Big Ten Week: One Question for Michigan State, Can Maxwell Answer the Call?


After winning 27 games over the past three seasons, including a share of the Big Ten Title this past year, it is about time that the Michigan State Spartans start to earn some national respect.

With a legitimate top ten defense returning this season, a bona fide NFL running back and a strong offensive line to boot, there is little question that MSU can challenge for the Big Ten Title in 2012. The only question that remains is, who will lead them there?

Those 27 wins were led by former QB Kirk Cousins, who was not only an outstanding quarterback on the field but a great representative of his school and the Conference off of the field as well. Cousins have moved onto the NFL, leaving the quarterback position in the hands of one Andrew Maxwell.

Maxwell arrived in East Lansing in 2009 as a highly-touted recruit, including an elite-11 appearance as a senior and a four-star ranking. Unlike many college quarterbacks who are pressed into service the moment they hit campus, Maxwell had the chance to redshirt and spend two seasons behind Cousins as his backup. While he only threw about 50 passes in two seasons, Maxwell has a ton of experience in MSU’s offense, and coupled with his talent he should be just fine.

Unfortunately for Maxwell, he will be throwing to a new set of receivers on the outside. Michigan State’s top four receivers from a year ago have since graduated, leaving sophomore Tony Lippett and Tennessee transfer De’Anthony Arnett as his top options. Lippett and Arnett both have talent though, and with the Spartans bruising running game to give him support early on, Maxwell should be able to develop some rapport with his new receivers.