clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The Good, The Bad, The Random in Michigan State’s victory over Western Kentucky

Let’s bask in this 5-0 glory.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Syndication: Lansing State Journal Nick King/Lansing State Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK


Man. If you told me this team would be 5-0, and ranked ahead of teams like Clemson, Texas A&M and Notre Dame after five weeks...I would assume I was having a fever dream.

This has been fun, so let’s continue that fun with a breakdown of Saturday night’s 48-31 victory over Western Kentucky.


Let’s start with the man of many nicknames. Kenny Cutbacks. K9. KWIII. October Heisman Hopeful. Yes, we are talking about Kenneth Walker III, baby. I mean, COME ON, WHO DOES THIS?

Our guy Kenny leads the nation in rushing yards with 680 (and rushing yards per game at 136) and is now has the eighth-best odds to win the Heisman on BetOnline with 33/1 odds. It’s officially October, so this is no longer a “September Heisman” conversation we are having.

Michigan State has been blessed with great running backs in the last decade or so, but there’s just something different about Walker. He turns plays that should be losses of two yards into gains of six. He turns runs that should go for just three yards into gains of 15, effortlessly.

And speaking of doing it effortlessly, HOW ABOUT ANOTHER HO-HUM CASUAL GAME FROM JAYDEN REED. Oh, you know, just another punt return for a touchdown and 127 receiving yards on just four catches. He now ranks in the top-three in the conference for receiving yards per game, yards per catch and receiving touchdowns, while he leads the nation in all purpose yards.

And let’s also shine a light on our guy Jalen Nailor who had a great bounce-back game after having zero catches against Nebraska. Really great to see MSU go to him early and often to settle his night with eight catches for 128 yards. It’s wild to consider he’s flying under the radar this season, as he’s still in the top-15 for yards per game in the conference, but when Reed and Walker are stealing the spotlight every week, that just happens.

And let’s take a trip to the other side of the field and talk about the defense. I thought the unit did a great job and, no, I don’t really feel bothered Western Kentucky threw for nearly 500 yards. That’s...that’s just what WKU does, especially when the Hilltoppers have 65 PASSING ATTEMPTS. WKU has one of the best passing games in the country, despite being a group of five program — being able to stave them off and batten down the hatches when needed was great.

Michigan State’s “bend don’t break” defense shined, as the Spartans held the Hilltoppers to just two touchdowns in six red zone trips. MSU held WKU to just seven conversions on 17 third down attempts, and two-for-four on fourth down attempts.

And let’s give a nod to the defensive line too, that was no picnic trying to get to the quarterback, as Bailey Zappe gets the ball out so quickly. Yet, the defensive line was able to create some noise even with Drew Beesley sidelined with an injury, as Jacub Panasiuk had his second-straight multiple sack game. Tack on MSU holding the Hilltoppers to just 2.7 yards per carry on 25 rushing attempts, and that was a fine night from the defensive front.


No question about it, that’s the worst targeting call you will ever see. I dare you to find me one that even comes close to second place.

Listen, officiating football cannot be easy. Throwing the flag, all right, maybe it was just a bad angle the ref had. But to double down and confirm it on the replay, no joke, should have the officiating crew up for review on if they’re fit to be Big Ten refs.

The most upsetting part isn’t the 15 yards or the ejection — the game was pretty much over at that point. It’s the ridiculous rule that Cal Haladay now has to spend the first half on the sidelines against Rutgers. The incompetence of the officiating pours over to the next week, as Michigan State now is down its starting linebacker. Great rule. Great job, everybody. Also, remember that Chase Kline recently entered the transfer portal, so linebacker depth is going to be quite thin for the first half of Saturday’s game against the Scarlet Knights.

And what the hell keeps happening with the scoreboard operator? It was like this against Nebraska all night too, something has to be done here...

Also, man, it kind of sucks we now have to wait a month for the next home game. Albeit it will be a BANGER of a game as both Michigan State and Michigan could be undefeated going into that one, but still...that’s a long break between home games.

All well, it’ll be nice to have those two upcoming road games kick off at noon. Don’t have to sweat about it all day and there’s no tailgate we’re missing. Silver linings.


Whatever you did this weekend, you’re probably not in as hot of water as Urban Meyer got himself into this weekend.

This is a self-sabotage masterclass going on by Meyer. Vintage Urban Meyer sees a sinking ship that he’s on (and helped create) and tries to get out of dodge as soon as possible. This is a man who is begging to get fired with cause so he can get the hell out of Jacksonville and take the USC job within the hour. We’re not stupid (Editor’s Note: Eye roll from Ryan regarding Meyer taking the USC job. Go Jaguars.).

Time for my favorite part of the week — BOWL PROJECTIONS...

CBS Sports: Citrus Bowl vs. Kentucky

College Football News: Outback Bowl vs. Ole Miss

Action Network: Outback Bowl vs. Mississippi State

Let’s also give props to the incredible creative team MSU has. Every single thing they pump out is a banger, like this recap video...

All right gang, sorry to be shorter today, but the boss is wondering why I’ve been missing for the last hour as the fight song keeps playing on repeat. LET’S HAVE OURSELVES A WEEK, GO GREEEEEEEEEEEN!