EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Jeremy Langford's 2-yard touchdown run late in the first half broke a tie and he finished with a career-high 94 yards rushing, helping Michigan State beat Western Michigan 26-13 Friday night.
The Spartans (1-0) struggled on offense, rotating ineffective quarterback Andrew Maxwell and Connor Cook, and scored two touchdowns on defense.
Jairus Jones had two interceptions, the first of which turned into a score with his lateral to Kurtis Drummond, whose 21-yard return was the game's first score midway through the first quarter
The Broncos (0-1) tied the game with 6:14 left in the second quarter, but couldn't do enough on offense to keep the game close in coach P.J. Fleck debut with the Mid-American Conference team.
Langford's go-ahead TD was followed up by two field goals in the third quarter and Shilique Calhoun's fumble return with 9:02 left to play that made it 26-7.
Zach Terrell replaced banged-up QB Tyler Van Tubbergen in the second quarter and threw for a TD on his first pass, connecting with wide-open tight end Clark Mussman for a 14-yard score to tie the game.
Terrell, who was 12 of 28 for 120 yards with two TDs, including a 14-yard pass to Corey Davis with 1:51 left, also threw an interception and lost a fumble. Van Tubbergen was 6 of 20 for 73 yards and two interceptions.
Maxwell started the game and was replaced by Cook after three shaky drives.
Cook, though, didn't fare much better and took turns on the sideline while Maxwell got more chances to play.
Maxwell was 11 of 21 for 74 yards. Cook completed 6 of 16 passes for 42 yards and ran for 35 yards.
The game was delayed for nearly an hour during the second quarter because of lightning.
Michigan State's best chance to score was when Western Michigan had the ball.
Drummond was the first to score in the sluggish game -- with 22 combined punts -- and made a one-handed interception, leaping to snag Van Tubbergen's pass in the first quarter.
Michigan State was in a position to lead by more than two touchdowns midway through the fourth quarter, but the Broncos recovered Langford's fumble at their 28.
The Spartans, though, were able to count on their defense to keep the score lopsided. Terrell was sacked and fumbled, allowing Calhoun to scoop up the football and return it for a score.
Michigan State's defense was expected to be good this season while there were a lot of questions about who should take snaps, and those weren't answered in the season-opening game.
Maxwell, a fifth-year senior, narrowly won the job this summer and held off candidates such as Cook for the job. The Spartans will likely give both players, and perhaps other options, such as freshman Damion Terry, get a chance to compete for playing time during the next week before hosting South Florida.