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B1G Review and Preview: Michigan State

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US PRESSWIRE

2012 Michigan State Spartans

Record: 7-6 (3-5 Legends Division)
B1G Standing: 4th place - Legends Division
Offensive State Leaders: Passing - Andrew Maxwell:2606 yards, 13 TD's, 9 INTs (52.5 comp %)... Rushing - Le'Veon Bell: 382 att.,1844 yds,12 TDs... Receiving - Keith Mumphery 42 recs., 515 yards,1 TD
Defensive State Leaders: Tackles - Max Bullough: 111, Sacks - William Gholston: 4.5, Interceptions - Johnny Adams: 3

Michigan State started the season well going 3-1 with 2 wins over directional Michigan teams and a good win against Boise State. They suffered a tough 20-3 loss to Notre Dame in East Lansing but it wasn't a bad start to the season. Then conference play hit hard. They opened up with 3 losses in their first 4 games by a grand total of 6 points total. It didn't help that one of those losses was to big brother Michigan. They managed to pull out a big win against Wisconsin but limped through the rest of the season to a 7-6 record.

Sparty sported a strong defense with linebacker Max Bullough and defensive end William Gholston leading the way, but the team was carried by the strong legs of running back Le'Veon Bell who rushed for a league-leading 2606 yards. As Bell went, so did Michigan State. Quarterback Andrew Maxwell stepped in for long time starter Kirk Cousins, who headed to the NFL, and was largely ineffective. The lack of a passing game allowed defenses to concentrate on Bell and the problem only got worse as the season went on.

A Quick Look Ahead

Recruiting: Class of 2013 Rankings - 247Sports 33 - Rivals 33 - Scout 39

Key Losses

OFFENSE: Chris McDonald-OG, Larry Caper-TB, Dan Conroy-K, Le'Veon Bell-RB (NFL), Dion Sims-TE (NFL)

DEFENSE: A.R. White-NT, Chris Norman, Johnny Adams-CB, William Gholston-DE (NFL)

With the loss of their best pass rusher and their big offensive threat, it looks like Sparty might not find anymore success next season. On offense they have to find someone to replace Le'Veon Bell, it doesn't have to be one guy but they have to find production from somewhere. The quarterback situation has to stabilize as well and it doesn't help matters that coach Dantonio said all three quarterbacks (Maxwell, Connor Cook and Tyler O'Connor) will work with the first team in spring practice. He says Maxwell is the starter but he wants to keep his options open and it's rumored he wants to go with more of a running quarterback which would mean redshirt freshman O'Connor might be his guy.

MICHIGAN STATE 2013 SCHEDULE

Aug. 31 Western Michigan
Sept. 7 South Florida
Sept. 14 Youngstown State
Sept. 21 at Notre Dame
Oct. 5 at Iowa
Oct. 12 Indiana
Oct. 19 Purdue
Oct. 26 at Illinois
Nov. 2 Michigan
Nov. 16 at Nebraska
Nov. 23 at Northwestern
Nov. 30 Minnesota

So the losses to graduation may hurt the Spartans but the schedule certainly sets up nicely for them. MSU should be 3-0 heading into South Bend to take on Notre Dame, a team that will be a shell of it's 2012 form. Win that and they open up Big Ten play against Iowa but have 3 winnable games against Indiana, Purdue, and Illinois. Sparty could be 7-1 when they hit the meat of their schedule and they end with Minnesota. An 8 or 9 win season isn't out of the question.

Way too early prediction: 8-4 (4-4 in B1G)

For more information on Michigan State, head on over to: The Only Colors.


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