With the eyes of the nation on East Lansing, Kenneth Walker III had the day of his life.
He scored 5 touchdowns in a thriller against their long-time rivals – the Michigan Wolverines – in a match up of top 10 and undefeated teams.
MSU head coach Mel Tucker is now 2-0 against the Wolverines.
Michigan struck first after an early interception. East Lansing high school graduate Andrel Anthony got the first of this two touchdowns on the day – a 93-yard TD with the first reception of his career – to put the Wolverines up 7-0.
After trading punts, the Wolverines took advantage of a second interception and turned it into a field goal to take a 10-0 lead.
But the Spartans struck back with the first play of the second quarter with a 27-yard run by Kenneth Walker to bring MSU within 3.
Michigan answered with a field goal, then MSU countered. The Spartans gambled on 4th and 1 and it paid off with a 40 yard reception that set up another Kenneth Walker touchdown. That put the MSU up 14-13.
But the lead didn’t last. The Wolverines answered back immediately with a touchdown and a field goal to take a 23-14 lead into the half. They tacked on another TD in the second half to make it 30-14.
But the Spartans would not be denied. Walker scored two more touchdowns – one on a 58-yard run. MSU also scored on both 2 point conversions to tied it up at 30-30.
The lead didn’t last. The Wolverines tacked on their fourth field goal of the game to take a 33-30 lead.
MSU went three and out on its next possession, punting and leaving Michigan with good field position on its own 45. But Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy fumbled on the very next play. The Spartans turned into 7 with Kenneth Walker’s 23-yard touchdown run. That put the Spartans up 37-33 with 5 minutes to play.
Needing a touchdown, Michigan drove to the MSU 31, but turned the ball over on downs with less than two minutes to play. The Spartans couldn’t put the game away, giving the Wolverines one last chance to score – but Michigan State intercepted Michigan’s last gasp to seal the deal.
Walker ended the day with 197 yards on 23 carries. He accounted for all but two of the MSU’s rushing yards. Quarterback Payton Thorne was 19 for 31 for 196 yards and two interceptions. The Spartans are now 8-0.