MSU’s Kenneth Walker III dismantles rival U-M in 37-33 victory

Michigan+State+University+defeated+The+University+of+Michigan+last+Saturday+10%2F30+in+a+highly+anticipated+game%2C+37-33.

Photo courtesy of The Detroit Free Press

Michigan State University defeated The University of Michigan last Saturday 10/30 in a highly anticipated game, 37-33.

Joseph Popis, Senior Reporter

Over 70,000 fans attended the highly anticipated rivalry game of Michigan vs. Michigan State in East Lansing. This year’s matchup was one of the most entertaining games in recent memory. In the end, the Spartans pulled off a gritty win to defeat the Wolverines in a nail-biter.

The Spartans had a nightmarish start after moving the ball down the field — (U-M) R.J. Molten intercepted quarterback (MSU) Payton Thorne. On the other hand, the Wolverines hit the ground running as (U-M) Cade McNamara connected with (U-M) Andrel Anthony for a 93-yard touchdown pass early in the first quarter to put the Wolverines up 7-0.

On the Spartans’ third possession of the game, Throne was intercepted again by (U-M) Mike Morris for a five-yard gain. The Wolverines would make a 26-yard field goal kick by (U-M) Jake Moody, making the score 10-0.

In the second quarter, Michigan State finally put a drive together that led a 27-yard rushing touchdown by (MSU) Kenneth Walker III 10-7.  The Wolverines responded with a 38-yard field goal 13-7. Shortly after, Walker would rush in another 8-yard touchdown to give the Spartans their first lead of the game, 14-13.

That lead for Sparty would not last very long. On the very next possession, freshman quarterback (U-M), J.J. McCarthy, introduced himself to the Spartans by throwing a 17-yard touchdown pass to yet again Andrel Anthony.

Toward the end of the second quarter, Thorne fumbles the ball when (U-M) David Ojabo sacks him. The ball travels into the Spartans end zone and is recovered for a touchdown by (U-M) superstar (U-M) Aiden Hutchinson. This sequence of events would’ve put the Wolverines up 26-14, but the play is overturned, and MSU punts the ball. The Wolverines would then kick another field goal to put them up 23-14 at the half.

The carnage continued for the Spartans in the second half as the Wolverines scored again by a 19-yard touchdown pass from McNamara to (U-M) Mike Sainristil to make it 30-14. However, the Spartans would revive their offense after a risky 4th & 4 completion to (MSU) Jayden Reed, putting them at Michigan’s goal line. Walker rushed in for a 1-yard touchdown followed by a two-point conversion to Jayden Reed (30-22). The next drive would be much of the same as Walker rushed for a 58-yard touchdown to tie the game at 30.

Another Moody field goal put the Wolverines up 33-30. Towards the end of the fourth, McCarthy would fumble the ball when attempting to rush. (MSU) Jacob Panasiuk recovered the fumble that led to another Walker 23-yard rushing touchdown putting the Spartans up 37-33.

With one minute left, Michigan had one last chance to win the game and take Paul Bunyan home. However, Cade McNamara drops back and throws a pass intercepted by (MSU) Charles Brantley in a circus-like catching fashion. MSU would then go into victory formation to beat their rival for the second year in a row.

Kenneth Walker III was a man among boys in this game, rushing for 197 yards and five touchdowns. The Wake Forest transfer has been spectacular this season as he has dominated almost every defense he has faced. Walker continues to instill his name into the Heisman Trophy race with consistent, spectacular performances.

The two-headed monster of (U-M) Blake Corum and (U-M) Hassan Haskins was relatively kept in check by the Spartans. Corum finished with 45 yards rushing, while Haskins finished with 45 yards rushing. Both were held without touchdowns.

Despite the loss, Cade McNamara would have his best game of the season finishing with 383 passing yards and two touchdowns. On the other hand, Payton Thorne would have one of his worst games of the season, finishing with 196 yards passing and two interceptions.

Andrel Anthony was a massive bright spot for the wolverines as in his first official game, he caught six balls for 155 yards and two touchdowns. (U-M) Erick All had a solid game as he had ten receptions for 98 yards. Michigan States’ two stud receivers Jayden Reed and Jalon Nailor, had less productive games than we are used to seeing. Nailor finished with four catches for 75 yards, and Reed finished with six catches for 80 yards.

Michigan State head coach Mel Tucker has done the most impressive coaching jobs of any college coach this season. Coming off an (2-5) record this season, expectations were low for the Spartans this year. However, standing at (8-0) with control of the Big Ten East is simply remarkable. Mel is also 2-0 against Jim Harbaugh, who adds yet another disappointing loss to his resume.

Both teams have had successful seasons so far and have been a bright spot in Michigan sports this year.