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Evan Marinofsky | | October 30, 2021

Kenneth Walker III leads No. 8 Michigan State to 37-33 win over No. 6 Michigan

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No. 8 Michigan State running back Kenneth Walker III entered Week 9 as the leading rusher in FBS. 

Against No. 6 Michigan on Saturday, he proved why. 

Down 30-14 with just a few minutes to play in the third, it was Walker who rushed it from the 1-yard line to cut the Michigan lead to 30-20. 

It was Walker again shortly into the fourth quarter who took a hand-off from QB Payton Thorne 58 yards to the end zone to put the Spartans within two points. A successful two-point conversion made it 30-30. 

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But Walker saved his best play of the day for the game-winner. 

After a Michigan field goal made it 33-30, Walker broke through a small hole on the ensuing Michigan State drive and took it 23 yards to the house for his fifth — yes, fifth — touchdown on the afternoon. 

Michigan State won the game, 37-33, to stay undefeated and take down rival Michigan. 

Along with those five touchdowns, Walker finished with 197 yards rushing on 23 attempts. 

Thorne completed 19 of 31 attempts through the air, throwing for 196 yards, two early interceptions and no touchdowns. 

On the other side of the field, Michigan QB Cade McNamara had quite the day, going 28-for-44 and throw for 383 yards and two touchdowns along with an interception near the end of the game. 

Freshman wide receiver Andrel Anthony led Michigan offensively, catching six passes for 155 yards and two touchdowns, the longest of which was a 93-yard catch and run just a few minutes into the first quarter. 

This was Michigan State head coach Mel Tucker’s second straight win over Michigan, marking the first time a Spartans sideline boss has opened at 2-0 over their in-state rivals. 

Saturday was only the fifth time in history that Michigan State and Michigan met as top-10 teams. The last time was way back in 1964. 

Given how crazy the game was, this matchup with both teams as top-10 ranked foes was certainly worth the 57-year wait. 

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