Stats & Info: Andrew Maxwell

Spartans returnees look to answer Bell

April, 18, 2013
AP Photo/Al GoldisAndrew Maxwell will be under center for the Spartans once again this season.
With the college basketball season in the books, College Football Live embarks on its Spring Bus Tour, visiting eight schools. Today we take a trip to check out the Michigan State Spartans.

2012 Season Recap
Michigan State started strong with a win over No. 24 Boise State, with running back Le’Veon Bell running for 210 yards and two touchdowns on 44 carries and entering the very early Heisman conversation.

After starting 2-0, the Spartans lost six of their next nine games and had to win at Minnesota in the last week of the season to become bowl eligible.

In the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, the Spartans defense held their opponent to 20 points or fewer for the 10th time in 13 games and freshman QB Connor Cook led the team back from a 13-0 deficit in a 17-16 win over TCU.

Key Roster Notes
Bell and tight end Dion Sims are gone and four key defensive contributors will not be back, including DE William Gholston and CB Johnny Adams.

But seven offensive linemen with starting experience will return next season to protect senior QB Andrew Maxwell. His top five receivers from last season will return.

On defense, the Spartans’ top three tacklers and their interception leader -- CB Darqueze Dennard -- will be back.

2013 Outlook
In head coach Mark Dantonio’s first five seasons in East Lansing, Michigan State averaged 29.7 PPG. Last year the Spartans scored just 20.0 PPG, and with inconsistent play from Maxwell there will be competition to determine the starter, with sophomore Cook getting a chance.

They’ll need to replace Bell, who led all of FBS with 382 carries last year and served as the complete focal point for the offense.

A visit to Notre Dame will be the Spartans’ toughest non-conference test, but the rest of the schedule has them avoiding Wisconsin, Ohio State and Penn State in Big Ten play.

Notre Dame hopes to 'box' up Spartans

September, 14, 2012

Matt Cashore/US PresswireNotre Dame RB Cierre Wood returns from a two-game suspension Saturday against Michigan State. Wood rushed for 61 yards and two touchdowns last season against the Spartans.
In the only matchup between teams ranked in the AP Top-20 this weekend, No. 10 Michigan State hosts No. 20 Notre Dame at 8pm ET on ABC. The Spartans and Fighting Irish have split their last 10 meetings with the home team winning each of the last four contests.

The last time these two teams met in East Lansing, Michigan State defeated Notre Dame, 34-31, on a fake field goal in overtime two seasons ago. The 29-yard TD pass from Aaron Bates to Charlie Gantt gave the Spartans their first and only lead of the game.

Including that win, Michigan State is 9-1 in games decided by eight points or fewer since 2010. The win was also the second of what is now 15-straight wins at home for Michigan State, the fourth-longest active streak among FBS schools.

Notre Dame enters the game at 2-0 and hopes to win its first three games of the season for the first time since starting 8-0 in 2002. The Irish have entered their matchup with Michigan State at 2-0 twice since then (2005 & 2008) and lost each of those games on the road.

Should the Irish come away with the win, it would be their first win over a team ranked in the AP Top-10 since 2005 when they knocked off No. 3 Michigan. They have lost nine straight such games since then, the longest streak in Notre Dame history.

One player the Irish will need to slow down if they hope to come up with the road win is Michigan State RB Le'Veon Bell. Bell ranks sixth in the nation with 140.0 rush yards per game but has been limited when opponents have stacked the line of scrimmage.

Against defensive fronts with seven or more players in the box, Bell has averaged 3.5 yards per carry on 32 attempts with 37 yards after contact. Against fronts with six or fewer in the box, he has averaged 5.6 yards per carry on 30 attempts with 74 yards after contact.

You can expect Notre Dame to bring a safety or two up to help against the run because Spartans QB Andrew Maxwell has yet to stretch the field consistently. He’s completed only 38.9 percent of his pass attempts 10 yards or more downfield this season.

Speaking of defense, it’s tough to ignore the numbers that Michigan State has put up in two games this season.

The Spartans enter the weekend as one of three teams in the FBS yet to allow an offensive touchdown in 2012 and the other two (Florida State & TCU) have played only schools from the FCS. The 225.5 total yards they have allowed per game lead the Big Ten and rank eighth in the FBS.

Last weekend, Tommy Rees replaced Everett Golson at quarterback for Notre Dame’s final offensive drive against Purdue, which led to a game-winning field goal. However, head coach Brian Kelly said Golson will be the starter on Saturday.

Elsewhere in the backfield, the Irish hope the return of RB Cierre Wood will provide a spark against Michigan State like he did last season in South Bend. Wood, suspended the first two games of 2012, rushed for 61 yards and a pair of touchdowns in Notre Dame’s upset win over the No. 15 Spartans last season.

Boise brings 'A' game vs ranked opponents

August, 31, 2012
For the fourth straight season Boise State
is opening with a top-20 opponent, as the 24th-ranked Broncos face 13th-ranked Michigan State on Friday at 8 ET on ESPN.

However, this will be the first time the Broncos have played a true road game in the season opener since a loss at Georgia in 2005.


Over the last 10 seasons, no team has won more games or had a better win percentage than Boise State.

And the Broncos have been at their best against AP Top 25 opponents, winning six of seven games since the start of 2009. They're 5-0 in these games when they have more than two weeks to prepare, including 3-0 in season openers. Boise’s passing has been the key. The Broncos are averaging 270.6 pass yards per game against AP Top 25 teams since the start of the 2009 season.

The Broncos have won six straight and eight of their last nine games against BCS teams. Of those eight wins, six have been against ranked teams.

But this is a different team than it was the last four years. Joe Southwick will be Boise State’s starting quarterback. He has big shoes to fill, as he tries to replace Kellen Moore, the all-time winningest quarterback in FBS history with 50 victories.

Southwick does have some playing experience. He has played in 16 games as a backup over the last two seasons, completing 40-of-54 passes for 400 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.

This is just the second time the Broncos will face a Big Ten team – they lost at Wisconsin in 1997.

Boise State’s average drive started at its own 39-yard line last season, the best starting field position in FBS. Its opponents started at their own 24, which was the best defensive field position.


Field position may be tough to come by at Spartan Stadium, where Michigan State’s 14-game home win streak is the fourth-longest active streak among FBS teams. The last time the Spartans lost at home was in 2009 against Penn State.

Boise State isn't the only team in this matchup with a new quarterback replacing a stalwart. Andrew Maxwell will be Michigan State’s starting quarterback. He will be replacing Kirk Cousins, the Spartans’ all-time leader in wins, passing yards and passing touchdowns.

In addition to losing Cousins, the Spartans also lost their top-four pass catchers (by receiving yards) from last season: B.J. Cunningham, Keshawn Martin, Keith Nichol and Brian Linthicum. Specifically the loss of Cunningham will hurt the Spartans downfield attack as Cunningham had 17 more 20-plus yard receptions than any other Spartans receiver since the start of 2010.

Michigan State is opening the season against a ranked opponent for the first time since 1998. That season, the Spartans hosted 15th-ranked Colorado State and lost 23-16.

The Spartans are ranked 13th in the preseason AP Poll. That is the highest the Spartans have been ranked in the preseason since 1979 when they were ranked 10th.

Michigan State is ranked in the preseason AP Poll for the second straight season, something that hasn’t happened since 1997-98.