ESPN names Michigan State's X factor for 2022 season
It will be interesting to see how Michigan State deals with loss of Kenneth Walker III, A.J. Arcuri, and Jalen Nailor in 2022. The Spartans finished the 2021 season with an 11-2 record following a win over Pittsburgh in the Chick Fil-A Peach Bowl.
Michigan State is No. 15 in ESPN’s power rankings. Tom VanHaaren gave his opinion on who Michigan State’s X factor will be in 2022:
“Quarterback Payton Thorne led the offense last season and is going to have to take another step up if the Spartans want to have another good season. Thorne is losing running back Kenneth Walker III and receiver Jalen Nailor but still has leading receiver Jayden Reed. Thorne is going to have more on his shoulders this season, and the offense will have to go through him.”
While everyone’s eyes were on Walker last season, Payton Thorne threw for 3,233 yards passing with 27 touchdowns. In his 1st season as the starting QB in East Lansing, he broke Kirk Cousins’ record (25) for passing touchdowns in a season.
Michigan State opens the 2022 season with against Western Michigan on Sept. 2 at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN.