The past two weeks have been extremely underwhelming for the Spartans. After being crowned as the premature Big Ten champions following Michigan's big loss to Alabama, the Spartans have been very unimpressive and clearly have some serious issues on the offensive side of the ball.
There biggest issue on offense is their reliance on Le'Veon Bell. The junior running back has done his best this season but due to the Spartans lack of weapons, teams are keying in on the power back.
There is almost no threat from the passing game and when that happens, opposing defenses will load up the box and make it difficult to run the ball between the tackles.
First and foremost, the Spartans must receive more production from their quarterback. Andrew Maxwell has only thrown three touchdowns this year and has averaged a mediocre 217 yards passing per game. Now I don't expect him to completely replace Kirk Cousins right off the bat but a little production to take the pressure off Bell would do wonders for MSU.
As for the receivers, they've done a decent job so far but definitely need to make some bigger plays. Michigan State's problem on offense is they can't stretch the field at all.
How many carries should Le'Veon Bell average per game?
Without home run threats on their offense, teams will load up the box and cover their receivers one-on-one with no worries. As the competition increases, MSU must be able to stretch opposing defenses or Bell won't be having many games like he had today.
Away from x's and o's, Michigan State must also steer away from relying so heavily on Bell because if they don't, he won't make it through the season alive.
In just five games, Bell has carried the ball a whopping 117 times. That's nearly 30 carries a game on average. Yes, the guy is a complete workhorse, but at this rate he won't make it to the bowl season, especially as the Spartans begin conference play.
Big Ten defenses will see the film on Michigan State and do everything they can to stop Bell because as of right now, if you stop Bell, you stop MSU. The amount of carries Bell has racked up can't become the norm because if it does, Bell will wear down against in-conference competition.
The Spartans offense is in a transitional period so it makes sense to rely on a solid and experienced back like Bell, but if they continue to play one-dimensional offense, it won't matter who lines up at running back.