Dienhart: Snap reactions from Spartans' win

BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart weighs in with his snap reactions from Michigan State’s 17-13 comeback victory over Boise State in Friday night’s season opener at Spartan Stadium. See all his thoughts in this post. And don’t forget about Saturday’s slate of 10 Big Ten games. BTN/BTN2Go will air four games, starting with Ohio State vs. Miami (OH) at noon ET. You can track all the action on our BTN.com scoreboard.

[BTN.com: Watch all of our Boise State-Michigan State video clips]

What’s it mean: Hey, it wasn’t pretty, but it was a win. And the coaching staff has several “teaching points.” A close victory like this may be just what the Spartans needed, more so than a blow out over an overmatched foe that would have falsely puffed up MSU’s confidence. A trip to Central Michigan is next. Then comes a huge visit from Notre Dame. The big dreams remain alive for the Spartans.

Three Things I Learned
1. Let’s start with the good. The Michigan State defense is good. Really good. As good as I thought it would be. Yes, Boise State’s offense is being retooled with QB Kellen Moore and RB Doug Martin gone. Still, the Spartan defense turned in a mostly suffocating performance on a night when the offense had four turnovers. The Broncos had just 206 yards, and didn’t score an offensive touchdown.

2. It’s time to welcome Le’Veon Bell to the Heisman race. The Spartans rode him to victory tonight, as the big fella ran 44 times for 210 yards and two touchdowns, one the winning score in the fourth quarter. Bell also caught six passes for 55 yards.

[BTN.com: A closer look at Le'Veon Bell's career night]

3. Entering the season, the Spartan receivers were a big question mark with targets like B.J. Cunningham, Keshawn Martin and Keith Nichol gone. Well, after this performance, they still have something to prove. Too many drops. Tight end Dion Sims saved the day with seven catches. And the jury remains out on QB Andrew Maxwell. Yes, some of his passes were tipped and some were dropped—and the line could have played better—but some of his passes often were off target, too. And he didn’t show much touch on many attempts. Even worse, Maxwell tossed three interceptions, hitting only 22-of-38 attempts for 248 yards.

BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men’s basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at btn.com/tomdienhart, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.

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