October 27, 2012

Dantonio: 'This gives us a little shot in the arm'

MADISON - Michigan State coaches and players needed something to feel good about. And they got it with a 16-13 overtime victory over No. 25 ranked Wisconsin in a game that saw a young offense grow up.

First-year starting quarterback Andrew Maxwell played his best game of the season. The strong-armed junior completed 24-of-39 pass for 216 yards and two touchdowns against the Badgers.

Maxwell's first touchdown came on the fourth offensive possession of fourth quarter, as the Spartans marched down the field in 12 plays covering 75 yards. A 5-yard pass play to Le'Veon Bell forced overtime.
Maxwell found Bennie Fowler with a 12-yard scoring strike on third-and-8 to secure victory.

"I've got a very confident young man on the field and a guy that was going to step up and go," Dantonio said. "I felt that coming out of the second half. I think sometimes when you're a young player, you just don't want to mess it up. You can't do that with the quarterback position, you've got to go at it. I think that's what he did in the second half."

Michigan State's defense held Wisconsin to 19 net rushing yards and a per-carry average .5 yards. But what pleased Dantonio most was the way the Spartan defense held Wisconsin to a field goal after the Badger defense recovered a Michigan State fumble at the 18-yard line.

"I think that's the defining moment of the game in terms overall picture of that game," Dantonio said, "because you have to play it as they come, but when we fumbled the football and they got it at the 18 or whatever it is, we hold them to three, its big."

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