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updated: 9/22/2012 6:38 PM

No. 21 Michigan State puts away E Michigan, 23-7

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Associated Press

EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Le'Veon Bell rushed for a career-high 253 yards and a touchdown to help stagnant Michigan State avoid a major upset with a 23-7 win over Eastern Michigan on Saturday.

Dan Conroy kicked three field goals for the No. 21 Spartans (3-1), who failed to score a TD for more than seven quarters until Andrew Maxwell hit tight end Dion Sims on a 10-yard pass with 7:19 left.

Michigan State struggled mightily through most of its final tuneup for next week's Big Ten opener against unbeaten Ohio State. But Maxwell finally found Sims three times for 73 yards in the fourth quarter.

The Spartans finished with a 428-183 edge in total offense over the Eagles (0-4), who came as close they ever have to beating a ranked opponent.

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