win over Eastern Michigan on Saturday. Continue reading →

Spartans with room for improvement before Ohio St

Michigan State's lackluster win last weekend got to coach Mark Dantonio. After the Spartans beat Eastern Michigan 23-7 Saturday, Dantonio hurried through a terse news conference full of abrupt answers. The Michigan State coach said ''next question'' seven times in under a minute and was clearly annoyed with the way his team played. On Tuesday, Dantonio spoke...

Video: Mark Dantonio doesn’t have time for your ridiculous question

Michigan State followed up their ugly loss to Notre Dame with a questionable performance, but a win, against Eastern Michigan. It wasn’t a pretty, but a win’s a win. After the game, however, head coach Mark Dantonio wasn’t exactly in the talking mood. His postgame press conference was indicative of that and he certainly didn’t [...]

Tuesday Conversation: Mark Dantonio

Transcript from Michigan State head coach Mark Dantonio's talk with the local media on Tuesday.

Post Game: Chris McDonald

Video of Michigan State offensive lineman Chris McDonald following the Spartans win over Eastern Michigan.

Post Game: Kurtis Drummond

Kurtis Drummond played a solid role in Michigan State's win over Eastern Michigan. Following the game, Drummond spoke with members of the media about his performance and this week's opponent Ohio State.

No. 21 Michigan St. 23, E. Michigan 7

Le'Veon Bell rushed for a career-high 253 yards and a touchdown to help stagnant Michigan State avoid a major upset with a 23-7 win over Eastern Michigan on Saturday. Dan Conroy kicked three field goals for the No. 21 Spartans (3-1), who failed to score a TD for more than seven quarters until Andrew Maxwell hit tight end Dion Sims on a 10-yard pass with 7:19 left. Michigan...

Bell carries Spartans past Eastern Michigan

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Le'Veon Bell rushed for a career-high 253 yards and a touchdown to help stagnant Michigan State avoid a major upset with a 23-7 win over Eastern Michigan on Saturday. Dan Conroy kicked three field goals for the No. 21 Spartans (3-1), who failed to score a TD for more than seven quarters until Andrew Maxwell hit tight end Dion Sims on a 10-yard pass...

E Michigan comes close, falls to No. 21 Spartans

For more than three quarters, Eastern Michigan was in perfect position to stun Michigan State and pull off one of the biggest upsets in Spartan Stadium history. But Le'Veon Bell rushed for a career-high 253 yards and a touchdown to lift the No. 21 Spartans (3-1) past the winless Eagles 23-7 on Saturday. ''The issue is, at the end of the game, we're not finishing...
Spartans News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.