Michigan State accomplished the most important goal Saturday against Eastern Michigan – win the game.
However, it is unlikely the 21st-ranked Spartans are feeling all that great about their 23-7 victory over the Eagles in front of 74,204 frustrated fans.
Michigan State (3-1) trailed 7-3 at halftime and through three quarters hadn’t moved the ball past the Eastern Michigan 18-yard line. At halftime, Michigan State had only 31 passing yards against the 116th-ranked defense in the nation.
Le’Veon Bell ran the ball well, gaining 253 yards on 36 carries, but the passing game continued to struggle. Andrew Maxwell finished 16-for-29 for 159 yards, but he overthrew several receivers and was victimized by six dropped passes.
The Spartans finally put together a solid drive that essentially clinched the game in the fourth quarter. After forcing an Eastern Michigan punt, Michigan State went 89 yards in 12 plays to extend the lead when Maxwell connected with Dion Sims on a 10-yard touchdown pass.
Sims finished the game with six catches for 112 yards, all coming in the second half.
Eastern Michigan (0-4) played well defensively but could get little going offensively until late in the game.
The Eagles’ only touchdown came after Michigan State’s Bennie Fowler fumbled at his 23-yard line. On the next play, Tyler Benz hit Donald Scott for a 23-yard touchdown pass to give the Eagles the lead.
Michigan State got its first nine points on three Dan Conroy field goals. Conroy bounced back from missing a 39-yarder in the first quarter to hit three straight.
Bell capped the scoring with a 1-yard touchdown run with 2:05 to play in the game.