Rapid reaction: Michigan State explodes for 21-point 4th quarter, upsets Miami
Final score: Michigan State 38, Miami 17
Brief recap: Michigan State got off to a good start, and was able to keep Miami at arm’s length for most of this game. Kenneth Walker III continued to be extremely effective on the ground, clearing 6 yards per carry on the day. He also scored a receiving touchdown at the end of the first half to give the Spartans a lead. Things fell apart for Miami in the fourth quarter, as the Hurricane gave up a long touchdown and then threw an interception on the ensuing drive. The Spartans then scored again to put the game firmly out of reach.
Key player: Michigan State quarterback Payton Thorne has unlocked a new level for the Spartans’ offense. He was sensational vs. Miami, completing 18-of-31 passes for 261 yards and 4 touchdowns. Walker’s consistency was big, too, but the Spartans’ passing game being this effective means they have significantly higher ceiling than many thought in the preseason.
Key stat: +4. Michigan State was +4 in the turnover battle vs. Miami. D’Eriq King threw 2 interceptions, but the Hurricanes also coughed up 2 fumbles. Michigan State didn’t turn it over a single time offensively, and that was ultimately the difference in the game.
Key moment: Walker scored a receiving touchdown at the end of the first half to take the lead, and the Spartans never looked back. In total, he finished with 172 yards on 27 carries and that receiving touchdown.
What it means moving forward: Michigan State is for real. The Spartans now have a ranked win to go with comfortable victories over Northwestern and Youngstown State to start the year. Mel Tucker appears to have things figured out in Year 2 of his tenure in East Lansing.
Michigan State hosts Nebraska in Week 4.