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Spartans, Maxwell try to ride out ‘storm’

[ 0 ] October 11, 2012 |

Michigan State quarterback Andrew Maxwell hasn’t thrown an interception since the first half of the first game of the season.

But the junior has taken some slings and arrows for Michigan State — ranked No. 13 in the preseason — being just 4-2 and the falling out of the Top 25.

“They can definitely win with him,” Iowa senior cornerback Micah Hyde said. “They have a lot of talent around him to support him.

“He’s going to get the ball in the playmakers’ hands.”

Maxwell, a junior, learned for three years wearing a headset and watching Kirk Cousins.

“When you lose guys like (Cousins), it doesn’t just keep on going,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. “But also … this guy’s been around. He’s been in the system. He’s learned from a guy who really knows the game.”

As a starter, Maxwell is 4-2 and has lost close games to No. 7 Notre Dame and No. 8 Ohio State.

“I think as a quarterback, you’re going to have games where you take maybe a little step back and you take two steps forward,” Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said. “Then you take a step back a little bit, and it’s going to be a process.”

Maxwell is 127-for-225 (56.4 percent) passing for 1,428 yards. His passing efficiency ranks him 104th in the country.

He has six touchdowns and three interceptions.

“I feel comfortable out there. It doesn’t feel overwhelming. It doesn’t feel like I’m out of place,” Maxwell said. “If feels like I’m where I’m supposed to be, and that comes from being comfortable in a system and being comfortable with the guys around me.”

Maxwell has a 139.6 passing efficiency in the second half of games, but is seen more as a caretaker quarterback.

“He could come out playing really, really good,” Hyde said of Maxwell. “Or he might get pressured and throw it up.”

The offense goes through junior running back Le’Veon Bell, who has 776 yards rushing and 23 catches.

Top tight end Dion Sims — who leads the team with 24 catches for 313 yards — is out with an ankle sprain.

Sophomore receiver Keith Mumphery has 21 catches, junior receiver Bennie Folwer has 20, and sophomore receiver Tony Lippett has 19.

True freshman Aaron Burbridge made his first start last week and became the first true freshman in MSU history to have an 100-yard receiving game (8-134).

“They were tough plays,” Maxwell said of Burbridge. “You think back to the third-and-10 he caught in double coverage, and that is a critical point in the game. For him to go up and make a play like that when we really needed it, and that’s what we were expecting from him.

“That’s what we had him out there for.”

Michigan State has won 11 games each of the past two seasons. It was the Legends Division representative in the inaugural Big Ten title game.

So Maxwell — a 4-star recruit out of Miland, Mich. — knew what he was getting into under center for Michigan State.

“I think it’s a lot more difficult to stay there,” Maxwell said. “There is a quote that says for every 10 teams that can handle adversity, there is only one that can handle success.

“I think you have to really guard against complacency.”

A win over the Hawkeyes could get the Spartans back into the Top 25 and the Big Ten Legends Division race.

“Everywhere in America right now, every college football team feels a sense of urgency,” Dantonio said. “Right now, we’re in a little storm. Just play through the storm and weather the storm.”

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

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