Spartans’ inexperienced offense led by Maxwell, Bell
The Chippewa defense allowed 308 yards of total offense Thursday against Southeast Missouri State. This week, they are faced with the challenge of stopping the Michigan State Spartans.
In their first game without a host of playmakers on offense, the Spartans relied on one that remained. Junior running back Le’Veon Bell carried the ball 44 times for 210 yards and two touchdowns in the Spartans’ season opening win against Boise State.
“Le’Veon Bell runs tough,” senior safety Jahleel Addae said. “We know that, and we’re ready for the challenge.”
Junior Andrew Maxwell is expected to make his second start as the Spartans’ quarterback after throwing for 248 yards and three interceptions in his debut.
“I think he played pretty well after watching the video,” head coach Dan Enos said. “He got pressured, but he also made some big throws on third downs.”
Maxwell and an inexperienced receiving core, led by junior Bennie Fowler and sophomores Tony Lippett and Keith Mumphery, looked a bit out of sync but showed potential in the season-opener.
Junior tight end Dion Sims led the team with seven catches for 65 yards.
The offensive line is a strong point for MSU. It returns seven members with starting experience. Senior right tackle Fou Fonoti, senior right guard Chris McDonald, sophomore center Travis Jackson, redshirt freshman left guard Jack Allen and senior left tackle Dan France top the depth chart at their respective positions.
“Offensively and defensively, they’re very talented,” Enos said. “They don’t have weaknesses; they’re a top-10 football program.”
MSU said goodbye to three-year starting quarterback Kirk Cousins this offseason, who threw for 3,316 yards and 25 touchdowns in 2011. The Holland, Mich. native left East Lansing ranked first all-time in passing touchdowns (66), passing yards (9,131), completions (723), passing efficiency (146.1 rating) and total offense (9,004 yards).
The Spartans will also have to fill the roles of last season’s top wide receivers, B.J. Cunningham and Keshawn Martin. The wideout combo accumulated 2,083 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2011, averaging more than 148 yards per game together.
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