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    Michigan State Spartans (6-0) ride quick-strike offense to 31-13 win over Rutgers Scarlet Knights


    Piscataway, N.J. — It was quite the sight, Kenneth Walker III waltzing down the sideline Saturday afternoon at Rutgers, the Michigan State Heisman Trophy hopeful breaking the will of the Scarlet Knights with a third-quarter, 94-yard touchdown run.

    It was the play that essentially put the game away, a 31-13 victory for No. 11 Michigan State at SHI Stadium as the Spartans remained unbeaten and became bowl eligible, something that seemed like an ambitious goal before the season but now feels like an afterthought for a team that is tied atop the Big Ten East.

    It was the way the play ended — Walker reaching out to teammate Jalen Nailor for a quick handshake just before striding into the end zone — that encapsulated why the Spartans not only won on Saturday, but have been winning all season.

    Michigan State safety Angelo Grose, right, knocks the ball out of the hands of Rutgers tight end Victor Konopka during the first half of Saturday's college football game in Piscataway, N.J.

    The bottom line is, they have the guys.

    “We have playmakers,” Michigan State coach Mel Tucker said. “When you’ve got some good players — difference makers — that’s what it’s all about. The more good players you have the better football team you’re going to be, as long as guys buy into the team kind of stuff and they play with technique and fundamentals and they play hard.

    “And if you’ve got good players, they better make some plays, and I think that’s what you saw.”

    We’ve seen it most of the year for Michigan State (6-0, 3-0 Big Ten), and we surely saw it on Saturday. From Nailor’s three touchdowns and a career-high 221 receiving yards, to Walker’s 233 rushing yards to Payton Thorne’s career-best 339 passing yards and three touchdowns, it was just another impressive offensive outing as the Spartans finished with 588 total yards.

    BOX SCORE: Michigan State 31, Rutgers 13

    In fact, Michigan State became the fifth team in FBS history to have a 300-yard passer, 200-yard rusher and 200-yard receiver in the same game.

    Not bad for a team that averaged 18 points a game last year.

    “I believe it’s one word,” Walker said when he was asked to describe Michigan State’s offense. “It’s just explosive.”

    Michigan State wide receiver Jalen Nailor (8) is forced out of bounds by Rutgers defensive back Tre Avery during the first half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021, in Piscataway, N.J.

    Michigan State had four plays of 60 yards or more in the first three quarters, more than it has had in the past three seasons combined. Nailor had two 63-yard scoring strikes from Thorne before scoring on a 65-yard flea flicker — the third time the Spartans have cashed in on that play this season. Those all came in the first half.

    By the second half, Michigan State’s defense was dialed in, pitching a shutout, and then Walker went 94 yards, the longest rushing play in Michigan State history as well as the longest play from scrimmage.



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