Michigan St. QB Maxwell puzzling
Notebook: Huskers increase streak; Colter expects to return
Will the real Andrew Maxwell please stand up?
That’s the burning question as Michigan State travels to Central Michigan on Saturday.
Last Friday against Boise State, Maxwell was polarizing to say the least. He threw three interceptions in a sluggish first half but responded with a solid second half in the Spartans’ come-from-behind 17-13 victory against Boise State. He finished 22 of 38 for 248 yards.
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“Not exactly how you dream the first half to go, but you have to play for the next play,” Maxwell said. “Mistakes are going to happen. Those are growing pains.”
Maxwell, a Midland, Mich. native thrived in the second half when he retired to more of a management role of the offense and allowed junior running back Le’Veon Bell to take control of things. The opening half saw Maxwell come out like a gun-slinger and attempt to make too many plays, which led to bad decisions and a stalled attack.
He may want pay more attention to his predecessor, Kirk Cousins, while the team is viewing last year’s game film in preparation for the Chippewas. Cousins tried to keep the game within his reach by limiting turnovers and letting his skilled players do most of the damage. It’s a strategy that helped the Spartans reach last year's inaugural Big Ten title game.
Michigan State offensive coordinator Dan Roushar was adamant that his offense will need to clean up their miscues moving forward.
“You can’t turn the ball over four times and expect to win against a good team,” Roushar said. “We will have to fix that to give ourselves a chance to be a better football team.”
For the most part, what role Maxwell ultimately decides to take as a field general is what will determine whether or not the Spartans’ miscues will be corrected moving forward. Whatever the decision ends up being, however, head coach Mark Dantonio said that he’ll let his quarterback find his own path to success.
“I just kept telling him to play,” Dantonio said. “There’s going to be a learning curve here.”
News and Notes
Sophomore running back Damon Bullock has emerged as the team’s top option after running for 150 yards and a TD in the team’s 18-17 victory against Northern Illinois on Saturday. Meanwhile. senior QB James Vandenberg got off to a slow start going 21 of 33 for 129 yards in the victory and was sacked six times.
• History certainly favors the Hawkeyes on Saturday against have won 12 consecutive season-openers
Senior quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase left Illinois’ 24-7 victory against Western Michigan on Saturday in the third quarter with a left ankle injury. His status for this Saturday's matchup at Arizona State is questionable. It is worth noting that the Illini offense mustered eight yards of total offense without Scheelhaase in the final two quarters against Western Michigan.
The news wasn't all good for Indiana when it ended a nine-game losing streak Saturday by defeating Indiana State. The Hoosiers allowed 192 yards on the ground to the Sycamores’ RB Shakir Bell.
• Sophomore quarterback Tre Roberson threw for a career-high 280 yards and a touchdown in the victory
The Wolverines' 27-point margin of defeat against Alabama on Saturday was the worst loss in a season opener in school history.
• Despite the loss, Jeremy Gallon had a career day for Michigan tallying for 107 yards on 4 receptions with a long of 71 yards.
• Running back Denard Robinson averaged 2.7 yards per carry on Saturday night. He averaged 5.3 per per carry last season.
Michigan State (1-0)
Junior RB Le’Veon Bell jumped onto many Heisman boards, rushing for a career high 210 yards on 44 carries and two touchdowns Friday night.
• The Spartans held the Broncos to 206 yards, the lowest total in head coach Chris Petersen’s Boise State career.
• Boise State was held without a touchdown for the first time since 1997.
Nebraska won its 27th consecutive season opener Saturday, defeating Southern Miss 49-20. The Huskers' streak is the longest active opening-game win streak in FBS.
• Senior quarterback Taylor Martinez had a career day, throwing for 354 yards and five touchdowns in the victory.
• Senior running back Rex Burkhead left the game in the first half with a sprained MCL. His status for Nebraska's trip to UCLA next weekend is unknown.
Junior QB Kain Colter expects to start Saturday night when the Wildcats host Vanderbilt. Colter injured his non-throwing shoulder in the second quarter of Northwestern's 42-41 opening-weekend win against Syracuse and didn’t participate in the team’s final drive.
Head coach Pat Fitzgerald said that Colter’s injury wasn’t a factor in holding him out of play, but the QB differed in opinion saying it was the reason. "It was because of the injury," Colter told the Chicago Tribune. "I took some big hits out there. I feel fine. I should bounce back [Saturday for the home opener against Vanderbilt]. I'm not too worried about it."
• Defense may prove to be a sticking point for the Wildcats. They allowed 596 yards of total offense against the Orange, 470 of it in the air.
Ohio State (1-0)
The 56 points Ohio State scored last weekend were the most for the Buckeyes since scoring 73 vs. Eastern Michigan in 2010.
• Sophomore QB Braxton Miller threw for 207 yards and one touchdown, while running for 161 yards and a touchdown as well.
• The Buckeye defense held Miami (Ohio) to -1 yards rushing in the 56-10 win.
Penn State (0-1)
The Nittany Lions hadn’t lost a season opener since 2001 when they lost to Miami.
• Penn State gave up 499 yards of total offense, including 324 through the air.
• The Nittany Lions were outscored 21-0 in the second half
Senior QB Robert Marve started in place of Caleb TerBush, who was suspended prior to the game for violation of team rules. Marve went 30 of 38 for 295 yards and three touchdowns.
• The Boilermakers outgained Eastern Kentucky, 547-190, in their 48-6 win.
The Badgers have won 17 consecutive home games. That's tied with LSU for the longest streak in FBS.
• Senior running back Montee Ball has scored a touchdown in each of his last 21 games.
• Junior quarterback Danny O’Brien had a solid debut, going 19 of 23 for 219 yards and two touchdowns in the 26-21 win against Northern Iowa