Last week against Boise State it was Le'Veon Bell's turn, this week against Central Michigan it was everyone else's for MSU.
From Andrew Maxwell to Aaron Burbridge and just about everyone in between, plenty of Spartans played a part in Michigan State's 41-7 win against CMU. In fact, 65 of 70 players that dressed saw the field.
Maxwell led the way for Michigan State with 275 yards on 20-of-31 passing and two touchdowns. And a week after completing just seven of his 22 passes to wide receivers a week ago, Maxwell spread the ball out to seven different receivers.
“We had to get Maxwell and our wideouts going,” Mark Dantonio said. “I thought we did that.”
Perhaps the biggest relief for Spartans fans came from the way Maxwell and Bennie Fowler were clicking. Fowler had eight catches for 99 yards and a touchdown.
But Fowler isn't content with his best game as a Spartan -- he has bigger goals in mind for the passing attack.
“We do not know how long it will take us to match up to Kirk (Cousins) and B.J. (Cunningham) and Keshawn (Martin),” said Fowler. “But we’ll get there.”
Backup quarterback Connor Cook (5 for 6, 47 yards) got even more players involved -- including two true wide receivers freshman in Burbridge and Macgarrett Kings.
Burbridge and Kings had two catches each in their debut with Michigan State, and made players miss after the catch, too.
"I talked to them on the sideline," Dantonio said. "We practiced them all week. I think they have great skills. I think there’s no question when they get the ball in their hands, they can make things happen."
All in all, 10 Spartans caught a pass, including a big 48-yard reception for DeAnthony Arnett on a beautiful out-and-up route.
Four running backs got in on the action for MSU with Bell leading the way once again with 71 yards and two touchdowns before sitting most of the second half. Larry Caper also had 71 yards, while Nick Hill scored his first career touchdown.
Bell put the Spartans out to an early lead, scoring the first two touchdowns before Maxwell took over. On a two-minute drill just before halftime, Maxwell led the Spartans on a nine-play, 73-yard drive in which the junior completed 6-of-9 passes for 77 yards. He completed the final four passes of the drive, including a 20-yard touchdown pass to Dion Sims.
On the first drive of the second half for MSU, Maxwell was 2 for 2, including the big pass to Arnett and finishing off the drive with a 7-yard strike to Fowler for the score and a 31-0 lead.
For the second straight week the Michigan State defense did not allow a touchdown, as the Chippewas only score came off an interception thrown by Cook. The Spartans allowed Central Michigan to gain just 72 yards on the ground, as the defense now is allowing 54.5 yards per game on the ground.
Will Gholston, who didn't have a tackle against Boise State, made his presence felt often with seven tackles, including a sack and a tackle for loss.
The Spartans also picked off two passes -- one by Isaiah Lewis and one by Johnny Adams. Adams also broke up two passes.
Michigan State returns to East Lansing next weekend to face Notre Dame, a team that handed the Spartans one of their three losses last season.
“Notre Dame got a big win against us last year,” Tony Lippett said. “We want to come out and dominate. They dominated us last year at their place, and now we want to dominate. They are coming to our house.”
-- Burbridge and Kings are dynamic, maybe moreso than the rest of the wide receivers ahead of them on the depth chart. Kings has Keshawn Martin-type skills -- including in the return game -- and is the perfect player for the bubble screen that MSU loves to run. There is a good reason their redshirts were burned -- they can make plays and be the big-play guys the Spartans need.
"You can see that they can make plays, so I think it's going to be a positive for us," Dantonio said. "I may not like it five years from now, but I like it right now."
-- Perhaps the most telling play of the game was Maxwell throwing a busted screen pass right into the ground. Last week, he tried to force the play and it was picked off and returned for a touchdown. This time around, Maxwell recognized the blitz and the lack of play, so he just threw it into the ground. He learned. That is a good sign.
-- Larry Caper had the longest run of his career late in the third quarter when he broke out on a 39-yard run on a third-down play.
-- Jeremy Langford saw time both at wide receiver and running back. The sophomore had been moved to wide receiver, but could start seeing more time at running back, given that Caper and likely Bell won't be around next season.
-- Lawrence Thomas was used on mulitple plays as a fullback, and Dantonio insists he will continue to do so. The former five-star linebacker recruit also had a catch for seven yards.
"I really felt like we’ve got to get the guy going somewhere," Dantonio said. "He’s too good to not play -- whether that be tight end, whether that be fullback, whether that be defensive end."
-- Undervalued is the blocking of Fowler and Keith Mumphery from the wide receiver positions. Burbridge also showed good blocking ability.
-- Kyler Elsworth ALWAYS makes plays. Always. When he is on the field, reall good things seem to happen.
-- There was more of the interesting Caper/Bell pistol formation. It opens possibilities.
-- Maxwell 8 for 12 in the first quarter, including 3 for 3 on second touchdown drive -- to three different receivers (Fowler, Mumphery, Lippett)
-- Shilique Calhoun is a name to remember. He is going to be a star sooner, not later. He put great pressure on Ryan Radcliff when he was in the game.