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Dantonio: Maxwell still No. 1 QB for MSU

Despite getting pulled in the final minutes of the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, Andrew Maxwell remains Michigan State's No. 1 quarterback going into spring, head coach Mark Dantonio said at the Michigan High School Football Coaches Association on Friday.

"I will say this: Andrew Maxwell is still our No. 1 quarterback," Dantonio said. "I think he’s proven over the long haul that, he’s been in our program for four years. I think he understands what to do, he needs to do things better at certain times, but that’s where I stand on that aspect.”

Redshirt freshman Connor Cook led the Spartans down the field in the final two minutes and helped set up Dan Conroy's game-winning field goal in the 17-16 victory over TCU in the bowl game. Michigan State coaches said the competition for the quarterback job would be opened in the spring, with freshman Tyler O'Connor and recruit Damion Terry also in the mix.

Still, it makes sense that Maxwell would enter the spring as the No. 1 guy. After all, he started all 13 games this past season and will be a senior who has spent five years in the program. Though Cook gave the team a spark in the bowl, he only completed 4 of 11 passes for 47 yards. He and the other two youngsters will have to prove they have what it takes to beat out the veteran starter.

It doesn't really matter who's No. 1 on the depth chart in mid-January, anyway. Maxwell's grip on the job is far from secure, and the Spartans have eight months to figure out if they have a better option on hand.