8:00 PM ET, August 31, 2012
Spartan Stadium (MI), East Lansing, MI
EAST LANSING, Mich. -- 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.
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 Michigan State 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. The Broncos' only touchdown 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, and not coming close to fumbling it. 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. "If we do those two things, we'll be OK on offense."
Michigan State leaned on Bell, especially after new starting quarterback Andrew Maxwell threw three first-half interceptions. Maxwell finished 22 of 38 for 248 yards.
Southwick, replacing Moore at quarterback, went 15 of 31 for 169 yards with an interception.
Bell started Michigan State's go-ahead drive with a 7-yard run and later caught a pass for 11 yards. He even blocked a pass rusher to allow Maxwell to find Dion Sims for an 18-yard pass on third down that put the ball at the Boise State 7.
Two plays later, the Spartans had the lead.
On fourth-and-2 in Michigan State territory, Boise State's D.J. Harper appeared to have an easy first down on a pitchout, but officials blew the play dead for a Michigan State timeout.
Southwick then attempted a pass that was defended well by Darqueze Dennard.
Boise State looked overmatched at the start. After a quick three-and-out, the Broncos punted and let Michigan State drive 60 yards in 12 plays for a 7-0 lead on Bell's 1-yard touchdown run.
The Spartans never really took control, though. Maxwell completed his first four passes, but his slant attempt was dropped by Tony Lippett right into the arms of Boise State's Jamar Taylor. The interception led to a field goal, which the Spartans answered when Dan Conroy made a 50-yarder to give Michigan State a 10-3 lead.
In the second quarter, the Broncos went to a couple of their tricks -- a flea-flicker for 23 yards and then a wide receiver pass that fell incomplete. They drove to the Michigan State 9-yard line, but Southwick's third-down pass was deflected by Isaiah Lewis and intercepted by fellow defensive back RJ Williamson, who was on his back in the end zone.
The Spartans quickly returned the favor when Maxwell's screen pass bounced off intended receiver Larry Caper right to Ioane, who returned the interception for a touchdown.
Boise State took the lead on Michael Frisina's 19-yard field goal, and the teams traded two more turnovers in the last two minutes of the half -- a muffed lateral by the Broncos and another interception by Maxwell deep in Boise State territory.
In the third quarter, the Spartans missed a field goal, lost a fumble and lost 10 yards on a failed reverse on the last play of the period.
Top 25 Overview
It was over when... Michigan State converted two third downs deep in Boise State territory and ran out the clock.
Gameball goes to... Le'Veon Bell, who ran for 210 yards and 2 scores and helped save shaky QB Andrew Maxwell.
Stat of the game... 50. That's how many touches Bell had, with 44 carries and another six receptions.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||5-14||10-19|
|4th Down Conversions||0-1||1-2|
|TD||07:47||Le'Veon Bell 1 Yd Run (Dan Conroy Kick)||0||7|
|FG||04:39||Michael Frisina 23 Yd||3||7|
|FG||01:39||Dan Conroy 50 Yd||3||10|
|TD||08:53||Jeremy Ioane 43 Yd Interception Return (Michael Frisina Kick)||10||10|
|FG||04:23||Michael Frisina 19 Yd||13||10|
|TD||08:12||Le'Veon Bell 5 Yd Run (Dan Conroy Kick)||13||17|
Le'Veon Bell had a career night Friday against Boise State. Bell set career highs in carries (44), rush yards (210), catches (6) and receiving yards (55). The Broncos had a difficult time bringing him to the ground; Bell gained 40 percent of his 210 rushing yards after contact and 52 of his 55 receiving yards after the catch.[+]
Michigan State held Boise State to just 206 yards on Friday, by far the fewest the Broncos have had since Chris Petersen became head coach in 2006.[+]
Boise State Fewest Total Yards - Under Chris Petersen (Since 2006)
This is the first time Boise State did not score an offensive TD since a 58-0 loss to Washington State in 1997.
Michigan State has now won its last 15 home games. Only 2 FBS teams have longer active home win streaks. In addition, Michigan State is now 9-1 since 2010 in games decided by LESS THAN 10 points.[+]
Longest Active Home Win Streaks
ESPN Stats & Information