Spartan defense shuts down Boise, 17-13 The Enlightened Spartan: Spartan defense shuts down Boise, 17-13

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Spartan defense shuts down Boise, 17-13

What a wild night, and winning ugly is still winning. It was the Michigan State Spartan defense that kept the offense in the game, stopping the Boise State offense from capitalizing on four MSU turnovers - and three Andrew Maxwell INTs.

The good: The Spartan defense, though not getting to Boise State QBs, completely shut down the Broncos, holding them to 37 yards rushing and just 206 total yards. The Broncos scored more on defense (7 pts) than on offense (6 pts). Le'Veon Bell bolted into the national spotlight, with an amazing 210 yards rushing on 44 carries -- the Spartans just turned to him time and time again as the game wore on. The dude was a workhorse. Dion Sims at TE bailed out Maxwell on a beautiful catch late in the game to set up the go-ahead TD by Bell. MSU outgained the Broncos 461-206 in total yards, but it was the defense and Bell who stole the show.

The bad: Let's be honest, Maxwell (22-38-248-3) didn't play well. Period. He missed open receivers and the three INTs should have been six if the Bronco defense used enough stick-'em. Some weren't his fault, with the Spartan wideouts dropping plenty of balls... including one right into the hands of Boise LB Jeremy Ioane, who returned it for six points. But, another Maxwell interception was a poor pass that killed a drive deep in Boise territory, and worth at least three points. Maxwell and his WRs needs lots of work; that type of performance won't win championships.

The weird: The new scoreboards were so bright, they were almost blinding. In addition, there were plenty of errors on the stats throughout the game - incorrect downs, yards to go, and total yards (which showed for Boise 37 rushing, 269 passing, and 206 total yards... ummm, do the math). Scoreboards need some work, too. Not sure if the ES likes the new scoreboards at night, kind of ruined the homey atmosphere. They are cool looking, but the stats aren't correct and they are just so damn bright.

The ES predicted 24-13... and it almost was, as the Spartan's should have punched it in from the Boise three yard line instead of kneeling down on the game's final play. There's plenty to work on for the Spartan offense, but the Big Green is 1-0 and certain to move up in the polls, and will leapfrog over Michigan after the rodents get their butts kicked by Alabama today.

Below: here's Le'Veon Bell getting the handoff as he heads into the end zone for the winning Spartan TD.