It didn’t take long for Michigan State’s football team to make its mark to kick off coach Mel Tucker’s second season.
The Spartans scored a touchdown against Northwestern on the first play of the game. Kenneth Walker, the Wake Forest transfer, ran 75 yards from the line of scrimmage in 13 seconds. Score: MSU 7, Northwestern 0.
But the opening touchdown was only the beginning.
After stopping the Wildcats and getting the ball back, quarterback Payton Thorne led the Spartans down the field for a second touchdown. Walker ran 23 yards to set the Spartans up at the 3, then ran it home for his second touchdown of the night. He had more than 100 yards in the game before the first quarter was over.
MSU tacked on another touchdown in the second quarter to take a commanding 21 point lead. This time from sophomore running back Jordon Simmons.
After missing a field goal, the Wildcats got on the board in the second quarter to make the score 21-7.
The two teams traded touchdowns in the second half – the Spartans in the 3rd quarter and the Wildcats in the 4th to make it 31-21 MSU, but with 1:29 to go in the game Walker would add another touchdown to his already historic night.
His 6-yard touchdown put MSU up 38-21 which would end up being the final from Evanston.
Year two of the Mel Tucker era starts with a win over Big Ten foe Northwestern and for the first time in 11 years a running back from Michigan State scores four touchdowns in one night. Edwin Baker was the last Spartan running back to do it in 2010.
Walker is also the first 200-yard rusher since Le’Veon Bell when he had 266 yards versus Minnesota in 2012.
Quite a contrast from 2020 when MSU didn’t have a single rushing touchdown from one if its running backs, right?