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Basanez wins battle of QBs

October 24, 2005

Saturday's Homecoming contest was supposed to be a game of dominant offenses and similar two-dimensional quarterbacks. Unfortunately for the Spartans, it was Brett Basanez and Northwestern who were the only ones doing the dominating in a 49-14 drubbing of the Spartans.

"It feels great to execute like we did," Basanez said. "We expected to score every time."

Basanez was stellar Saturday, only misfiring on six passes while throwing for 331 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed for 17 yards and two touchdowns en route to a career day that showed why he is the leader of his team.

"I learned a lot in my career here," Basanez said. "I know what this team needs and what this offense needs as far as leadership."

MSU head coach John L. Smith said that Basanez is a huge key to the Wildcats' success thus far.

"He's a great player," Smith said. "He knows what to do with (the ball), they know what to do with it and I'm sure he's probably like a coach on the field for those guys."

On the other side of the ball, Basanez's counterpart Drew Stanton looked far from perfect for the first time this season.

After leading a three-play, 75-yard opening drive that put the Spartans up by seven, Stanton and the offense stalled, and the defense gave up 49 points before the next time the Spartans got on the board.

"I think it was pretty apparent that the quarterback play was horrible," the MSU junior quarterback said. "Anytime I play like that, we don't have a chance to beat anybody. It doesn't matter who we play."

Although Stanton passed for 234 yards, he was intercepted three times and fumbled once. All of Stanton's turnovers were committed when MSU was in scoring position.

While the Spartans were without injured senior receivers Matt Trannon and Kyle Brown for much of the game, Stanton made no excuses for his poor play.

"I think we moved the ball well, it's just I made too many mistakes in the red zone," Stanton said. "We couldn't put the ball in the end zone. It just comes down to me not making the plays."

"We just didn't execute on offense, and it falls on my shoulders. There were plays to be made. Our running backs were doing a good job, our receivers were catching the ball, it's just that I can't think of more of a way to put it than the quarterback lost this game."

Despite Stanton's struggles, Smith said that the blame cannot be placed squarely on the quarterback's shoulders.

"He's had a lot of good days — give him a break," he said. "Everybody's going to have a bad day once in awhile. He's going to have to have some days like this to learn."

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