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Confidence in Kenneth Walker III, offense has Michigan State fans lifting expectations

The explosion of the Michigan State offense has Spartans fans eyeing more than just bowl eligibility.

Welcome to SB Nation Reacts, a survey of fans across the NFL. Each week, we send out questions to the most plugged-in Michigan State Spartans fans and fans across the country. Sign up here to join Reacts.

With success comes expectations. The success of Michigan State this season, specifically on offense, has Spartans fans drastically changing their hopes for what this season can be.

As many fans have heard by now, the Spartans win total according to bookmakers was only four games. Five games into the season, MSU has already hit the over. That’s due, in no small part, to the emergence of running back Kenneth Walker III.

Walker has earned a spot as one of the best backs in the country so far, and has helped the Spartans in a number of ways on offense. According to the latest SB Nation Reacts survey, a majority of MSU fans think Walker has been the best surprise on offense so far.

While Walker has undoubtedly grabbed the headlines on offense, he’s been far from the only player stepping into the spotlight. Quarterback Payton Thorne earned 26 percent of the vote, with Connor Heyward and Jayden Reed also receiving votes.

Of course, part of the reason the other players have had success is because of the increased attention given to Walker by opposing defenses. The more a defense loads up against the run, the more passes down field should be open. Thorne has done a good job of taking advantage of those opportunities, finding Reed, Heyward, Jalen Nailor and Tre Mosley on a regular basis. It’s been the best and most consistent offense Michigan State fans have seen in years.

That lifted level of play on offense has a clear majority of fans in a very unique position, at least in East Lansing. Nearly a full 100 percent of responding voters said they are more confident in the MSU offense right now than they are in the defense. Of course, this vote comes days after the Spartans put up 48 points against Western Kentucky, while allowing 31.

That vote clearly says more about confidence in the offense than any possible concerns over the defense, though. The Spartans return to Big Ten action this week, hitting the road again for the first time in three weeks to play Rutgers. The Scarlet Knights got off to a strong start this season, but back-to-back loses to Michigan and Ohio State have Rutgers looking suspect.

It comes as no surprise then that a full 100 percent of MSU fans who voted expect Michigan State to win Saturday.

After Rutgers, the season continues to get harder. As is often the case, MSU fans remain fairly level-headed looking at the rest of the season. Looking ahead, 40 percent of fans think the Spartans will finish the season with eight wins, while an additional 40 percent think they will get to nine wins.

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