Michigan State(2-0) took on a Central Michigan(1-1) team that has never hosted the Spartans in Mount Pleasant. The Spartans made a rare road trip to a non-BCS non-conference opponent in order to boost the economy of the area.
Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis is known for his great ideas, being known to think outside of the box. He is responsible for such events as the Carrier Classic and other events aimed towards helping economies or supporting our troops. Hollis agreed to travel to Mount Pleasant to face an in-state foe in Central Michigan for the first time in Spartan history.
The trip to Central was expected to bring the area about $7 million in revenue and one of the biggest crowds that a Central Michigan game has ever attracted.
Michigan State took this event and ran with it, not letting the record-breaking crowd distract them. The Spartans crushed the Chippewas 41-7 in a game that featured a potent Michigan State defense accompanied with a solid offense.
Going into the game, many people were concerned with the Spartans’ ability to score, especially through the air. Running back Le’Veon Bell emerged in week one as a Heisman candidate with a 210 yard performance with two touchdowns. He seemed to be the only offensive threat that the Spartans possessed a year after their starting quarterback and top three receivers graduated.
Bell followed up he week one performance with a solid performance today, scoring the Spartans’ first two touchdowns and finishing with 70 yards on just 18 carries. It was obvious that head coach Mark Dantonio didn’t want to wear down the big running back when playing against an easier opponent in Central Michigan.
The offense really answered a lot of questions this week, especially quarterback Andrew Maxwell. People questioned whether he would be able to perform well in his first career road start, and he responded. The first-year starter completed 20 of 31 passes for 275 yards and two touchdowns a week after throwing three picks against Boise State with no touchdowns. His favorite target emerged in the form of Bennie Fowler who caught eight passes for 99 yards and a touchdown.
The most impressive aspect of Michigan State’s victory was the dominance of the Spartan defense once again. So far this season, the Spartans have not given up an offensive touchdown, the only touchdowns scored against them were both interceptions returned all the way.
The Michigan State defense has allowed a total of 451 yards in two games this season and just 109 rushing yards. The only problem seeming to haunt the defense is the lack of pressure on the opposing quarterbacks. They got their first sack of the season today and with the front seven that they have, they should be pressuring the quarterback every play. Last season, they led the Big Ten in sacks with 45.
There were many bright spots this week in the win in Mount Pleasant for State. They looked better on offense, dominant on defense and improve their record to 2-0 going into Notre Dame week. The Fighting Irish edged out Purdue in South Bend with a 20-17 victory, looking forward to a primetime matchup next Saturday between two ranked teams under the lights at Spartan Stadium.