EAST LANSING, Mich. » After 44 carries, six receptions and more yards than the entire Boise State team, Michigan State’s Le’Veon Bell was too tired to say much.
"I had no idea how many carries or yards I had. It was the most I’ve had in my collegiate career," Bell said. "But I’ve still got a lot of things to work on to get better."
Bell’s first game as the Spartans’ featured running back was an exhausting one, but his second touchdown of the night — with 8:12 remaining in the fourth quarter — was enough to give No. 13 Michigan State a 17-13 victory over No. 24 Boise State on Friday.
Bell ran for a career-high 210 yards, helping the Spartans overcome four turnovers.
He scored from 5 yards out midway through the fourth quarter. The Broncos drove to the Michigan State 42, but Joe Southwick’s pass on fourth and 2 was broken up.
The Spartans (1-0) then ran off the final 6:32.
Boise State (0-1) was sluggish in its first game after losing standouts Kellen Moore and Doug Martin from last season’s explosive offense. The Broncos’ only touchdown came on Punahou graduate Jeremy Ioane’s 43-yard interception return in the second quarter.
Bell’s 44 carries more than doubled his previous career high of 20, and the junior also set career marks with six receptions for 55 yards.
8 players with local ties are cut
Former Pro Bowl punter Mat McBriar, who played at the University of Hawaii, was among players with local ties who were cut by NFL teams on Friday. McBriar was waived by the Eagles. Others let go were defensive tackle Vaughn Meatoga of the Bengals, linebacker Corey Paredes of the Vikings, receiver Royce Pollard of the Jets, linebacker Aaron Brown of the Rams, linebacker Ikaika Alama-Francis and defensive tackle Matthew Masifilo of the 49ers and safety Aaron Francisco of the Titans. Also, center John Estes was placed on injured reserve by the Jaguars. — Star-Advertiser staff
Perhaps his biggest highlight didn’t even lead to any points. In the third quarter, with Michigan State facing third and 16 from its own 4, Bell ran to the right a bit, then spun away from a couple of tacklers en route to a 35-yard gain and an improbable first down.
"A number of times he made something out of nothing," Spartans coach Mark Dantonio said. "You can’t underestimate — 44 touches, and not fumbling the ball, and not coming close to fumbling it. He had some huge plays out there."
The Spartans outgained Boise State 461 yards to 206. The Broncos had won six straight against BCS-conference teams.
"We’ve got to do better in the red zone and we’ve got to be able to run the ball better," Boise State coach Chris Petersen said. "If we do those two things we’ll be OK on offense."
No. 21 Stanford 20, San Jose State 17
STANFORD, Calif. » Jordan Williamson kicked a career-long 46-yard field goal and the go-ahead score from 20 yards as the Cardinal survived their first game since Andrew Luck left.
Former backup Josh Nunes threw for 125 yards and a touchdown in his first start in place of Luck, the No. 1 overall draft pick. But the redshirt junior struggled to move the offense when it counted and it almost cost the Cardinal (1-0) dearly.
The David Fales-Blake Jurich quarterback combo gave Stanford fits until De’Leon Eskridge fumbled in Spartans territory late in the third quarter. That set up Williamson’s tie-breaking kick.
Nunes finished 16-for-26 with no interceptions. Fales threw for 216 yards with one touchdown and an interception that sealed Stanford’s win in the final minutes. Jurich ran for 32 yards and a score.
San Jose State (0-1) outgained Stanford 288 to 280 total yards. Stanford beat San Jose State 57-3 last year and has won five straight meetings.