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Dave Campbell / AP Sports Writer, Published November 24 2012

Spartans, Bell run past Gophers

MINNEAPOLIS – Le’Veon Bell patiently looked for openings before he trampled through Minnesota’s defense and dragged some of the Gophers with him.

Michigan State had to wait the whole Big Ten season for this, but the Spartans finally put together a comfortable victory.

Bell rumbled for a career-high 266 yards and a fourth-quarter touchdown to put the game away, leading Michigan State past Minnesota 26-10 on Saturday to secure a spot in a bowl game.

“We bring a name with us wherever we go, and we’re going to bring people with us wherever we go,” coach Mark Dantonio said. “So it’ll be exciting.”

Bell carried 35 times on a cold afternoon, Dan Conroy made four of his five field-goal attempts, three of them from 43 yards or longer, and the Spartans (6-6, 3-5) wore down the Gophers (6-6, 2-6) to finish 4-1 on the road this season.

“We can’t lose today,” Bell said, noting Dantonio’s bowl game appearances in each of his first five years at Michigan State: “We didn’t want to be the first team not to do it. So we did everything in our power to go out there and get that win.”

Minnesota played the second half without coach Jerry Kill, after he had a seizure in the locker room. Athletic director Norwood Teague said he was resting comfortably afterward and didn’t need to be hospitalized. The Gophers, now accustomed to his condition, said they weren’t distracted, only disappointed by their performance. Defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys ran the team after halftime.

Michigan St. 6 7 3 10 – 26

Minnesota 7 0 3 0 – 10

First Quarter

MSU – FG Conroy 48, 11:24.

Minn – Hill 33 interception return (Wettstein kick), 4:43.

MSU – FG Conroy 43, 1:29.

Second Quarter

MSU – Fowler 41 pass from Maxwell (Conroy kick), 1:28.

Third Quarter

MSU – FG Conroy 43, 11:01.

Minn – FG Wettstein 48, 7:05.

Fourth Quarter

MSU – FG Conroy 30, 14:56.

MSU – Bell 8 run (Conroy kick), 7:25.

A – 44,194.

MSU Minn

First downs 21 7

Rushes-yards 44-278 19-4

Passing 143 92

Comp-Att-Int 13-29-2 13-30-4

Return Yards 101 82

Punts-Avg. 3-43.3 6-44.3

Fumbles-Lost 1-0 2-0

Penalties-Yards 5-45 1-10

Time of Possession 37:37 22:23

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING: Michigan St., Bell 35-266, Caper 2-23, Hill 4-8,

Team 1-(minus 2), Maxwell 2-(minus 17). Minnesota, Kirkwood 10-19,

Gray 5-4, R.Williams 1-1, Shortell 1-(minus 9), Nelson 2-(minus 11).

PASSING: Michigan St., Maxwell 13-29-2-143. Minnesota,

Nelson 10-23-3-61, Shortell 3-6-1-31, Gray 0-1-0-0.

RECEIVING: Michigan St., Fowler 7-101, Lippett 3-24, Bell 1-9,

Mumphery 1-5, D.Sims 1-4. Minnesota, McDonald 3-36, Engel 3-35,

Maye 3-4, Kirkwood 2-(minus 3), Crawford-Tufts 1-13, Rabe 1-7.