Walker-Led No. 8 Michigan St Tops No. 6 Michigan 37-33 | Sports News
By LARRY LAGE, AP sports writer
EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) – Kenneth Walker rushed for 197 yards and five touchdowns, helping Michigan State’s No.8 to dominate Michigan’s No.6 37-33 for a thrilling comeback victory on Saturday .
The Spartans (8-0, 5-0 Big Ten) were led by nine at halftime and 30-14 with 6:47 left in the third quarter before Walker increased his chances of winning the Heisman Trophy.
Walker’s fifth touchdown – a 23-yard rush – took the Spartans to a 37-33 lead with 5:08 to go.
The Wolverines (7-1, 4-1) forced a final punt and had the ball in their 33rd with 1:15 and no time outs.
After a harshness penalty gave them the ball in midfield, Michigan State cornerback Charles Brantley sealed the victory with a floating pass from Cade McNamara.
McNamara threw for 383 yards and two touchdowns, but his interception was costly, as did quarterback JJ McCarthy’s lost fumble in the fourth quarter.
The rivals were on the same pitch with records of 7-0 or better for the first time, placing in the top 10 teams for the first time since 1964.
Michigan State’s victory puts the program in contention for the Big Ten Conference Championship and potentially a place in the College Football Playoff.
Michigan’s loss leaves Jim Harbaugh 3-4 against Michigan State as a coach, putting even more pressure on him to secure a victory over the No.5 Ohio State next month.
The Wolverines led 23-14 after an entertaining first half.
McNamara gave Michigan a quick start with a 93-yard touchdown pass to former East Lansing High School star Andrel Anthony, three snaps after Payton Thorne ended the game’s opening practice with a catch ball that has been intercepted.
After Thorne’s second interception, the Wolverines were content with Jake Moody’s first of four field goals and a 10-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Walker bounced off an out run, finding a hole to sprint through for a 27-yard touchdown run on the first play of the second quarter.
After Moody connected at 38 yards, Michigan State coach Mel Tucker launched in fourth and -1 near midfielder and Thorne’s play pass to Jalen Nailor put in up Walker’s 8-yard run and a 14-13 lead.
Anthony caught a 17-yard touchdown pass and Moody kicked off 35 yards in the dying seconds of the first half, sending the Wolverines into the locker room with some momentum.
McNamara hit another touchdown pass in the third, finding Mike Sainristil for a 19 yard that made it 30-14 with 6:47 left.
Michigan State, which had a second quarter fumble canceled by the rerun, had two criticisms in its favor on the next record.
Tucker took advantage, resuming the fourth down as Thorne threw a 28-yard pass to Jayden Reed in preparation for Walker’s third touchdown. Thorne threw a 2-point conversion pass to bring the Spartans back to under eight points in the bottom of the third.
Michigan State was 0 for 7 on the third down until it converted three in a row on a single stroke, including Walker’s 58-yard touchdown run. Thorne’s 2-point conversion pass totaled 30.
The Wolverines were forced to settle for another field goal in subsequent practice, taking a three-point lead early in the fourth.
Michigan: Michigan’s racing game has been slowed down. The Wolverines averaged 253.3 rushing yards, ranking No.1 in the Big Ten and No.5 in FBS, entering the game. Hassan Haskins was limited to 59 yards on 14 carries and Blake Corum had just 45 rushing yards on 13 carries.
Michigan State: Tucker turned the schedule around with an influx of transfers including Walker, a former Wake Forest player, and he’s got a ton of momentum with an 8-0 record this year and a 2-0 mark against the Michigan.
Michigan State and Michigan could switch places in the AP’s Top 25 after living up to the hype with a hotly contested game.
Michigan State: Play Purdue.
More AP College Football: https://apnews.com/hub/college-football and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25
Sign up for the AP College Football Newsletter: https://apnews.com/cfbtop25
Copyright 2021 The Associated press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.