September 15, 2012 at 8:00 pm EST
Last Meeting: Notre Dame 31-Michigan State 13
Andrew Maxwell, QB, Junior-The Junior Quarterback from Midland, Michigan is entering his first year as Starter for the Michigan State Spartans. In his first game against the Boise State Broncos, Maxwell threw three interceptions. He was 22-for-38 for 248 yards. Despite his inconsistent performance, the Spartans pulled out a 17-13 win. Maxwell turned around his performance against Central Michigan. He threw for 275 yards and 2 touchdowns. More importantly he stayed turnover free. According to scouts and analysts, Maxwell has a very strong arm and can make all the throws. In High School, he was a 4-star recruit and an Elite 11 Quarterback. He definitely does not lack in the talent department. Which Andrew Maxwell will show up against the Fighting Irish? Maxwell is the X-Factor for the Spartans Offense.
La’Veon Bell, RB, Junior-Michigan State’s All-Star is definitely Le’Veon Bell. In the first game of the season, Bell single handily beat Boise State. He rushed for 210 yards on 44 carries. In addition, Bell had 2 touchdowns. Against Central Michigan, he rushed for 70 yards on 18 carries. This is a 3.9 yard average. At 6’2” 244, Bell is a bruising Running Back. He epitomizes what Michigan State Football is about. Coming out of High School, Bell was only a two-star recruit. Michigan State was only major offer that Bell received. The Michigan State Offense is dictated by how Bell performs.
Bennie Fowler, WR, Junior-After losing B.J. Cunningham, Fowler has stepped up to fill the void at the Wide Receiver position. In the first two games of the season, he has recorded 10 receptions. With those 10 receptions, Fowler has totaled 135 yards. The Wide Receiver from Detroit was a 3-star recruit coming out of High School. At 6’1” 218, Folwer is not the physically imposing Wide Receiver that Cunningham was. However, he is a solid and capable athlete who can make a lot of plays in the passing game.
Michigan State lost some critical talent on the Offensive side of the ball. However, they have not missed a beat without Kurt Cousins and B.J. Cunningham. Mark Dantonio has built a stable and consistent program that continues to reload with talent. Notre Dame has a good chance at stopping the run. So far, the Fighting Irish are allowing 119.5 yards. This is obviously skewed by playing Navy in the first week. But, the Irish have a solid front 7 with Louis Nix, Stephon Tuitt and Manti Te’o. These are three stars that can keep La’Veon Bell in check. However, do the Irish commit 7 to 8 players in the box every play to stop the run? If so, Andrew Maxwell may have to win the game for the Spartans. This would be a good strategy for Bob Diaco and Brian Kelly. It would seem like they would prefer to beat by Andrew Maxwell than by La’Veon Bell.