December 27, 2012

Notebook: Spartans 'locked in' for TCU

Junior quarterback Andrew Maxwell described the mindset of the Spartans as 'locked in' during final prep for Michigan State's game against TCU on Saturday in the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl.

"I think we realize that our season is really sitting on that fulcrum right now," Maxwell said, "sitting here at 6-6 and people are going to remember how you finish. A win is going to cause a lot of good momentum going into the off-season and people are going to look back and the freshest memory in people's minds is going to be the bowl game," said Maxwell. "If we can finish this thing out strong; that's our focus right now and that's what we are locked into doing."

Maxwell is fresh, both mentally and physically.

"My elbow is good as is everything else that kind of got nicked up this year," Maxwell said. "You go through a season in the Big Ten, it doesn't matter what position you play, you are going to have some bumps and bruises. This time has been good for me and the whole team to really get healthy. I feel great and I think our team as a whole is pretty healthy right now."

Maxwell downplayed speculation that Michigan State will use the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl to test out new wrinkles on offense.

"That seems to be the talk that we are going to go out and line up looking like Oregon," said Maxwell. "We've kind of been joking about it in the quarterback room that the newspapers have been wanting to see this brand new spread attack. Don't be too disappointed when we come out and run in our power sets."

Those sets suit Le'Veon Bell just fine.

The All-Big Ten tailback is eager to test himself a quality TCU run defense.

"You hear that you are going against a good defense that stops the run, you take pride in that and take it as a challenge that you want to go out and really show why we can run the ball and what the Big Ten is about," said Bell. "We want to go out there to the best of our abilities and break some big runs."

Opportunities for big runs will scarce against an athletic TCU defense. But Bell believes he is better able to deliver
explosive plays after dropping 10 pounds since the Big Ten finale at Minnesota.

"I just want to go out there and play hard," said Bell, who rushed for 1,648 yards with 11 touchdowns. "There's nothing I really want to prove. Over the course of time I have been losing weight, so that's something I've wanted to work on. I want to get my weight to where I want it to be and get my burst and explosiveness back. Just get a little faster I guess."



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