Heading into the 2013 season, the Michigan State Spartans will be without their best offensive weapon. Running back Le’Veon Bell, who was one of the best in the Big Ten last season, has moved on, leaving room for a new star to emerge on offense. Quarterback Andrew Maxwell, who will be in his second season as the starter, needs to have a big season in order for the Spartans to be successful.
Maxwell started every game last year, but he struggled with inconsistency throughout the season. He ended up throwing for just 2,606 yards with 13 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Not surprisingly, the Spartans struggled as a team, finishing 7-6 for the year.
If things are going to be any better, it’s going to be up to Maxwell and the passing attack. With Bell gone and a lot of inexperience in the backfield this year, the run game will likely struggle, especially early on.
Fortunately, while the running game will be inexperienced, there are several experienced receivers returning for the 2013 season. While top tight end Deion Sims will be missed, Maxwell will have other reliable targets.
In fact, four of the top five receivers from 2012 will be around this year.
Bennie Fowler, who led the team with four touchdowns and 524 receiving yards, will once again be there for Maxwell to throw to. He will also have Keith Mumphery, Tony Lippett and Aaron Burbridge returning from last year. Mumphery was second on the team last year with 515 receiving yards.
With a core of experienced receivers, Maxwell needs to have a successful season. He needs to improve on his numbers from last year and really step into a leadership role on offense for the Spartans.
The pressure will be on Maxwell to take a step forward in his senior season. He dealt with inconsistent play last year and didn’t exactly look sharp in the final game. Against Texas Christian University in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, he threw for just 28 yards while splitting time with freshman quarterback Connor Cook.
After not finding much success in 2012, Michigan State could once again be in for a disappointing season. It will be up to Maxwell to make the right decisions and lead the Spartans’ offense to a successful season.