The Michigan State Spartans picked up a big 31-13 win over Big Ten East Division foe, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights, thanks, in part, to some truly eye popping numbers from a few players on offense. Redshirt junior wide receiver Jalen Nailor’s career-high game was a big factor and earned him Big Ten Co-Offensive Player of the Week honors as a result.
Nailor’s huge game had set a number of new records and personal bests. At the top of the stat line, Nailor recorded five receptions for a career-high 221 yards, good for a 44.2 yard average. He also scored a career-high three touchdowns, tying a Michigan State record for touchdown receptions in a single game.
Nailor vaulted into the No. 4 all-time single game receiving yards (in the first half) as well, besting Charles Rogers’ 206-yard performance against Wisconsin in 2001. Additionally, Nailor now holds the all-time receiving yards record in a single game at SHI Stadium, beating out Pittsburgh’s Larry Fitzgerald’s performance in 2003.
The redshirt junior from Palmdale, California had highlight reel catches in the first half for all three touchdowns, coming on catches of 63, 63, and 65 yards, respectively. Michigan State’s 21 points at halftime were all off his touchdown catches from redshirt sophomore quarterback Payton Thorne.
Nailor also becaeme the first Big Ten player to record more than 220 receiving yards and at least three touchdowns since Illinois’ A.J. Jenkins. Jenkins caught 12 passes for 268 yards and three touchdowns versus Northwestern on Oct. 1, 2011.
The award marks Nailor’s first Big Ten Offensive Player of the week accolade. He is the third Spartan player on offense to earn the honor this season. Kenneth Walker III earned the accolade after Week One’s win over Northwestern and Payton Thorne got the nod from the Big Ten office following his huge performance against Miami (FL) in Week Three. Nailor is the fourth overall Spartan this season to earn Big Ten weekly honors, as Jadyen Reed was named Special Teams Player of the Week following his punt return touchdown versus Nebraska in Week Four.
Michigan State returns to the gridiron this Saturday in Bloomington, Indiana for a noon (Eastern) kickoff against rival the Indiana Hoosiers for the Old Brass Spittoon.
In the meantime, you can catch all the highlights from Michigan State’s victory over Rutgers, including Nailor’s catches, here: