Michigan State holds off Boise State
After 44 carries, six receptions and more yards than the entire Boise State team, Michigan State’s Le’Veon Bell was too tired to say much.
“I had no idea how many carries or yards I had. It was the most I’ve had in my collegiate career,” Bell said. “But I’ve still got a lot of things to work on to get better.”
Bell’s first game as the Spartans’ featured running back was an exhausting one, but his second touchdown of the night – with 8:12 remaining in the fourth quarter – was enough to give No. 13 Michigan State a 17-13 victory over No. 24 Boise State on Friday in East Lansing, Mich.
Bell ran for a career-high 210 yards, helping the Spartans overcome four turnovers.
He scored from 5 yards out midway through the fourth quarter. The Broncos drove to the MSU 42, but Joe Southwick’s pass on fourth-and-2 was broken up.
The Spartans (1-0) then ran off the final 6:32.
Boise State (0-1) was sluggish in its first game after losing standouts Kellen Moore and Doug Martin from last season’s explosive offense. BSU’s only TD came on Jeremy Ioane’s 43-yard interception return in the second quarter.
Bell became Michigan State’s undisputed top running back when Edwin Baker left to enter the NFL draft after last season. His 44 carries Friday more than doubled his previous career high of 20, and the junior also set career marks with six receptions for 55 yards.
Perhaps his biggest highlight didn’t even lead to any points. In the third quarter, with Michigan State facing third-and-16 from its own 4, Bell ran to the right a bit, then spun away from a couple of tacklers en route to a 35-yard gain and an improbable first down.
“A number of times he made something out of nothing,” Spartans coach Mark Dantonio said. “You can’t underestimate – 44 touches, and not fumbling the ball. He had some huge plays out there.”
The Spartans outgained Boise State 461 yards to 206. The Broncos had won six straight against BCS-conference teams.
“We’ve got to do better in the red zone and we’ve got to be able to run the ball better,” Boise State coach Chris Petersen said.
MSU starting quarterback Andrew Maxwell threw three first-half interceptions. He finished 22 of 38 for 248 yards.
Southwick went 15 of 31 for 169 yards with an interception.
(21) Stanford 20, San Jose St. 17: Jordan Williamson kicked a career-long 46-yard field goal and the go-ahead score from 20 yards, and the Cardinal edged the Spartans in Stanford, Calif., in their first game since Andrew Luck left.
Former backup Josh Nunes threw for 125 yards and a TD in his first start in place of Luck, the NFL’s No. 1 overall draft pick. But the redshirt junior struggled to move the offense when it counted and it almost cost the Cardinal (1-0) dearly.
The David Fales-Blake Jurich quarterback combo gave Stanford fits until De’Leon Eskridge fumbled in Spartans (0-1) territory late in the third quarter. That set up Williamson’s tiebreaking kick, giving the redshirt sophomore who missed three field goals in a 41-38 loss to Oklahoma State in the Fiesta Bowl a bit of redemption.
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